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Service Packs, patches, hotfixes, maintenance releases, and patch release cycle
Technical Articles ID:  KB51560
Last Modified:  04/08/2014
Rated:


Environment

McAfee System Security Products

Summary

IMPORTANT: McAfee will troubleshoot and investigate issues for supported product versions, regardless of the current patch level. Be aware that part of the troubleshooting and resolution process can involve applying the most current product patch. 

If the resolution requires us to create a hotfix, the hotfix will be based on the code for the most recent product patch and will require you to upgrade to that patch.

Solution

Contents

Patch Release Cycle
McAfee delivers patches for products with the following expected release timelines:

  • Patches for VirusScan Enterprise and Host Intrusion Prevention are released as needed.
  • SiteAdvisor releases a patch twice per year, targeting Q1 and Q3.
  • ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) releases patch updates and/or a full release each quarter. Check with your support representative for current ePO release schedules.  
  • McAfee Agent (MA) releases patches twice per year. Check with your support representative for current MA release schedules.

NOTE: Other system security products may release patches on an 'as required' basis.

Each patch is released in a two-stage distribution; Managed Release To Support (RTS) and Release to World (RTW):

Managed Release
The Managed Release cycle is approximately four weeks long.

Distribution is limited to customers who have escalated issues addressed by the patch, and to customers who have opted to participate in our phased distribution cycles. During the first phase of Managed Release, RTS customers having previously reported issues, are expected to deploy RTS patches and confirm issue resolutions within two weeks to confirm resolutions for their issue. All fixed issues are confirmed prior to general RTS availability during the last two week phase of managed release, for customers who have opted to participate.

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Release to World (RTW)
If Managed Release customers confirm that the patch performs as expected, the patch moves to RTW at the end of the four-week period. At this stage, McAfee posts the patch on the McAfee Downloads site and ServicePortal. The RTW date will coincide with the second Tuesday of the month in February, June, and October.

McAfee will make every attempt to maintain the integrity of the above patch release schedule. In cases where the quality of the patch does not meet the McAfee minimum ship requirements, the date will be adjusted as requested. If the patch release date has to me moved, McAfee will notify customers via SNS, and will post the new release date on the ServicePortal patch downloads page.

NOTE: Between patch releases, McAfee is committed to providing customers with hotfixes on a case-by-case basis for any critical issues. These hotfixes are typically rolled up as part of the next scheduled patch. 
 
System Security products include the following:
  • ePolicy Orchestrator
  • Host Intrusion Prevention
  • McAfee Agent
  • SiteAdvisor Enterprise
  • VirusScan Enterprise 
Products referenced in this document as may adopt a standard patch release schedule in the future, or have a patch release cycle not specified in this document. Release cycles associated with these listed products are subject to change and McAfee will make best effort to inform customers of schedule changes in subscriber notifications and related Knowledge Base articles.


McAfee products (excluding Network Security Platform)
 IMPORTANT: McAfee will troubleshoot and investigate issues for supported product versions, regardless of the current patch level. Part of the troubleshooting and resolution process might involve applying the most current product patch. If the resolution requires a hotfix, the hotfix will be based on the code for the most recent product patch and will require you to upgrade to that patch.

Patches and hotfixes are provided by McAfee primarily to resolve customer reported issues and, at the discretion of McAfee, might also include other fixes and product modifications. They are released from QA to Support after satisfying the QA exit criteria. Product modifications and resolved issues (customer reported or otherwise) are documented in the accompanying Release Notes for each hotfix or patch release.


Patch (known as Hotfix for Firewall and Command Center)
A patch is a single installable package which updates a specific version of a product and usually contains fixes for multiple issues. This often involves updating multiple files installed by the product. Patches for McAfee products are cumulative, meaning that the current patch contains all fixes included in previous patch versions.

Patches are intended for all customers.
 
Patches undergo a phased distribution release period prior to being made publicly available. This phased distribution is managed by Tier III Technical Support. After the phased distribution, the full release is managed by QA and Technical Support, who are responsible for posting the patch to the McAfee Downloads site and ServicePortal. Customers who are subscribed will also receive an SNS notice. For more information about the SNS, see KB67828.

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Hotfix(known as EPatch for Firewall and Command Center)
When a critical defect is identified and verified in a live environment, a hotfix is created to address it. A hotfix is a package which updates a specific version of a product, and usually contains a fix for a single issue.
 
McAfee recommends that you contact Technical Support for the correct identification and validation of the issue. In general, hotfix distribution is managed by Tier III Technical Support only. A hotfix is delivered in response to an escalated Service Request, which support confirms and meets all requirements to receive the hotfix. Exceptions to hotfix distribution must be agreed upon by the product Sustaining Team and Tier III Technical Support.

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Service Pack (known as Patch for Firewall and Command Center)
Fully quality assured updates consisting of code released previously as multiple patches and hotfixes.

Service packs are posted on the McAfee Downloads site.

McAfee product software, upgrades, maintenance releases, and documentation are available from the McAfee Downloads site at: http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/downloads.aspx.

NOTE:
 You will need a valid Grant Number for access. KB56057 provides additional information about the McAfee Downloads site, as well as alternate locations for some products.

 
Ratings for Hotfixes and Patches
 The product Sustaining Team is responsible for deciding which rating a hotfix or patch will have. These ratings are as follows:

 
Mandatory
  • Required for all environments
  • Failure to apply mandatory updates might result in a security breach.
  • Mandatory patches and hotfixes resolve vulnerabilities that might affect product functionality and compromise security. You must apply these updates to maintain a viable and supported product.
Critical
  • Critical for all environments
  • Failure to apply a critical update might result in severe business impact.
  • A hotfix for a Severity 1 or Severity 2 issue can be considered critical.
  • A patch that resolves commonly reported kernel crashes or other issues that might cause significant business impact may be considered critical.
High Priority
  • High priority for all environments
  • Failure to apply a High Priority update may result in potential business impact.
  • Most Patches and Hotfixes are considered High Priority.
Recommended
  • Recommended for all environments. Apply this update at the earliest convenience.
  • Not applicable to hotfixes, because a hotfix is only created in response to a business-impacting issue.
  • A patch which resolves non-severe issues or improves product quality might be considered as recommended.


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Previous Document ID

614038

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