Support for Documentum Content Server 6.7 and related products (Webtop, TCS, ADTS, DA, etc.) reach end of life on April 30, 2018. Additionally Support for Documentum Compliance Manager (DCM) – all released versions – ends December 31, 2018. This has significant impacts for any clients but particularly regulated clients that have delayed upgrading. While there are a variety of reasons for clients to delay the upgrade including simple things like wanting to stay on ADTS 6.7 (see related post here), budgeting, or due to just the general uncertainty of the OpenText purchase, clients that want support need to address the risk of being unsupported. This blog post will list out the products that are ending support in 2018 as well as our recommendations.
Types of Support from OpenText for Documentum
Support lifecycles at OpenText, like other software companies, fall into three tiers:
- Standard Support – Standard support is included as part of the annual software maintenance costs. Of late, standard support for the Documentum software stack has been approximately 4 years from the initial release date.
- Sustaining Support – Documentum previously called this “Extended Support”. There is an extra cost that is charged when a product falls under extended support. Extended support is available on most Documentum software products for an additional 3 years.
- End of Support / End of Life – This means the software release is no longer supported by OpenText. OpenText cannot be called to resolve any issues that would arise.
Below is a list of the most commonly implemented Documentum products that are either moving into Sustaining Support or more critically, are at the End of Support in Q4 2017 through 2018:
Documentum Products Moving into Sustained Support
|Documentum Transformation Services – Documents 7.1||November 30, 2017|
|Documentum Trusted Content Services 7.1||December 31, 2017|
|Documentum Content Server 7.1||December 31, 2017|
|Documentum xPlore 1.4||December 31, 2017|
|Documentum D2 4.2||February 28, 2018|
|Documentum D2 Quality & Manufacturing Solution 3.1||February 28, 2018|
|Documentum D2 Research and Development 3.0||February 28, 2018|
|Documentum D2 Research and Development 3.1||February 28, 2018|
Documentum Products with Support Ending (End of Life)
|Documentum Content Server – 6.7, 6.7 SP1, 6.7 SP2||April 30, 2018|
|Documentum Compliance Manger – 6.7 , 6.7 SP1, 6.7 SP2 *||December 31, 2018|
|Documentum Trusted Content Services – 6.7, 6.7 SP1, 6.7 SP2||April 30, 2018|
|Documentum Records Manager – 6.7, 6.7 SP1, 6.7 SP2, 6.7 SP3||April 30, 2018|
|Documentum Digital Asset Manager 6.5 SP5 *||June 30, 2018|
|Documentum xPlore 1.2||November 30, 2018|
* These are the last releases of Documentum Compliance Manager and Digital Asset Manager
Many clients, not wanting to upgrade, decide to pay for Sustaining Support for some of the following reasons:
- For complex software, most companies choose to deploy a release that is 1+ year old to make sure all issues with the release have been resolved. As a result, software deployed in production environments can easily be 1-2 years into their support lifecycle when they are initially deployed
- Many companies like to minimize impact to critical applications. This is especially true in regulated environments where validation activities and regression testing are significant efforts and costs.
- Many companies will often skip releases to avoid the cost of upgrading twice.
While production software in Sustaining Support practice is common, there are risks associated with Sustained Support that need to be clearly understood. Entering Sustaining Support should be a flag to companies that need to start planning and budgeting for an upgrade if they want to avoid the risk of totally unsupported software once end of life is reached. The most significant risk with unsupported software is that if an issue or a system outage occurs and support is needed from Documentum, Documentum support cannot even be called. While TSG has always been able to address most production issues for our clients without calling Documentum support, long-time Documentum clients can struggle supporting an old system where the internal resources responsible for the system have moved on to other roles or companies. The risk of significant downtime that could shut down operations for an unsupported version of Documentum is rarely a risk businesses would want to accept . Additional Risks and Concerns include:
|Risk/Concern||During Sustaining Support||End of Life|
|Costs More Money||Sustaining support can costs are typically 10-20% higher than standard support. Often times support value (ability to answer a question) is less due to age of both the system and tenure of support personnel. Rarely does the value and quality of the support justifying the additional costs.||Once software is 7+ years old, typically upgrades require 2 or more jumps to get to the latest version. This makes the next upgrade/ migration more complex, take more time, and cost more money.|
|Less Likely to Resolve Issue||Once a release is no longer current, the likelihood that technical support will be able to solve the issue can be severely reduced. Typically support might just respond with “you should upgrade” Given the recent history of Documentum being bought and sold to Dell and now OpenText, many of the technical resources with deep understanding of old and previous releases have left Documentum, draining the support teams of key experienced resources.||Technical support is not available from Opentext after the end of life date is hit. This is significant technical risk to take and not recommended. Should any issue happen – minor or major – there is no ability to call the software vendor to assist with issue resolution and is a significant compliance concern.|
