Better late than never: Bb (finally) releases new cloud options for Ultra

You might have missed the announcement  from Blackboard a few weeks ago, which was overshadowed by Blackboard’s other announcement.  Two new Software as a Service (SaaS) LMS offerings are finally available, six months after they were promised. The new offerings–Blackboard SaaS Plus and SaaS Advantage–join the already available Saas Standard, released at Blackboard World last July. Here is a description of these new service offerings from the official press release:

Customers using Learn in a SaaS environment have access to significant benefits such as zero-downtime upgrades, continuous delivery of regular bug fixes, new services innovation, and increased scalability.

The new Plus and Advantage tiers give institutions the ability to scale, customize and configure Blackboard Learn for their specific and individual needs. These tiers of SaaS also offer more support for commercial and custom-built integrations, additional service tiers, and a new Flexible Deployment Learn_SaaS_Plus_and_Advantage_Options_-_Blackboard_HelpOption. The Flexible Deployment Option allows schools to have control over when new features and enhancements are deployed to their environment.

Blackboard also posted a FAQ and a handy-dandy table comparing the three Saas tiers.

Unfortunately, Blackboard Ultra is only available to institutions that offer Learn in a managed hosting or cloud (SaaS) environment. Self-hosting institutions like the VCCS must continue using Blackboard Learn 9.1, a fact that took many by surprise when it was announced at Blackboard World. Many of these institutions, including the VCCS, had been making concrete plans to upgrade to Ultra in a self-hosted environment.

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