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IBM Software Support

Enhanced software support lifecycle FAQs

The attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) augment the enhanced IPLA Support Lifecycle Policy announcement (USA Ann#: 208-035) of February 19, 2008 with an added initiative to support the current version plus the two previous versions (N-2) that went into affect on August 1, 2011. The FAQs provide additional details and answers commonly asked questions regarding the Support Lifecycle Policy and the new N-2 initiative.

The Support Lifecycle Policies remain the same, however, one of our new initiatives will be to support, on a going-forward basis from August 1, 2011 for select IBM branded products that have not previously announced an End Of Support (EOS) date, not only the ‘current’ version of the product, but also up to two previous versions, in an effort to limit disruptive technology transitions. In this context, a ‘version’ is a major functional enhancement level. While not every IBM software product will be subject to this new initiative, our initial focus is to support key products from all of our software brands, and expand the number of products over time. For additional information contact your IBM Sales representative.

N-2 Support Initiative

Q: What changed on the current Standard and Enhanced Support Lifecycle policies?
A: Nothing, policies are unchanged, however, IBM has undertaken a new initiative whereby IBM will, provide support for the current version of select products plus the two previous versions (N-2). Providing N-2 support is at IBM's sole discretion and should not be construed as an obligation to continue providing such support in the future. Contact your IBM Sales representative for any questions you may have.

Q: What does "on a going-forward basis" mean?
A: The N-2 initiative only applies to select IBM branded products that were still being supported and had not announced EOS as of August 1, 2011.

Q: If an EOS date is announced does N-2 apply?
A: No, if EOS was announced prior to August 1, 2011, the new N-2 initiative does not apply.

Q: When new products are announced; if an EOS date is announced, does N-2 apply?
A: Yes, going forward from August 1, 2011, announced EOS dates will reflect how the N-2 initiative applies to that product release.

Q: How do I tell if N-2 applies to my product?
A: Contact your IBM Sales representative with any questions you may have.

Q: In looking at the Support Lifecycle page, I see the GA date for a product is for example April 21, 2009. Under the Enhanced policy I then assume that the minimum date for software support is 5 years; thus it would be 2014. How will I be notified if that 2014 basic Support is extended to 2015 or 2016?
A: There is no “push” notification. Any changes can be viewed on the Support Lifecycle web site, Announcement EOS Letter and SW Compatibility Reports. Contact your IBM Sales Representative for any product release which does not yet have a published EOS date on the website.

Q: With respect to the new initiative to support the current version plus two previous versions (N-2), can it be assumed that the existing Standard (3+2) or Enhanced (5+3) support still applies?
A: Yes, actual support lifecycle policies are not changing. Some Standard (3+2) policy products will be converted to the Enhanced (5+3) Policy, however no products will convert from Enhanced (5+3) to Standard (3+2).

Q: Are Appliances covered under this new initiative?
A: No

Q: When the related operating systems and/or hardware EOS or EOL, how does this impact the product support?
A: It does not; it is the same as today.

Q: If a product has sub releases (say a v8.1, v8.2 and v8.3), will EOS be the same for all of these sub releases?
A: No, each release must meet policy guidelines. The N-2 initiative is at the version level.

Q: Will "N-2" affect releases which have already announced an EOS date?
A: No, only on a going-forward basis from August 1, 2011 for select IBM branded products that have not previously announced an EOS date.

Q: Can I purchase a Support Extension (SE) for a product older than "N-2"?
A: Yes, if not covered by the initiative or greater than N-2. Support policies have not changed. For those products with the N-2 version level initiative applied, until N-2 is passed an SE would not be necessary. An SE could be purchased after the N-2 time period has passed for up to two additional years for Standard and three additional years for Enhanced Policies.

Q: Will service extensions be available for all point releases (8.1, 8.2...)?
A: Yes, as per our current support policy.

Q: Does this new initiative apply to any of IBM's cloud services/offerings?
A: No, only select IPLA & ICA SW Products.

Q: Can you clarify what specifically N refers to in the VRM model?
A: N refers to the Version (V).

Q: Are components of a bundle included in the new initiative?
A: Yes, support is available for all IBM components of a product or until the product or bundle is withdrawn from support. In addition, all components of a bundle have a common EOS date.

Lifecycle Policy Overview

Q: What is a Software Support Lifecycle Policy?
A: The Support Lifecycle Policy for IBM software states the minimum length of time support will be available. This technical support period begins when the product is available for purchase, and ends when the product is no longer supported (End of Service). Each product, at the version/release level, has an established support period. The policy also states the minimum length of time that service extensions will be available for a fee after the effective End of Service date.

Q: Why is IBM making a change to the IPLA Support Lifecycle policy?
A: Based on market needs and client deployment patterns for our middleware software offerings, we are making support lifecycle policy changes to allow for additional time for planning, installation, rollout of our middleware products and adequate time to migrate between new versions/releases.

