Multiple active streams of releases
Use channels to keep multiple streams of active releases - for example, a 1.x "stable" stream while you maintain what's in production today, and a 2.x "beta" stream while you work on the next big thing for tomorrow. Have different deployment steps, and build packages from different source code branches.
Major vs. minor deployments
Sometimes a release might only have an incremental change, such as a CSS or code change, while other releases might require more drastic steps, like backing up the database and performing schema migrations. Use channels to define these different types of releases - 1.3 is a small release, but 1.4 requires a full deployment - and have different steps execute during the deployment.
Hotfixes straight to production
Each project in Octopus has a lifecycle that can define rules like "you must deploy to test before you can deploy to production". Sometimes in an emergency you need to skip these phases, and go straight to production. Channels in Octopus can override the default lifecycle allowing certain releases to bypass these rules.
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