What is general availability?

General availability is the stage in product development in which a finalized product is made available to members of the general public – the consumers.

General availability is different from the beta or alpha versions as the latter is geared towards a particular objective. These include testing some aspects of the product and getting feedback from the users. General availability can range in the form, region, and target audience. For example, a product generally available in the US may only be available in a beta version in Europe.

If a product has made it to this stage, it has undergone all the testing and earlier release stages and passed successfully by the product manager. Therefore, it is reliable, relatively bug-free, and can be used in production systems. At this stage, the product must meet all its planned features.

What is an Alpha Release?

An alpha release is the opposite of general availability. It is the early stages of product release, and it is only available to a small group of stakeholders in the company. You may conduct an alpha release during the earlier iterations, releasing a buggy and lacking solution. Sometimes the features intended to be on the final product may not be present in an alpha release.

What is a Closed Beta?

A version of the beta product is only released to a small group of testers. The objective is to collect information or feedback regarding the product. The insights of the testers play a significant role in making changes to the product in preparation for general availability. You may offer a closed beta to a section of the public members and stakeholders.

The General Availability Release Cycle

As noted above, GA is the last stage of a product release. Other steps that come before general availability are:

●        Pre-alpha

●        Alpha

●        Beta

●        Release candidate

●        Release to marketing(RTM)

●        Production and live release plan

These stages can be categorized into pre-release and release stages. The first four are pre-release, while the rest belong to the release stages.

General availability (GA) is the last stage of releasing a product to the market. At this stage, the solution is presumed to be ready to satisfy the users’ needs.

Before a software product gets to the general availability stage, it passes through a series of supporting steps, sometimes referred to as service releases, patches, or maintenance releases.


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