One of the challenges that I often work with customers and our sales team on is helping understand and plan for the upgrade of Windchill solutions to the latest Windchill software version. After all these years, it is still very common for Windchill customers to find themselves using a version of Windchill that is no longer supported by PTC.
Using old and unsupported versions of Windchill could leave your organization vulnerable to security breaches.
Overview of the PTC Windchill release schedule
Windchill products are released following a detailed release calendar along with regular monthly updates in the form of Critical Patch Sets, aka CPS. In fact, PTC publishes and regularly updates this information on their support home page, which is accessible to all PTC customers. It is highly recommended to keep an eye on both the CPS and Product Release Calendars, as there are regular updates to this information that are helpful in planning your patching schedule and overall Windchill upgrade plans.
Why is it important to use actively maintained versions of Windchill?
It is always a good idea to keep pace with PTC’s release schedule for Windchill and to plan early for upgrades so that you do not find yourself using an unsupported and insecure Windchill version. With Windchill deployed in a wide range of environments from sensitive on-premises data centers to public and private clouds, security is a major consideration for PTC and its customers.
- Security: PTC not only develops the Windchill application components, but they also rely on many optional and required third-party software components for the proper operation of the Windchill platform. The CPS mechanism combines security updates and bug fixes to the Windchill codebase as well as the required third-party components that the Windchill environment depends on. New Windchill versions will contain not only updated Windchill functionality, but also security updates and third-party software updates.
- New Capabilities: New PTC Windchill versions will contain new functionality that enables customers to benefit from 100s of new and enhanced user features, new platform choices for deploying Windchill, updated database compatibility, and new client integrations.
- Reduced Cost of Ownership: PTC has worked hard to standardize and optimize the installation, maintenance, and upgrade process for Windchill solutions over the years and has repeatedly added functionality that allows for the reduction and elimination of costly customizations. As Windchill customers move forward with PTC’s accelerated software release schedules, they might need to think about reducing their reliance on costly customizations; later versions of Windchill have built-in capabilities to help customers eliminate this costly burden.
Organizations should plan for Windchill updates in order to ensure their data remains secure with little operational downtime.
What to do if you are relying on an unsupported Windchill version
While there is no emergency and you are not trapped, you should begin planning your move to the latest version of Windchill. Once a Windchill version has reached its end of life, PTC will not provide any further security, bug fixes, or enhancements to the retired version of Windchill. In other words, if you need the help of PTC’s Technical Support Team beyond how to upgrade and move off the old version, you will very likely be denied support.
Once Windchill has reached its end of life, PTC’s Technical Support Team will no longer assist you.
We also strongly recommend that customers not change, enhance, or expand their Windchill environment while it is out of support. If you are a customer who has a customized solution, or is maintaining overbuilt Windchill system architecture, start thinking about simplifying your implementation so that you can keep pace, and maximize the value of your subscription with an accelerated adoption schedule for newer Windchill versions.
If you need help with developing a strategy that will maximize your investment in PTC’s PLM platform, please reach out to 3 HTi for guidance. We are staffed with a small, but highly experienced technical team that is ready to help plan and execute your upgrade to the latest version of PTC Windchill.
If you are interested and want to learn more about the latest version of PTC’s PLM software, Windchill 11, check out our blog post.