Cisco IOS Software Releases 12.4 Mainline

Cisco IOS Software General Deployment (GD) Program Retirement

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Last updated: January 2008


This product bulletin announces the immediate retirement of the General Deployment (GD) program for Cisco IOS Software. GD will not be applied to any future Cisco IOS Software maintenance releases or rebuilds starting from Cisco IOS Software Release 12.4. The Limited Deployment (LD) release designation is also being retired.
Cisco is demonstrating its commitment to address the needs of its customers by evolving and expanding design oriented testing capabilities for Cisco's software portfolio and corresponding supported hardware platforms. The GD program only applied to Release 12.3 * (and prior versions).
The retirement of the GD program has no impact on Cisco's release delivery process, rigorous software testing requirements, or quality and stability of Cisco IOS Software. The expansion of Cisco's solution and design focused testing efforts allows us to more proactively and effectively implement comprehensive testing for better software integrity.

Key Details

• Cisco IOS Software Release 12.4 (and later maintenance releases or rebuilds) images on the Software Center will have a new Maintenance Deployment (MD) release designator. The MD release designator defines Cisco IOS Software releases that provide bugfix support and ongoing software maintenance. This release designator change will be completed by May, 2008.

• Existing GD and LD release designations for Cisco IOS Software Release 12.3* images currently on Software Center are not affected by this announcement.

• Cisco IOS Software release designations of Early Deployment (ED) and Deferral (DF) are not affected by this announcement.

• This announcement applies to Cisco IOS Software only.

Release Recommendations and Test Programs

Over time, Cisco has implemented a number of product, solution, and system testing programs which provide customers a more complete and robust set of solutions and designs that utilize Cisco's comprehensive IOS release portfolio (Release 12.4, 12.4T, 12.2S family) and hardware platforms. These offerings incorporate a wide range of Cisco IOS Software technologies, services (examples: data, voice, and security), and hardware into a broad portfolio of infrastructure-based solutions to meet end-to-end service requirements.
Some of these programs include the following:

1. Safe Harbor

The Safe Harbor program focuses on satisfying customer quality requirements in critical vertical markets. This program links and expands on product testing conducted within development engineering, regression testing, and systems test groups within Cisco Systems.

Safe Harbor provides testing coverage for critical feature areas as required by customer use. It complements internal product testing efforts with customer-specific testing to certify functionality. Most importantly, Safe Harbor delivers on the quality commitment provided to Cisco customers.

Safe Harbor involves testing select code releases and feature sets primarily on the Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series platform. Coverage is currently in place for the Cisco Content Services Switch (CSS) appliance and for services modules (Catalyst 6500 Series Firewall Services Module, Cisco Content Switching Module [CSM], Catalyst 6500 Series Intrusion Detection System [IDSM] Services Module, Catalyst 6500 Series Wireless LAN Services Module [WLSM], and Catalyst 6500 Series SSL Services Module [SSLSM]).

2. Cisco Validated Design Program (CVD)

The Cisco Validated Design Program consists of systems and solutions that are designed, tested, and documented to facilitate faster, more reliable and more predictable customer deployments. For a subset of these designs, incremental design integrity is built in through large-scale architectural and customer-relevant testing.

These designs have been reviewed and updated for widespread customer implementation, and are supported with forward-looking development roadmaps and system test programs that promote:

• New and existing Cisco hardware and software technologies

• Design adoption for major network deployments or enhancements

Cisco Validated Design Program designs undergo extensive system-level testing earlier in the lifecycle of Cisco software releases to substantially reduce pre-production test cycles, accelerate the deployment of new services and technologies, reduce planning and deployment time, and help ensure simpler and better software selection. The program also supports the ongoing re-validation against these designs to provide up-to-date release and hardware recommendations.

Additional Information

Please contact your Cisco account team, or for additional questions and support.
* Release 12.3 reached End of Sales (EoS) on March 15, 2007, and will reach End of Software Maintenance (EoSW) on March 15th 2008.