Time is Running Out! Upgrade FileNet Before April 2023.
The FileNet P8 platform remains an excellent long-term solution for mission critical business applications. However, as IBM has moved to a Continuous Delivery (CD) policy for ECM products, planning considerations surrounding upgrades have become increasingly important.
Continuous Delivery (CD) Policy for ECM Products
IBM recently updated its release and support policy for ECM products to enable a continuous delivery model. There are two types of releases: a continuous delivery, or CD release, and a long-term support release, also known as LTSR.
Security and defect fixes are provided for the latest 2 CD updates, or current LTSR. CD updates are expected to be released every six months, and LTSR will receive defect and security updates for a minimum of three years. Since CD’s are released every six months, you can expect about one year of fix support and three years with LTSR.
Now, what exactly is fix support? With fix support IBM will provide a software patch to correct a bug in the code, or to provide a security update for a flaw and/or vulnerability in the software.
Long Term Support Release
IBM introduced Long Term Support Release to help clients in cases where more frequent updates were no longer practical, and to allow for more effective long-term deployment.
LTSR was originally set for a minimum of two years of fix support, but this past August it was extended to three years. When End of Support (EOS) is announced, there will be a one-year notice, and it will coincide with an April 30th or September 30th end date. Additionally, a new LTSR will be announced before declaring a current LTSR EOS.
This past December, IBM declared a number of products as LTSRs, including the FileNet Content Navigator, Datacap, Business Automation Workflow, and more. What does this mean? If you were on any of these products prior to that December release you will no longer receive any security or defect fixes after April of 2023. IBM also released their end of fix statement with all the prior LTSRs.
Why do you need to upgrade? No matter what version you are on now, you will no longer receive security or defect updates after April 2023. In today’s world, continuing security updates are needed to keep vulnerabilities patched. IBM is not announcing vulnerabilities in versions that are not currently on fix support. It is important to start planning your upgrade now, because the End of Support date will be here faster than you expect!
What Happens If You Don’t Upgrade
Even if you think your FileNet system is running well, we are living in a time where ransomware and hacking is becoming more advanced by the day, and you never want to take any chances. There are new vulnerabilities each year that could allow a bad actor to compromise your FileNet system. By keeping your system up to date, you can reduce risk and stay in compliance, which is especially important if your systems include any personal identifiable information (PII).
If you do not upgrade, you will still receive continuing support. Continuing support is your ability to call in, open PMRs, and work through any issues you have with your existing system (as long as it doesn’t involve any kind of software fix). However, without fix support IBM will not perform checks or alert you of issues that need to be patched, which is why it is important to upgrade. Without fix support, even if there is an issue, it is likely you will not be aware.
What Version to Upgrade to
When considering what version to upgrade to, you must take into account infrastructure, cloud migration, and containers. Take a step back and look at your system as a whole. Here are few questions you can ask yourself to figure out what is best for you:
- Are there any parts of the infrastructure that needs to be modified?
- When does the operating system, the database, or any of the other dependencies the systems use, see it’s end of life?
- Is there a good time to update those for the latest supported versions?
For infrastructure, you must review hardware, operating systems, databases, custom apps, and any other dependencies. In regard to cloud migration, consider working with a partner to get an understanding of what that might look like and what it might cost.
This is also a great time to look at the future state of your system. For containers, FileNet is now supported on Kubernetes and OpenShift. This could allow you to take advantage of the benefits of containerization. That being said, moving to the cloud and/or containers requires significant planning. This is especially true if you’re moving large amounts of storage or if your storage is on a fixed content device. You want to begin this planning now in the case that if you are not ready by this upgrade, you will be prepared for the one following it. You can check in with your IBM partner to see what this move might entail.
Need help? Having one of the strongest FileNet teams in the industry, and with many of our employees having come from FileNet or IBM, enChoice has over 250 years of combined experience performing approximately 60 upgrades each year. With constant changes to software, don’t fall behind upgrading your FileNet system!
If you have questions or would like to chat further about upgrading your FileNet system, please feel free to reach out to me using the form below.
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About the Author
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 nearly 30 years of experience helping customers improve business processes and protect critical information with software and solutions that accelerate their path to digital efficiency.
Visit www.enchoice.com and discover why over 1,000 leading companies, including many in the state government sector, have chosen enChoice as their trusted experts in enterprise content management and digital transformation.