ESRI has updated their “ArcGIS Product Life Cycle” to indicate that the current release of ArcGIS (the one we all have in our production environments) is now in extended support. It isn’t that big of a difference between extended and general support, but the timing of this is a little weird. Even in ESRI’s product life cycle description it says:
For example, ArcGIS 8.2 transitioned to the Extended Support Phase 3 months after ArcGIS 8.3 started shipping. The 3 months overlap takes into account the shipping time for a new release. It takes about 3 months for the majority of our users worldwide to receive a new release.
You’d think they’d hold off for a couple months, but then they’d have to certify 9.1 on Vista and I don’t think they wanted to do that.
ESRI will not certify new environments for products in this Extended Support phase. If an existing customer is contemplating migrating their environment then they should also consider an ESRI product migration as appropriate.
I think this is a little cheap of ESRI as many users won’t upgrade to 9.2 right away and who knows if any of them might have to run 9.1 on Vista because of their internal company policies. So if that new laptop your company just got you runs Vista only, then you might not be able to run ArcGIS 9.1 even if you don’t get your shipment of ArcGIS 9.2 until months later.
Jei has his own theory as to the why on his blog, but my mind says it is all about Microsoft Vista. Jei might be right, but the only big difference between the two service levels is the “new environment certification”:
when a major new release of an operating system, database, or web server is released during the General Availability phase of an ESRI product, ESRI will test this new environment with the General Availability release and provide test result information on its Online Support Center.
Moving 9.1 to extended support means they can ignore certifying ArcGIS 9.1 on Vista and for many companies that is enough not to run 9.1 on Vista (even if you can).