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If you look at the recenty Nutanix Acropololys Operating Systems releases you will notice new versions in just few months: Nutanix AOS 5.6 was released in April and now Nutanix AOS 5.8 has been just released.

What does it means for the support and the lifecycle of the products?

Nutanix has defined two different type of releases:

  • Short Term Support (STS) releases (also knew as Feature releases): which have new features, and also provide a regular upgrade path. The support for all feature release version will only be for 6 months after the release date, within which period you will have to upgrade to the next feature release version.
  • Long Term Support (LTS) releases which are maintained for a longer duration and provide primarily bug fixes for an extended period of time on a particular release family

All AOS 5.5.x releases are LTS. All 5.6, 5.8 (and probably, 5.9 and 5.10) are STS!

The following table summurize the difference between the two releases:

Type Release Cadence Support Cycle Content Target Customer Current AOS Release family Upgrade Paths
Short Term Support (STS) Quarterly 3 months of maintenance followed by an additional 3 months of support Major new features, hw platforms for new features,  also contains bug fixes Customers that are interested in adopting new major features and are able to perform upgrades multiple times a year 5.6.x
&
5.8.x
To next upgrade path supported STS release

OR

To next upgrade path supported  LTS release

Long Term Support (LTS) Annually 15 months of maintenance followed by an additional 6 months of support Focused heavily on bug fixes, minimal minor feature introduction Customers that are interested in a release family with an extended support cycle 5.5.x To next upgrade path supported STS release

OR

To next upgrade path supported  LTS release

Is a big change from the release lifecycle but also an important choice for the customers that have to choose the right release and how much they can wait or how much effort the want to put in the product management.

If you look at the AOS EoL policy (http://download.nutanix.com/misc/Nutanix+AOS+EOL+schedule.pdf) you will notice that, starting with AOS 5.x the lifetime of a product become shorter and it rapidily change with new versions (and new features):

AOS Version GA Date End of Maintenance End of Life
4.7.Z Jun 2016 Jan 2018 Jan 2019
5.0.Z Jan 2017 Jan 2018 Oct 2018
5.1.Z Apr 2017 Mar 2018 Dec 2018
5.5.Z (LTS) Dec 2017 Apr 2019 Oct 2019
5.6.Z Apr 2016 Jul 2018 Oct 2018
5.8.Z Jul 2018 Oct 2018 Jan 2019

It’s not a behavier of Nutanix products, because the industry is changing fast and faster and new features are required ASAP. This requires a different approach in products lifecycle and continuous improvement. Look for example at Microsoft with Windows 10 (or also Windows Server 2016) or Veeam with Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5.

For a production storage (or cloud) environment having an option to choose long term products it’s quite interesting, but 15+6 months maybe are not really a long period. Should be nice have a long term like with some OSes, but it’s something different.

Anyway is more important have good upgrade tools that make the transition smarter and faster, instead of have a very long period.

But of the hardware part the period, of course, must be longer and at least of 4 years. This of course does not depends only by AOS, but also by the hypervisor part.

For more information about Nutanix support policy see:https://www.nutanix.com/support-services/product-support/policies/

Refer also to KB#5505 for an more complete explanation about STS and LTS releases.

Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2849 Posts)

Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-18. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-18. Nutanix NTC 2014-18. PernixPro 2014-16. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.


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