F5 software lifecycle policy
The F5 software lifecycle support policy defines the stages of the software lifecycle from initial release through retirement. The intent of this policy is to provide consistent documentation that aids customers in planning and preparing for their organization's support needs. For policies regarding products and software versions that have passed their End of Sale date, refer to their respective AskF5 articles.
The F5 software lifecycle policy described in this article also applies to Virtual Edition (VE) releases of the software.
F5 software uses a four-digit software version schema. The four-digit release structure provides better delineation between the magnitudes of product releases; it allows customers to select where in a release cycle they would deploy a version of software.
Version Schema Definitions
F5 uses the following four-digit software version schema:
The definitions for the version schema are as follows:
- Major release
Includes significant changes in behavior, added functionality, significant increases in performance, new hardware support, and/or significant architectural changes.
- Minor release
Includes added functionality, increase in performance, new hardware support, and addresses product defects.
- Maintenance release
Is denoted by a value of 1 or higher in the maintenance release version element.
Contains all previous point releases, and addresses additional product defects and security fixes.
May also contain new diagnostic, supportability improvements, minor functional improvements, and new hardware support; however, will not introduce a change in existing default behavior.
- Point release
Is a full release that addresses product defects, including the hardening and refining of existing features and security fixes, and may contain minor functional improvements and new hardware support; however, will not introduce a change in existing default behavior.
F5 periodically provides point releases for major releases within their Standard Support phase, and for the latest maintenance release of each long-term stability release.
Includes multiple fixes for significant software defects discovered between minor releases or maintenance releases.
Receives the same level of testing as maintenance releases.
Is available on the Downloads site for all F5 customers to download.
Standard Support phase
The Standard Support phase begins with the first customer ship date of the major release of the product, and the End of Software Development (EoSD) date marks the end of the Standard Support period.
Beginning with BIG-IP 12.0.0, F5 moved to an alternating Major Release/Long-Term Stability Release model.
For major releases (x.0.0), the Standard Support phase begins with the first customer ship date of the release and continues for 15 months. When this milestone is reached, the major release has reached its EoSD phase.
Each x.1.0 release marks the start of the long-term stability release. The initial release (x.1.0) contains new features, stability improvements, and new hardware support. Subsequent maintenance releases (x.1.1 to x.1.n) address product defects, security fixes, diagnostic and supportability improvements, minor functional improvements, and new hardware support. Software Development support activities will occur only on the latest maintenance release of each long-term stability release (x.1.latest). The Standard Support phase for the long-term stability release begins with the first customer ship date of the x.1.0 release and extends for five years.
At the end of a release’s Standard Support phase, the release reaches its EoSD and End of Technical Support (EoTS) milestone. Software versions that have reached their EoSD/EoTS date are no longer supported with active software development. F5 will not provide software fixes (hotfixes) or consulting services for a version that has reached the EoSD/EoTS milestone.
For software releases, unless specifically declared and announced by F5, the EoTS date marks the end of the software version’s support phase.
For a list of the most recent software versions by product, refer to K2200: Most recent versions of F5 software.
For information about the latest software releases, refer to K9970: Subscribing to email notifications regarding F5 products.
F5 may identify software issues or receive customer requests to address business impacting issues with the currently released and supported features of a supported version of software. Between feature releases, maintenance releases, and point releases of a supported version of software, if F5 Product Development determines that the situation warrants an immediate fix, they may provide an engineering hotfix.
The F5 policy for hotfix software updates states that, at a minimum, F5 will produce a hotfix that is compatible with major releases (x.0.0) that have not reached their EoSD phase, and the most recent maintenance release of the long-term stability release (x.1.latest) that has not reached its EoSD phase. If your system is running on an unsupported major version, or a maintenance release other than the most recent maintenance release of a long-term stability release, you will be required to upgrade to a supported major release or the most recent maintenance release and/or point release to get the hotfix.
- Intended to resolve a specific software issue until a suitable minor release, maintenance release, or point release is available that includes the software fix.
- Provided for the latest point release for major releases, within their Standard Support phase and the latest point release on the latest maintenance release of each long-term stability release.
- Provided with BVT (build verification) testing and unit testing only.
- Includes the most recent point release in addition to the specific fix that the engineering hotfix addresses. May also include additional fixes at the discretion of F5.
- Provided only by way of a support case.
- May or may not be included in the next available point release.
Product-specific lifecycle policies
Some F5 products have product-specific lifecycle policies. For more information, refer to the following tables:
- F5 software products currently supported with active development
- F5 software products that have reached EoSD
|Products||Software support policy|
|BIG-IP||K5903: BIG-IP software support policy|
|BIG-IP Edge Client and BIG-IP Edge Portal||K13373: BIG-IP Edge Client and BIG-IP Edge Portal for Apple iOS and Android software support policy|
|BIG-IQ||K15073: BIG-IQ software support policy|
|Enterprise Manager||K6556: Enterprise Manager software support policy|
|F5 Container Ingress Services||K86859508: F5 Container Ingress Services software lifecycle policy|
|F5 SSL Orchestrator||K51003252: F5 SSL Orchestrator software support policy (14.x)|
|F5 DDoS Hybrid Defender (14.x)||K70191391: F5 DDoS Hybrid Defender software support policy (14.x)|
|F5-specific GitHub projects||K80012344: F5 support for GitHub software|
|F5 VNF Manager||K16077010: NFV Solutions and F5 VNF Manager software support policy|
|Traffix SDC||K14402: Traffix software support policy|
|Products||Software support policy|
|ARX||K8466: ARX software support policy|
|ARX Cloud Extender (CE)||K12817: ARX Cloud Extender software support policy|
|F5 iWorkflow||K20643522: F5 iWorkflow software support policy|
|F5 Application Connector||K42032236: F5 Application Connector software support policy|
|F5 DDoS Hybrid Defender (12.x - 13.x)||K17850044: F5 DDoS Hybrid Defender software support policy (12.x - 13.x)|
|F5 Herculon SSL Orchestrator||K30498134: Herculon SSL Orchestrator software support policy|
|FirePass||K4476: The F5 software lifecycle policy (superseded by K8986
Note: The FirePass controller continued to use the previous software lifecycle policy until reaching End of Life (EoL).
|LineRate||K15280: LineRate software support policy|
- K3225: Overview of the F5 End of Life policy
- K4309: F5 platform lifecycle support policy
- K2200: Most recent versions of F5 software
- K14954: Understanding the build number schema for BIG-IP 11.5.0 and later
- K4602: Overview of the F5 security vulnerability response policy
- K4918: Overview of the F5 critical issue hotfix policy
- K11478: End of Life/End of Sale index