Clients have told IBM that they find the frequency of installing z/OS releases difficult to keep up with and would prefer to focus their resources on their applications in support of business growth. They are upgrading z/OS more frequently than they would ideally like to in order to remain in a supported environment. Based on this feedback, IBM intends to announce a two year release cycle for z/OS and therefore, the next release of z/OS will be in the second half of 2013.
Ideally, clients install z/OS releases in order to gain the value from new function available in a release. With the current annual release cycle, z/OS function is often rolled out over several successive releases which makes the value of new functions more difficult for clients to recognize. With a two year release cycle, IBM has the opportunity to deliver more complete function in a release, with more value visible to clients. Support for select items between releases, e.g. for new hardware, will be available through vehicles such as SPE's.
IBM plans to enhance its support periods, including extended support, to align accordingly. The N-2 coexistence policy for z/OS releases will continue. Longer support will be available for new z/OS releases, and adjustments will be made to support for available releases (z/OS 1.12 and z/OS 1.13) to allow clients to bridge to the new release cycle. More information will be made available with a directional announcement for z/OS.
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