BSA 8.6 is out. Neil Karani covers in some depth all of the new and improved stuff that went into the release here: Announcing BladeLogic Server Automation 8.6.00!!!!, and Ton Machielsen covers how much easier it is to get going in Welcome BSA 8.6!! Welcome to Automation Roll-Out for Dummies. The Quick Start Page makes it easier than ever to put BSA to work immediately, with "easy buttons" throughout.
For those of you who don't yet have a test lab to start putting 8.6 through the paces, 8.5.1 patch 3 is also out: Announcing BSA 8.5 SP1 Patch3. If you're still on a release older than 8.3.3, 8.5.1, it's time to catch up on Service Packs, and start looking at 8.5/8.6. Plus, you're going to need to be on 8.5.1 to take advantage of the Automation Portal (1.2 as of today), which is the single easiest way to give web access to BladeLogic to your casual users.
We'll likely be revamping some of the Best Practices material in the coming weeks, including a Patching BP manual (yes, I've been talking about it for years, but I've got a quiet week with little travel in it, so I'm going to turn the OOO on and get a first draft in your hands). We might also convert what's in the BP Webinar videos to a short manual if there's any interest. If you'd like something like this, tell us about your needs in a comment below, and we'll include it in the plans.
By the by, the single easiest way to get BSA 8.6 into your lab is with the Rapid Deployment Stack, a VM that comes with BSA pre-built out on it. You might need to fiddle with the hardware version (as discussed here: BSA 8.6 RDS not compatible with VMware 5.0), but it's so simple, you could do it while drinking your morning cuppa.
Don't miss all the nice New "Automation Academy" videos/articles! I consider them a more organized and polished version of the original Howto videos Greg K and I made.
And, of course, if you don't want to, or can't do any of these, the BladeLogic Dashboard 1.2.00 (Service Health and Value) [Deprecated, use 1.4.00] dashboards can help you get a better grip on what's going on in your existing BSA 8.2-8.5 environment. They are, of course, built into BSA 8.6.
Thanks go out to Neil Karani and the entire Dev, QA, IDD, PM, TM, Marketing etc. team that made this happen, and of course my peers in Support and CE that help keep it all going.