IBM Support

IBM Software Support Continuous Delivery Lifecycle Policy

This page describes the Continuous Delivery (CD) IBM Software Support Lifecycle Policy. Additional details and answers to commonly asked questions regarding the CD policy can be found on our CD Frequently Asked Questions page.

Your Success Is Our Passion — IBM Software Support Lifecycle Policy

The Continuous Delivery (CD) support model

In the cognitive era of computing, enterprises are embracing three historic technology shifts to enhance the business value they provide their clients: big data, cloud computing and the combination of social and mobile. At the same time the pace of business model innovation continues to accelerate to drive an increasing need and pace for delivery of new function. To assist enterprises to receive function and service more quickly, a major change in the IBM Software Support Lifecycle Policy is introduced.

Effective May 24, 2016, IBM adds a new policy, known as the continuous delivery (CD) support model, for eligible, on-premise IBM software products.

Figure 1: CD model example:
Diagram of IBM Continuous Delivery support model
In Figure 1, a product releases V1R1 followed by incremental updates. Some of the packages are declared Long Term Support Releases, which are supported for a longer period. When a new product release, for example V1R2, is made available the incremental updates continue on the new release stream.

The new support model is implemented as follows:

  • The CD support model allows eligible, on-premises IBM products to make new function available more frequently. It is understood that frequent releases of the model may not be suitable for all client application environments. In those cases, some IBM products may offer a Long Term Support Release (LTSR) option.
  • An LTSR is supported for a longer period of time, to assist clients where frequent functional updates may not be practical and a longer term deployment is more suitable. IBM may elect to declare any CD update package an LTSR.
  • Both new function and service will be made available in a single, easy-to-install CD update package.
  • Clients should install the most recent CD update or LTSR update package to obtain the latest product maintenance and new function. Product defect fixes and security updates are only available for the two most recent CD update packages and all active LTSRs.  If required, individual product fixes can be made available between CD update packages for resolution of high severity defects.
  • Individual fixes for critical security defects will be provided at the most recent CD release level; however, customers can request a fix at the earlier CD update package, or any LTSR, as necessary.
  • CD update packages are delivered on the latest product release stream when the new product release becomes available.
  • New functional updates are not available to previously released CD update packages and LTSRs.
  • Support is available for all IBM components of a product until the product is withdrawn from support. IBM expects clients will upgrade to either the latest CD update package or LTSR in order to receive on-going security updates and defect fixes.
  • Support extensions are available, for a minimum period of one year for an additional fee, following the effective support discontinuance date of the product.

Details of the IBM CD support lifecycle policy

The new CD software support lifecycle policy facilitates a consistent and predictable support experience.  Clients will continue to receive the same world-class support and assistance that they are accustomed to from IBM. This support is included in the standard Software Subscription and Support (S&S), Software Maintenance (SWM), or Monthly License Charge (MLC) charges for the eligible product. By maintaining a current S&S, SWM, MLC, or SupportLine agreement, clients receive the maximum value of their software products and can take full advantage of technology upgrades and enhancements quickly, based on their business requirements.

With the CD support model, IBM will deliver product technical support for at least two years, which starts at the availability of a new product version or release. IBM will also offer an optional, fee-based support extension for at least one additional year. This model is referred to as a '2-plus-1' (2+1) policy. This is a significant change from the existing Standard (3+2) and Enhanced (5+3) IBM software support policies. The existing Standard and Enhanced policies are not impacted by this announcement and will continue to be available.

For IBM software products that are announced with the CD support model (Policy type "C"), IBM will provide the following product technical support to all clients who have active S&S, SWM, MLC, or SupportLine agreements.

  • Provide at least two years of product technical support, which starts at the availability date of the product version or release. This technical support applies only to the IBM licensed product and its components. If the product runs on an operating system release that is no longer supported, or with a co-requisite or prerequisite product that is no longer supported, IBM technical support may be limited to defects that can be replicated on currently supported environments.
  • Make support available for all IBM components of a product until the product is withdrawn from support.
  • Provide an LTSR, as determined by IBM, for select products where frequent functional updates may not be practical.  LTSRs include defect and security updates and are supported for at least one year.
  • Note: An LTSR does not follow the 2-plus-1 policy; however, details of the LTSR, which include the minimum period of time for which support is provided, will be made available in advance of its release date. Clients should refer to the appropriate product page or contact their IBM representative to learn if an LTSR is available for their specific products.
  • Provide new functionality, security updates, and defect fixes through CD update packages.
  • IBM expects that clients will upgrade to one of the two most recent CD update packages or LTSR to receive ongoing security updates and defect fixes.
  • Publish a notice of software support discontinuance (End of Support) for a product version and release at least six months before the effective date. The support periods for products that are affected by this announcement can be found on the IBM software support lifecycle website.
  • Align the effective date of support discontinuance to occur on common dates, either in the month of April or September.
  • Make support extensions available, for an additional fee, for a minimum period of one year following the product's effective End of Support date. Support extensions are designed to allow migration to the current release to be completed successfully.  For additional information on product technical support extensions beyond the one-year minimum period, clients should contact their IBM representative.

Products that are not announced with the CD support model will retain their existing support lifecycle policy.

For a full, detailed list of all products that are using the CD support model and to verify the lifecycle dates for a specific product, see the IBM software support lifecycle website.

IBM reserves the right to modify this policy at any time and will communicate any modification and exceptions with a product announcement, a general policy announcement, a support flash, or other form of IBM announcement.

Additional information and resources

For more information on IBM software support topics, please visit the following resources: