Update to Office 365 Lifecycle Support Policy for Office 365

This is not really a surprise. I’ve been telling customers who are in the process of moving to Office 365 that they will need to stay current with their on-premises software for years.

If your organization is moving to Office 365, you HAVE TO align your organization to the new reality that the cloud moves forward, and it’s not going to wait for you.

I recently started planning an Exchange to Exchange Online migration for a customer who has an on-premises CRM solution in place that requires them to maintain an Exchange 2003 server. I told them I can setup Exchange 2010 as a hybrid server and keep everything working, but at some point that is not going to work. Now I have to tell them they might not get much notice as to when that happens.

Historically, the Office 365 lifecycle support policy has stated that the sort of change that would make that customers environment not work will come with a 12-month warning. A recent change to that policy means that 12-month warning is no longer mandated.

Here is a link to the on live lifecycle support policy

Here is the changed part

It used to say they’ll give you 12 months’ notice. Now it says they’ll give you notice. Your guess as to what that actually means is as good as mine.

Again, I don’t think this should be a surprise to anyone. Microsoft has long been trying to move to a N-1 support scenario (where they support the current version and one version back of all software). If you’re more than one version back on ANY software that is in any way connected to Office 365 or Azure, then you are now in danger of that software not working with little notice.

I'm reminded of the following conversation from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

“The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no, he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."

"But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

"Oh yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a flashlight."

"Ah, well, the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy