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Evolution™ is the payroll service-bureau system from iSystems, LLC, and though the vendor makes the usual kinds of feature and bugfix releases, the nature of the payroll business demands far more extensive updates.
Changes in tax rates for any of the thousands of jurisdiction in the United States (and creation of new ones), implementation of crazy employment rules, plus retroactive laws, all make keeping up with payroll a difficult business to be in.
The vendor releases these updates periodically, and we've observed some occasional confusion about which kinds are which. This Evo Tip means to clear that up.
Each new version update published by iSystems on their SB support site has either one or two parts, each of which is a ZIP files to minimize download times.
These two work hand in hand, and a general (but not universal) rule is that the Application and SYSTEM versions have to agree in the first three digits. Evolution always checks to make sure that the two parts are compatible with each other, and it reports a Database Mismatch error when the Evo client (Local or Remote) starts up. These mismatches should be resolved promptly.
To show the progression of versions, we'll follow two major Application version updates along with the associated SYSTEM databases:
|line#||Application version||SYSTEM version|
When an Application update is released, it's always associated with a new SYSTEM database, and they must be installed together. Line #1 shows this pair of linked versions.
But subsequent (lines 2..7) releases publish just a SYSTEM database, and these go with the original 220.127.116.11 Application version on line 1.
But once the next Application version is released (line 8), then this forces another change in the series of SYSTEM databases.
We'll note that Evolution does not require sequential updates, so a service bureau that's on 9.0.26.x wishing to jump ahead may install Application 18.104.22.168 and (say) SYSTEM 22.214.171.1242 directly, skipping the intermediate versions. All that matters is that the SYSTEM version match the Application version.
Most Evo administrators consider a SYSTEM database update to be safer than an Application+SYSTEM update, as the latter updates program code.
Because the SYSTEM database always implies a specific Application version number, most Evo admins refer to just the SYSTEM database version when referring to a version (i.e., "126.96.36.1992" precisely nails down both the application and SYSTEM versions).
iSystems send emails to the evolution-announce mailing list (which all Evolution administrators should be subscribed to) announcing new versions on the support site. These alerts include which items are to be updated as shown by these samples:
From: iSystems Support Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 17:36:40 -0400 Subject: [Evolution-announce] The newest version of Killington is now available Application: 188.8.131.52 System database: 184.108.40.2066 The Killington Evolution installers can be found here: (link) The Killington Evolution Help installers can be found here: (link) Release Notes have been posted here: (link)
From: iSystems Support Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:34:33 -0400 Subject: [Evolution-announce] The newest version of Killington is now available System database: 220.127.116.116 The Killington Evolution installers can be found here: (link) The Killington Evolution Help installers can be found here: (link) Release Notes have been posted here: (link)
The absense of an Application version almost always means that it's a SYSTEM database update only, though this has not always been the case.
We don't believe that every SB needs every version upon release, and that it's not wise to update automatically.
Instead, we recommend reviewing the Release Notes and Known Issues every time to see if the version being posted touches on issues important to your SB. Many are updates for narrow issues (say, a local tax for a small town in the midwest), and if none of issues matter, this may be a version to let pass you by for now.
The tax department is usually most well-equipped to identify issues that require attention, and of course iSystems Support will often close a ticket with the note that such-and-such a version fixed the issue.
Our general feeling is that SYSTEM DB updates can be made much more casually than Application updates, as the former has far less impact on the system as a whole. If there's a question about whether you need a new SYSTEM database, it's usually safe to just do it.
Application updates usually require a bit more caution, as they update program code on not only the Evolution middle tier (the Windows machines), but are downloaded to customers when they connect for the first time.
For Application updates (which of course also go with a SYSTEM update), we usually recommend holding off unless there something specific you need. At least one other SB undoubtedtly has to update immediately, and the evolution-tech and evolution-talk mailing lists usually shake out problems early.
We've observed that quarter-end usually involves updates that most SBs need right way.
But we'll note that no matter which kind of update is applied, they can always be rolled back.
Evolution versions are named alphabetically for (mostly) towns in Vermont, and we've looked back on our records to find all these versions and their rough release dates. This information is presented more as trivia than as data necessary to run an Evolution system.
|Killington||9.0||summer 2007||Firebird 2.0|
|Lincoln||10.0||fall 2008||Introduced EMC/DM/RB/RR/RP|
|Norwich||12.0||Aug 2010||Firebird 2.0.4; auto-dl Versions; MC-based ADR; CL.READ_ONLY and CL.MAINT_HOLD||Orange||13.0||Summer 2011||No more SYSDBA|
|Peru||14.0||Fall 2012||PA32; new GUI|
First published: 2008/06/26