The Cisco® Identity Services Engine (ISE) plays a critical role in enforcing access policies and limiting exposure to a continuously evolving threat landscape. This landscape drives the need for constant innovation and a rapid release cadence. Delivering multiple releases in a short timeframe can be challenging to organizations that require long-term stability and predictability when planning deployments and upgrades. To address these needs, the Cisco ISE team is striving to implement a predictable release lifecycle, as described in this document.
Cisco ISE software release timelines
Cisco plans to release a new ISE software version approximately every 6 months: one in March or April (“spring release”) and one in September or October (“fall release”). Each release will continue to be characterized by feature richness and software quality that address market requirements.
The March-April release will be designated a Long-Term Release (LTR), and the September-October release will be designated a Short-Term Release (STR).
The LTR will typically be even numbered, for example, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, and so on.
The STR will typically be odd numbered, for example, 2.1, 2.3, and so on.
The LTR will typically be supported by Cisco for a period of 4 years. The STR will typically be supported for 2 years. Although we will strive to ensure that the LTRs will have even numbers and STRs will have odd ones, this is only a general rule of thumb. Customers should review relevant release documentation before choosing a release to deploy.
Note: Maintenance releases will retain the same support time that their “parent” releases carry. For example, release 2.0.1 was released approximately 5 months after the release of 2.0 (its parent release), but both of these releases will reach their end-of-sale dates and will reach milestones (end of sale, end of support, etc.) at the same time.
The lifecycle for each release type will follow the pattern displayed in the figure below:
Figure 1. Lifecycle pattern
FCS: This is the first customer shipment of the software release.
EoL notice: This document announces the end of life of a product and is posted on Cisco.com.
Software maintenance: This milestone indicates that from this date, Cisco will publish only fixes for security vulnerabilities and severity 1 issues pertaining to the release as determined by the Cisco ISE team.
End of software maintenance: This is the last date on which Cisco Engineering may release the final software maintenance releases or bug fixes, if any. After this date, Cisco Engineering will no longer develop, repair, maintain, or test the product software, including severity 1 and security vulnerabilities.
End of support: This is the last date to receive applicable service and support for the product as entitled by active service contracts or by warranty terms and conditions. After this date, all support services for the product will become unavailable, and the product becomes obsolete.
● Following the general availability of a software release, the EoL notice for an earlier software version will be announced.
● Following the general availability of a software release, the first few patches for the same will be released approximately every 8 weeks.
Customer upgrade timeline considerations
Customers looking for guidance about which release to upgrade to and when should look at the following timelines and customer scenarios regarding each release’s lifecycle to understand what to expect.
● Scenario 1: Traditional customer
◦ Looks to deploy only the most robust releases and needs to certify at the lab before deploying
◦ Involves slow rollout, with a quarter and a half for lab and upgrade process
◦ Upgrades to long-term release every 2 years
● Scenario 2: Latest-and-greatest-oriented customer
◦ Wants to get the latest and greatest but also wants to be under support
◦ Involves faster rollout, with 3 months for lab and upgrade process
◦ Upgrades to short-term release every 12 months
These two scenarios represent opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the most conservative or proactive approach to upgrades. Each customer can choose the pace of upgrading that best supports their business objectives within that range.
Figure 2. Upgrade examples
GA = General availability. Software is made available to all customers.
EoL Ann = EoL announcement. End of life is announced.
SW Mtce = Software maintenance. Period after end of life announcement where patches are still provided.
● These timelines apply to currently supported products.
● Specific release lifecycle announcements, if any, made about a release will supersede the standard lifecycle policy.
This policy is subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco, and Cisco will have no liability for delays in delivery or a failure to deliver any of the releases or to meet the release schedules set forth in this document.
ISE release status can be viewed here on Cisco.com.