Lifecycle FAQ - Modern Policy

Originally published: August 24, 2016

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How is the Modern Lifecycle Policy defined?

Products and services governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy are supported as long as customers stay current as per the servicing and licensing requirements published for the product or service and have the rights to use the product or service. Microsoft will provide a minimum of 12 months' prior notification before ending support for products governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy without providing a successor product or service, excluding free products, services or preview releases.

What is included in continuous servicing and support?

Each product or service will be supported according to servicing guidelines for that offering. Continuous servicing and support may include non-security and security updates, new product builds, new feature requests, access to online content including Knowledge Base and webcasts, phone support, and online support. Support will be provided continuously as long as customers stay current by following the servicing guidelines for the product or service. A link to these guidelines may be found under the Notes column when searching by offering on the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search page.

What does it mean to "stay current"?

To stay current, a customer must accept all servicing updates and apply them within a specific timeframe, per the licensing and servicing requirements for the product or service. The requirements may be found under the Notes column when searching by offering on the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search page.

Will the Lifecycle Policy for any already-released products change?

Typically, we will not apply the Modern Lifecycle Policy retroactively to on-premises product versions that have already been released with a different Lifecycle Policy. If we do apply the Modern Lifecycle Policy retroactively to more accurately reflect how we actually service the product, the previously published end-of-support date will not change.

I am familiar with traditional Microsoft Lifecycle policies such as Mainstream Support and Extended Support phases. In what ways is the Modern Lifecycle Policy similar or different?

The Modern Lifecycle Policy differs in some respects from traditional lifecycle policies, but is similar in their underlying principles.

Similarities:

  • Both policies establish a framework for consistency and predictability for Microsoft's packaged software and services.
  • As with the Service Pack Policy and for products governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle Policy provides a notification period for customers to plan for and implement changes to their environment. Changes must be implemented, or service degradation or interruption is possible.
  • For both policies, security updates are provided for supported services at no charge. Some security updates are applied by Microsoft; others may require customer action.

Differences:

  • Advance notification will be provided for products and services governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy when customers are required to take action in order to avoid significant degradation to the normal use of the product or service. In addition, Microsoft will provide a minimum of 12 months' notification prior to ending support. The means of communication may vary depending on the product or service. See the respective lifecycle date grid listing for links to servicing information and timelines.
  • Products and services under the Modern Lifecycle Policy may follow a more rapid release cadence in comparison to products and services governed by Fixed policies. Microsoft will provide a minimum 30-day notification when customers are required to take action in order to avoid significant degradation to the normal use of the service.

Do security updates follow the notification timeline of the Modern Lifecycle Policy?

No. Security updates are excluded from the 30-day notification. However, Microsoft will provide a minimum 30 days' notification when customers are required to act to avoid significant degradation to the normal use of the product or service.