It's Time to Move to Version 5.5. If You Use FileNet P8, IBM Content Manager, IBM Content Foundation or IBM Case Foundation, This Means You!
March 9, 2018
After a long hiatus, it is time again to plan for an upgrade of your FileNet ECM infrastructure. I suspect that most of you are operating on version 5.2.1—its October 2014 release now being more than three years in the past. Some chose to remain at the October 2013 5.2.0 release. Regardless, both versions are under active support with no published end of service date. There was a bit of a scare late last year when the IBM software lifecycle page for FileNet showed a V5.2.x service discontinuance date of this coming September, but that issue was corrected.
On November 7 of last year, IBM announced version 5.5 of the FileNet repository. While you may know the specific product you own as FileNet P8, IBM Content Manager, IBM Content Foundation, or IBM Case Foundation, they all follow the same version-numbering scheme. To be frank, the underlying software is identical. The only thing that differs is your entitlement to use certain features.
Looking at the detail in the announcement letter, there may not seem to be a compelling reason to upgrade, particularly since there is no indication of when 5.2.x service may end. Just to review, the core features added in the release are:
- Content Process Engine storage area support for S3-based object storage systems. Such systems include IBM’s Cloud Object Storage (formerly known as Cleversafe), EMC’s Elastic Cloud, Amazon S3, Azure Blob, and others.
- Dynamic, role-based security using a new security role object
- A change to IBM’s continuous delivery support model
Regarding the first two, the new storage support is good since object storage technology is the wave of the future; and some sort of dynamic security capability certainly fulfills a long-time need for many organizations.
The kicker is number three and is a core reason to get a 5.5 upgrade on the calendar sooner than later.
Continuous delivery essentially makes the big release, and the related complex upgrade projects, a thing of the past. Fixes and new functionality will now arrive regularly in update packages (IBM appears to be planning one per quarter for FileNet). Keeping up with the updates should keep the system fresh and the wait for needed features should not be near as long.
Another key reason for the upgrade is the container support IBM has shown on the FileNet roadmap for quite some time now. While container support did not make it into the December release, it should appear in the very near future (in an update package!).
If you have yet to investigate them, containers should absolutely minimize the effort and skill required to deploy and service FileNet systems. New environments should spin up in minutes instead of weeks. We have an insurance customer that typically supports nine separate permanent ECM environments and four or five temporary environments. They spent substantial time and money creating custom systems to support that sort of a dynamic infrastructure. Containers will make doing similar things downright simple.
Software currency is a good thing. While there is not much in 5.5 for your end-user community, there is a lot in it for you. Getting the upgrade done will simplify much of what you typically do and get you in the right position for the next era of ECM.
Submitted by Randy Dufault
Directory of Solution Development