Documentum Content Server 6.7 – Primary Support Ending April 30, 2015 – What should clients do?

At EMC World 2014, Rick Devenuti shared 13 minutes into his keynote  that only 25% of Documentum customers had upgraded to the Content Server 7.x after over 18 months of 7.x being available.  While Rick spun this news to the positive, we had been posting since 2013 that many of our clients were hesitant to upgrade despite at Documentum 6 to Documentum 7 was nothing like the upgrade clients experienced for previous releases.

While Rick Devenuti has recently left IIG (now ECD), for the clients that are still on Documentum Content Server 6.7 (still significantly more than 50%), this post will present our recommendations regarding extended support, content server upgrade as well as other upgrade issues.

Documentum Standard Support Versus Extended Support

The support dates for current and recent past versions for Documentum Content Server are as follows:

Content Server Version Primary Support Extended Support
6.7 SPX 30 April 2015 30 April 2018
7.1 30 Nov 2017 30 Nov 2020
7.2 28 Feb 2019 28 Feb 2022

As presented above, all standard support for Documentum 6.7 Content Server ends at the end of April 2015.  As a result of these fast approaching end dates, most clients that haven’t begun upgrade efforts will opt to pay for extended support.   Some concerns about extended support include:

  • The typical 20-25% annual support costs can raise an additional 5-10% for extended support, causing IT departments to incur higher support costs.
  • While extended support is provided, many of our clients have found support weak as, when issues occur, Documentum support can too often insist on an upgrade rather than addressing the issue.
  • As versions age, Documentum support engineers have less and less knowledge of the release resulting in less support at a higher price tag.

For clients that haven’t upgraded to the 7.1/7.2 Content Server, we would recommend begin planning to upgrade Documentum and associated components in 2015 to avoid paying more for extended support. With multiple components, servers and integrations, there are numerous approaches to upgrading a Documentum platform and each client will have unique constraints.

Upgrading the Content Server (but not the front-end interface)

In talking to clients about upgrading to D7, many are rightfully concerned about upgrading their entire Documentum stack.  Most of the Documentum clients we know who aren’t on D7 are also still on Webtop.  As we have mentioned in this post multiple times, D2 and xCP have not been as successful as Documentum would like in replacing Webtop.  In looking at Webtop migrations, many clients have noted that Webtop is “good enough” as mentioned in this post in 2013.

Documentum has been saying since 2011 that they are “not investing” or “stabilizing” Webtop, we would recommend that clients consider keeping Webtop and simply upgrading the back-end content server to D7.  Some advantages of this approach include:

  • Not paying for extended support
  • Performance and stability improvements associated with D7
  • Simplifying installation, patching, deployment and support activities
  • Minimal user interruption (depending on the upgrade approach) as the interface and taxonomy will not be changing (as it would if moving to D2 or xCP)
  • No impact to user interface
  • New Documentum REST web services which may not be of much use to existing environments, but could provide benefits down the road with new application integrations.

Lastly, and most importantly, Documentum Support for the area that really needs support – the content server, as Webtop rarely generates a support call.

One benefit to upgrading the Content Server first is that it is the simplest approach with the lowest number of moving parts. From our experience, when clients upgrade their software, it often causes them to evaluate other items such as a hardware refresh, database upgrade, browser compatibility, and integration with other components (Publishing Tools, Viewers, etc.).  These other dependencies and potential upgrades (especially new hardware) can significantly increase the complexity and timeline of the upgrade process. By limiting the first step of an upgrade to just the content server, the questions regarding the rest of the stack and related components can be delayed to reduce complexity.

If undertaking this approach a few things to remember is that moving to a phased approach may require additional testing. For example, you would want to test your Webtop customizations when upgrading your backend and then again when upgrading your front end. The amount of testing and related documentation will be dependent upon items such as technical implementation, risk/impact of failure, and company testing policies.

Documentum Webtop 6.7 – Upgrade?

While Documentum has mentioned for years that they are “not investing” in Webtop, they have kept it current and continue to support it.  As stated back in the EMC community December, 2014, Webtop 6.8 is available.  Some significant points:

  • Email Improvements – See our post about email issues back in 2012.
  • Security Enhancements
  • Updated client and browser support

Webtop 6.8 Extension of Support

  • Primary support extended to the end of 2018
  • Secondary support extended to the end of 2021

Webtop 6.7 Support

  • Primary support ends as currently scheduled – April 2015
  • Secondary support ends as currently scheduled – April 2018
  • 1st year of secondary 6.7 support surcharge waived (charged at primary support rate)

Given the announcement of Webtop 6.7 secondary support being waived for a year, we are pretty convinced that many clients are still on Webtop 6.7.

We are recommending that clients test Webtop 6.8 to determine if it meets their needs.

Summary

Content Server 6.7 clients should be planning for the upgrade to the Documentum 7 platform, but consider a stepped approach leaving their existing Webtop environment in place to reduce complexity and risk.  A future blog will discuss considerations to upgrading Webtop to newer modern interfaces.

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