|High Risk of Security Threats||Security is a constant concern of any company. Newer software versions always have additional security capabilities. Keeping software current provides insurance that data and content are stored in the most secure manner. Maintaining a secure infrastructure is the most common driver to software upgrades.||Security improvements are constantly being made. Software that is 7+ years old is not secure by today’s standards. It is most likely not compatible with newer browsers, recent security patches, etc.|
|Increased Risk of Software Issues and Potential Downtime
|Older software is more likely to have a greater risk of downtime and system issues causing business interruptions. Additionally, issues can take longer to resolve on older software and raise compliance concerns.||With software that is past the End of Life stage, all issues and system interruptions must be resolved by internal IT support, as external support is not available.|
|Older software is often not compatible with newer operating systems, databases, browsers, and security patches causing all supporting components to remain on previous releases.||Compatibility issues only increase the older software gets. A system that is 7+ years old is often preventing other systems and related servers from being upgraded and remaining current.|
Upgrading Documentum 6.7 recommendations
It can often be too easy to delay Documentum upgrades as there can be little tangible benefit for the business. It is the responsibility of the IT departments and leadership team to remind the business that these activities need to be built into the budget and timeline as security, performance, interoperability, risk of downtime and higher support costs are all impacted by the delay. Below are some additional considerations that should be discussed when performing an upgrade to an ECM system. Each of them provide additional benefits that may be the key to gaining support and funding for an upgrade project.
- Documentum Health Check – Prior to initiating any Documentum upgrade or migration, a Documentum health check should be performed to review the Documentum system as a whole. The Documentum Health Check serves as a way to document the upgrade priorities and goals for all parties involved.
- The Cloud – There are many benefits to moving to the cloud. (See our related post on moving Documentum to Amazon Web Services). Often upgrades involve a complete supporting hardware refresh. The upgrade is an ideal opportunity to evaluate if the ECM application should be moved to the cloud as part of a cloud first or cloud only technical directive. Moving to the cloud inevitably means saving money on infrastructure costs, making external access easier, different and modern tools to use to improve performance (ex: auto-scaling), and a host of other benefits. The benefits of moving to the cloud should be presented to management as part of any upgrade plan.
- Front End Refresh – Upgrade planning, especially when legacy interfaces like Webtop, Xcp or D2, provides the perfect opportunity to determine of the current front end should be replaced for a more modern interface. While a whole front-end refresh may be too significant to include in an upgrade, small portions of the applications, such as search or approval could be directed to a newer interface such as OpenContent Management Suite.
- Migration for Older Releases – For clients on very old releases (5.3 for example), the upgrade will involve moving between many of the old releases. Rather than process through all the intermediate releases, TSG will typically recommend a migration rather than upgrade to simplify and reduce risk. With a migration, the new environment can be set up, tested with minimal business interruption. See more in our post – Top 10 tips for planning an ECM migration.
- Replace Backend – With all of the consolidation over this past year in the ECM industry, it should be determined if prior to investing in an upgrade this is the right ECM backend for the next 3-5 years. Many of our clients have been moving off of legacy ECM software vendors and onto newer platforms.
Summary – Documentum – Should I stay or Should I go?
Six months after the Documentum purchase by OpenText was finalized, we published a well-received post questioning whether Documentum Customers “should stay or go”. In the article we highlighted the following stay reasons that should be very relevant to customers that are on an old or unsupported release:
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – Building and moving content, integrations and processes initially developed for Documentum can be a costly, time consuming and difficult process. Client’s (and particularly business users) desire to move to a new platform (or often even upgrade their existing platform) can be difficult, expensive and not always justified.
- It’s already paid for – Moving to a Documentum replacement product (or Documentum interface, or any part of the Documentum infrastructure) would require additional funds and ongoing maintenance. In a “do more with less” environment for clients, the desire to move or upgrade existing software and infrastructure faces difficult budgeting and purchase decisions.
- A lack of easy alternatives – Moving from Documentum to something new requires explaining to upper management why another vendor is better than Documentum. We have been posting that newer alternatives like Alfresco can provide attractive alternatives to Documentum.
As Doculabs reported back in December, most clients are taking a “wait and see” attitude toward the purchase of Documentum by OpenText.
In a risk-adverse environment, the easy decision is to stay with Documentum and optimistically hope that OpenText reignites growth within the Documentum platform with quality support. For clients that are facing end of life of the Documentum products they are currently using, a continued “wait and see” attitude can be risky.
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