IBM Announces New Long Term Support Release (LTSR) for FileNet and Cloud Pak for Business Automation
Robert Short, Vice President of Cloud Services at enChoice
In this first of a series of IBM FileNet and Cloud Pak for Business Automation blog posts, Robert Short, Vice President of Cloud Services at enChoice, answers questions about the recent IBM announcement of the upcoming Long Term Support Release (LTSR) on December 17th, 2021.
What are the highlights of IBM’s latest announcement?
I have been looking for IBM to announce their next Long Term Support Release (LTSR) for the last six months, and it has arrived. At a very high level, IBM has announced that on December 17th, the following products will be released as a LTSR:
- Cloud Pak for Business Automation 21.0.3
- IBM FileNet Content Manager 5.5.8
- IBM Datacap 9.1.9
- IBM Content Navigator 3.0.11
The Cloud Pak for Business Automation announcement can be found here.
The FileNet Content Manager announcement can be found here.
So, what exactly is a Long-Term Support Release (LTSR)?
When FileNet 5.5 was first released, IBM changed both how quickly versions would be released as well as for how long each version would be supported. The new versions are now called Continuous Delivery (CD) updates and IBM has been releasing new updates every June and December. IBM will only provide security updates and defect fixes for the two most recent CD updates. This means each CD update will have about one year of support.
At certain times, IBM will decide to make one of the CD updates an LTSR. LTSR’s will be supported for a minimum of two years and IBM will provide at least a one-year advanced notice prior to ending that support.
How does this affect our current LTSR?
I was also expecting that IBM would announce the end of support for existing LTSR versions at the same time, but they didn’t. I did a quick review of IBMs policies and found that they have stated:
“A minimum of one-year notice will be provided before declaring EOS of an LTSR. EOS will be announced to align with April 30 or Sept 30 of the year following standard EOS guidelines.”
I expect that IBM will provide the EOS announcement sometime prior to this upcoming April, and that it will align with an end date of April 2023. The product should see end of support are:
- IBM FileNet Content Manager 5.5.4
- IBM Datacap 9.1.7
- IBM Content Navigator 3.0.7
Prior versions of CP4BA were not released as an LTSR.
When would you suggest we upgrade?
If you are on an existing LTSR it will not receive security or defect fixes after it reaches its end of support, which I anticipate being April of 2023. While that seems like a long time from now, it is going to be here faster than you think. Now would be a good time to start planning for an upgrade.
NOTE: enChoice customers that have Upgrade Assurance already included will not need to worry about budgeting for their FileNet upgrade as this is already included as part of their support.
What are some other things we should consider?
When you are planning an upgrade, look at the entirety of your environment. Here are some things to consider:
- Should you consider moving to the cloud? Does your organization have a cloud mandate? Many customers have successfully moved to Azure, AWS, GCP, IBM Cloud as well as other providers.
- Should you think about containerization? FileNet now supports certified Kubernetes and OpenShift Container Platform, which allows FileNet to take advantage of the features these platforms offer.
- What is the situation with your hardware?
- Do you need new hardware?
- What about the storage devices?
- Have you been thinking about changing or upgrading your Operating Systems or Databases? During an upgrade of your FileNet environment would also be good to update your OS and/or Database.
- Review your current integrations and custom applications.
- Has the importance of the FileNet environment changed? If it has, do you need to look at modifying your business continuity and disaster recovery policies?
What are the recommended next steps?
Reach out to your current FileNet support provider to begin talking through the upgrade process to get an estimate as well as an approximate timeline. If you don’t have a current support provider, or would like to hear what enChoice can offer, we would also love to hear from you. As an IBM Gold Partner, we have been supporting IBM FileNet for nearly 30 years.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions using the form below.
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About Robert Short - Vice President, Cloud Services at enChoice
Robert Short began working with FileNet software in 1997 as a Technical Consultant, installing, upgrading, and supporting FileNet Content Services, Image Services, P8 Content Platform Engine, and Case Manager. Robert served as an Implementation Project Manager for FileNet, creating standard implementation processes for the installation and upgrade of IBM ECM products. Robert is VP of Cloud Services at enChoice and has built a team to deliver Digital Transformation Services to our customers, both on-prem and in the public cloud, utilizing Amazon Web Services, Armor, Azure, IBM Cloud, and Rackspace.
Founded in 1993, enChoice®, Inc. is an award-winning Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digital Transformation solutions company, with 28-years’ experience helping customers improve business processes and protect critical information with software and solutions that accelerate their path to digital efficiency.