PBS Works Product Lifecycle Policy

Contents
Overview
Terminology
The PBS Works Product Life Cycle
General Availability Phase
Limited Support Phase
Extended Support Phase
End of Support Phase
Release Cadence Illustration
Support Obligations by Phase
Public Customer Notifications
Links and References
 

 

Overview

 
This policy document describes life cycle of major software releases for PBS Works products.  After a major product release is released to customers at the general availability (GA) date, that product release moves through four life cycle phases with specific support, software updating, documentation, and other obligations to customers in each phase. During these phases and continuing until the end-of-support (EOS) date, software maintenance releases may become available and appropriate notifications are sent to customers to help in planning future upgrades.
 

Terminology

 
At Altair the terms major product release, software feature release and product are used to refer to the major software product releases to which this life cycle described herein applies.  Major releases are also called feature releases, and their primary focus and purpose is to deliver significant feature content.
 
During the life of a major product release, Altair provides software updates that have a primary goal of fixing bugs.  These software updates are called maintenance releases. Individual products define some differentiated types of maintenance releases including minor releases, update releases, hot fix releases, and patch releases. In all cases a maintenance release’s primary purpose is to provide software fixes. Individual products vary in the type of maintenance releases that are provided.
 

The PBS Works Product Life Cycle

 
The product life cycle begins with the GA of a major product release. Each product team establishes product-specific criteria to determine if a software release is considered a major or maintenance release. Typically, new major releases become available every 6 to 24 months and are identified by new year-and-month version numbers.  For example, PBS Pro versions “18.x” and “19.x” are different major releases, as are Accelerator Package releases “2016.09” and “2019.01”. 
 
The life cycle has four phases:
 
  1. General Availability Phase
  2. Limited Support Phase
  3. Extended Support Phase
  4. End of Support Phase
As is described later, the first two phases have a standard duration defined in this policy document.  However, Altair will at times lengthen or shorten phases as needed based on business conditions and major software release history. Altair publishes an official document at the web support portal—the PBS Works Product Release Life Cycle Status* document—that clearly describes the actual life cycle phase begin and end dates for currently available major product releases.
 

General Availability Phase

 
The General Availability Phase begins when the product becomes available for the general customer base.
 
The type of product support provided during this period is called standard product support. During this phase, Altair Customer Success and Support Teams offer a wide range of services to assist customers with the planning, design, implementation, and management of the product.  Defect support is also available during the General Availability Phase. When a critical/high severity defect is discovered that affects our customers, Altair will evaluate providing a software maintenance release to resolve the defect.
 
The standard duration of the General Availability Phase is two years.
 

Limited Support Phase

 
Provided a customer is current with maintenance or subscription, the Limited Support Phase starts immediately at the end of the General Availability Phase.  When a product version is transitioned to Limited Support Phase, it will not be generally available for new customers.
 
Limited Support includes email and hot-line support, problem investigation, and providing problem resolution recommendations based on existing knowledge, and existing supported product releases and patches ("Limited Support"). During the Limited Support phase, Altair may provide security updates at its discretion.
 
A major product release enters Limited Support Phase at the end of two full years. During this phase, the major release is not generally available for new customers. In addition, Altair will limit and/or stop fixing product defects, releasing new software maintenance releases, and no longer performs product testing during this phase. Development efforts will be focused on the next Major Release. Altair Customer Success and Support Teams will help customers resolve their problems by recommending solutions and previously released maintenance releases that have worked for other customers with similar problems. If a problem cannot be fixed using the recommendations, then customers will be encouraged and should consider upgrading to the current version of the product. Non-critical defects or feature requests may be fixed with additional service charges. The end of Limited Support Phase marks when a product enters the End of Support Phase. Extended Support for a product is available with a contractual agreement on an individual customer basis. 
 
The Limited Support Phase generally has a duration of one year but can be longer at Altair’s discretion or when required by the Altair Software End User License Agreement (EULA). For example, the Limited Support Phase will be extended until a next major product release when there is a long (more than 2 years) span of time between major product releases. In this case a provision in the EULA for concurrent support for more than one major release applies.
 

Extended Support Phase

 
The Extended Support Phase is an optional phase available to customers for purchase.
 
Some customers desire a longer support period than is afforded by the usual 3-year time span of the General Availability and Limited Support phases.  For these customers, extended support is an option offered by Altair. Provided a product qualifies for extended support and the customer executes an extended maintenance agreement, extended support starts immediately at the end of Limited Support and continues for one (1) or more years (as determined by Altair at its discretion). Extended Support includes email and hot-line support, problem investigation, and problem resolution recommendations based on existing knowledge and existing supported product releases and patches. During the Extended Support Phase, Altair may provide maintenance releases to address critical priority issues at its discretion.
 

End of Support Phase

 
The End of Support (EOS) Phase begins upon completion of the Limited Support Phase and any Extended Support Phase that might have been negotiated. A major product release that reaches the End of Support Phase is no longer supported.  A customer may decide to continue utilizing an EOS product at their own discretion. Altair will not support a product in this phase.
 

Release Cadence Illustration

 
The following diagram illustrates an example of the life cycle for two consecutive Altair PBS Works product major releases.  In this scenario, the customer purchases Extended Support on product release R1, but not for subsequent major release R2.
 

      
 
Example:  Let R1 and R2 be PBS Professional major releases 18 and 19:
 
The following is an example. The dates used are hypothetical and not commitments. The 18.x major software release General Availability Phase will extend from 27 June 2018 to 27 June 2020, with its Limited Support Phase planned 27 June 2020 to 27 June 2021. During the time that version 18.x is under support the maintenance release 18.2.2 was released in October of 2018 to deliver important fixes.
The next major release, 19.x, will have a General Availability Phase that extends from 30 June 2019 to 30 June 2021 and a Limited Support Phase planned for 12 months beyond that up to 30 June 2020. Notice that during an overlap period from 30 June 2019 to 27 June 2020 both of these major releases will be within their respective General Availability Phases.
 

 

Support Obligations by Phase

 
Altair Product Support has the following obligations during the four life cycle phases:
 
  General Availability 1 Limited Support 2 Extended Support 3 End of Support
Available for New Customers YES NO NO NO
Issues Resolution YES YES NO NO
Critical Security Updates YES YES YES NO
Support: questions and issues can be reported to Altair via a customer case YES YES YES NO
Access to Maintenance Releases – Minor, Update, Hot Fix or Patch
(dependent on product line)
YES YES YES NO
Access to Documentation YES YES YES NO
 
1 Platinum, Gold and Silver Service Level Agreements available
2 Critical issues & security updates only (Altair discretion)
3 Available for an additional fee. Critical issues only (Altair discretion)
 
Note that Support access depends on the maintenance level purchased. Details of maintenance and support services are provided as part of Altair Software's software license agreement.
 

Public Customer Notifications

 
Altair’s Customer Success and Support teams publish a table of current product life cycle states in the PBS Works Product Release Life Cycle Status* document available at the customer support portal site. Altair Support will notify customers quarterly about upcoming lifecycle phase changes as well as recent software releases such as major releases and selected maintenance releases.
 

Links and References

 
* The PBS Works Product Release Life Cycle Status page is available to customers at the Customer Support Web Portal.
 

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