With little fanfare, BMC put a new Time-based Support Policy into play back in September, 2010. Surprisingly to me, I've not seen any comments or questions about the new policy on the forums or other social sites - leading me to believe that perhaps many are unaware of the changes. So, I thought it good to bring it up here in my blog in hopes that folks are at least aware of the changes and perhaps start additional conversations in the forums to ensure everyone understands what it all means.
The write up of the policy itself is very comprehensive, so if you haven't read it, I'd strongly suggest that you do so now. S'okay - I can wait...
The first obvious thing about the new policy is that it is time based rather than being version based (i.e. the previous Release-based Support Policy). Simply put, major and minor releases will be supported for 5 years - 3 years of full support and 2 years of limited support. That means a major/minor version released on July 1, 2012 would be supported until July 1, 2017. Maintenance releases and service packs do not add to that length of time, so if version 12.5.00 were the version released on July 1, 2012 and version 12.5.01 was released on Nov 30, 2013; support would still end for the 12.5.x version on July 1, 2017.
The other change that you'll see soon is that the dates for ending of Full Support and Limited Support will be posted up on Support Central. That means when someone wants to know when support for a given major or minor release will end, there will be an actual date shown.
One big thing to keep in mind is that the new time-based policy only applies to products released after September 1, 2011. So it does not necessarily have an effect on previously released versions. Those versions still follow the Release-based Support Policy. Thus, products released prior to September 1, 2011 will move to Limited Support when they become C-2 (i.e. 2 releases back from current) and move to No Support when they become C-3 (i.e. 3 releases back from current).
This policy is certainly more in-line with other software vendors in the industry. It also provides a more predictable time table for customers to make decisions around upgrades - you'll now know exactly when your Full Support ends and/or the version you're on (or are about to load) becomes unsupported.
The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.