Q: What are the major changes being made to the IPLA Support Lifecycle Policy?
A: The technical support period is being extended to a minimum of 5 years (from the current 3 years) and the availability of support extensions will now be for a minimum of 3 years (from the current 2 years) after a product's effective End of Service (EOS) date. We will refer to this enhanced policy as "5+3" to differentiate it from the standard policy of "3+2".

Q: When does the five year technical support period begin?
A: The five year technical support period begins at the date the product is available for purchase, on a worldwide basis and is available for all users regardless of media, platform or language.

Software products impacted?

Q: What IBM software is affected by this announcement?
A: IBM "middleware" software products within the Information Management, IBM Lotus, IBM Rational, IBM Tivoli and WebSphere portfolios that are licensed under the International Program License Agreement (IPLA).
Please note: IPLA software provided by Systems and Technology Group (STG) is not included in this announcement.

Q: When does this enhanced policy take effect?
A: This policy is effective February 19, 2008. Products that adhere to the Enhanced IBM IPLA Support Lifecycle policy will be listed on the product brand pages in a new column labeled: Policy Type. Please choose a brand link on the support lifecycle overview page for product details.

Q: Will additional products be transitioned to the enhanced policy in the future?
A: Yes. IBM will continue to transition products to this enhanced policy as new versions and releases are announced.

Q: Will there be any exceptions to this policy?
A: Yes, there may be some exceptions to this new policy. Some products remaining on the standard support lifecycle policy ("3+2") may include products recently acquired, software with a very short technology life span and which is easily upgraded, those currently reaching end-of-life, and products with third party content where the content provider will not support the enhanced support lifecycle policy ("5+3"). To verify the lifecycle dates for a specific product, visit the Support Lifecycle web site at: http://www.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle.

Q: What IBM software is not covered by this announcement?
A: All IBM software that is licensed under the IBM Customer Agreement (ICA), which includes zOS/OS390 MLC software, is not covered by this announcement. All IBM software that is licensed under the International Program License Agreement (IPLA) for System i and System p (Operating Systems and Licensed Programs), is not covered by this announcement. Also, this announcement does not apply to IBM Software which is sold "as is".

Q: Does this announcement cover operating systems, such as AIX and i5/OS?
A: No, this announcement does not apply to any IBM operating systems.

Q: Does this announcement cover IBM acquired products, such as FileNet, MRO, Micromuse, Candle, DataStage, Ascential, Webify, etc. products? If not, are there plans to include them?
A: The announcement applies to IBM acquired products that are available for purchase under the International Program License Agreement (IPLA) terms and conditions. Some exceptions to this new policy may occur (see Q8). To verify the lifecycle dates for a specific product, visit the Support Lifecycle web site at: http://www.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle.

Additional details

Q: How are products which have a previously announced End of Service (EOS) date affected?
A: Products with previously announced End of Service (EOS) dates are not affected by this announcement. This announcement does not extend any product's technical support duration if End of Service has already been announced.

Q: Are the April and September dates referenced in the announcement the months that IBM will announce products being withdrawn from support (End of Service)?
A: No, April and September are the effective dates that products will be withdrawn from support. IBM will announce the withdrawal at least twelve months in advance of this effective date. For example, if a new product announcement is made in March 2008, the team can combine the new announcement with the withdrawal of support announcement, making the effective date either April or September at least five years in the future.

Q: Are any of IBM's software products supported beyond the stated Enhanced Support Lifecycle Policy timeframes?
A: Yes, IBM has many software products that are supported well beyond the stated 5 years. The purpose of the Enhanced Support Lifecycle Policy is to establish a MINIMUM period for products to be supported. But there is no restriction to supporting products beyond the stated minimum if clients and marketplace requirements are there.

Q: How does a client purchase the software technical support referenced in this announcement?
A: For most IPLA software products, clients can acquire technical support and subscription (product updates) via the IBM Software Subscription and Support (previously known as Software Maintenance) offering. Support for the zSeries IPLA products is also available under the IBM Software Subscription and Support offering.

Q: Does this announcement impact the way a client contacts IBM for support?
A: No, this announcement does not change the way a client contacts IBM for support. The client continues to submit and track problems electronically, or they may call the IBM Support Center in their geography. They can go to the Software Support web site http://www.ibm.com/software/support to submit problems and find the Software Support Handbook.

Q: How does a client determine if the software they have installed is still supported?
A: IBM has a web site for clients to find the currently installed software and support status. The web site is http://www.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle.

Q: What is IBM's technical support commitment for IBM middleware products that operate on third party software (operating systems or applications), and the third party product is no longer supported?
A: IBM technical support applies only to the IBM licensed products. If these products are running on an operating system (or with a co-requisite, pre-requisite product) that is no longer supported by the third party, then IBM technical support is limited to defects that can be replicated on supported environments (i.e. supported versions of the operating systems).

Q: Software Subscription and Support (previously known as Software Maintenance) allows the client to use the most current commercially available version or release. Do clients have to be using the latest release to get support?
A: The client can receive support on any version/release that is within its support lifecycle period. This announcement established a minimum period of five years, from the products' general availability (GA) date, for support to be available for those designated products.

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