K2 Product Support and Release Strategy
This article describes K2’s official release strategy. It also includes information on how product releases may affect version support. Additionally, support plans for third-party software (including Microsoft Products) is included in this article. Please contact your local K2 representative with any questions.
- Third-Party software support plan
- K2 software support plan
Useful Links to other articles
- K2 Product Releases and Build Numbers - lists the released versions and build numbers, and contains links to the release notes for that release
- How to determine the installed K2 software version, Cumulative Updates, and Fix Packs - describes how to determine which version/CU or FP are installed in a K2 environment
- Product Compatibility, Integration and Support - a matrix that lists compatibility and support information for various versions of K2 with versions of third-party software
- Support & Services Policies - terms and conditions for support policies, such as Extended Term Support Policies, K2 Software Support Policies, and Virtual Services Policies
- K2 Five 5.1 Fix Packs
- K2 Five 5.0 Fix Packs
- This article is effective September 22, 2016 (the release date for K2 blackpearl 4.7).
- Changes to the K2 product support policy that took effect with K2 4.7 were announced previously in the Changes to K2 product support policy Technical Bulletin.
- With the release of K2 4.7, support for several third-party technologies has also changed, as described in the Third-party support with the K2 4.7 release Technical bulletin.
- You may refer to the K2 blackpearl and K2 smartforms: Product Compatibility, Integration and Support article for more details on support for specific versions of software.
- Unless otherwise noted, the information contained in this document applies to the K2 Five, K2 Cloud, K2 blackpearl, K2 smartforms and K2 connect product lines. The K2.net 2003 platform is not covered by this document.
- To be fully supported by K2 support and eligible for fixes for newly discovered product issues, you must run supported versions of K2 software (i.e. one whose standard support lifecycle have not ended) or have an extended support contract.
As a Microsoft partner, K2 works closely with Microsoft to ensure that our products and integrated functionality will work on the next versions of the Operating Systems (OS), Platform and Technology components, and Applications from Microsoft. As part of this relationship, we determine how our current product functionality can be supported on the next Microsoft platform, as well as how that functionality can be expanded to work with new Microsoft products and technologies.
Examples of OS, Platform/Technology components, and Applications from Microsoft include:
- OS: Windows Server, Windows Client
- Platform/Technology: SQL, IIS, .NET Framework, Silverlight
- Applications: Visual Studio, SharePoint, Office
In general, K2 will support the next versions of Microsoft technologies with existing K2 functionality soon after the Microsoft technology is officially released (referred to as Release To Manufacture (RTM) or Release to Web (RTW), depending on the product). For core Microsoft technologies, such as those in the OS and Platform/Technology categories, K2 typically supports these technologies soon after they are released. Microsoft Applications, in turn, will be supported first with K2 software support for the new Application version, then potentially later with K2 feature extensions of the new Application release.
This approach requires sufficient backwards compatibility in the Microsoft updates, such as from WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, and that there are no architectural changes from Microsoft that would require K2 to make fundamental changes to the existing architecture of the K2 platform. The formats of these update releases, such as a special release or the inclusion in a regular update, depends on where we are in our current release cycle.
If the Microsoft release does not maintain sufficient backwards compatibility, the release would be considered a new application or platform that would not have initial formal support from K2. Any support for new platforms from Microsoft not currently integrated with K2 software will be communicated as K2 develops plans, if any, for integration with those platforms.
K2 will plan to support Microsoft products, service packs and cumulative updates per the following guidelines:
- New major versions of Microsoft products that are released during an existing K2 release cycle will not be targeted for support until the following release cycle.
- The latest released K2 update will support the latest service packs, cumulative updates, and update rollups for supported Microsoft products at the time of the Microsoft release date.
- The most recently released version of a Microsoft product and at least one older version will be supported. When possible, K2 will support more versions but may drop support for older Microsoft versions at the release of a K2 update.
- K2 releases will drop support for Microsoft products that are no longer available for standard support by Microsoft.
- K2 releases will continue to support the Microsoft products supported at the time of the K2 release. Core Microsoft product (such as OS or SharePoint) support deprecation will only occur with K2 minor or major releases.
- K2 releases may require a dependency on the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release. In this case, regardless of Microsoft availability timeline, K2 will only support the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release.
If major technology products (such as Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, or SharePoint) reach their end-of-life for standard support during K2's two-year support window, we will continue to support you unless it requires Microsoft involvement. If any issues are found that require Microsoft involvement, K2 may not be able to address the issue and may require you to move to the latest supported Microsoft product. This may also require you to move to the latest K2 release.
Microsoft requires customers to be on certain versions of client operating system, browser, or .NET framework based on their new lifecycle policies:
- Microsoft .NET Framework Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ
- Microsoft Internet Explorer Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ
K2 will no longer provide code fix support for the browser and .NET Framework versions that are no longer supported by Microsoft.
In addition to Microsoft Applications, K2 integrates with various third-party applications. These integration points are through SmartObjects via a Service Broker, and/or workflows wizards. The integration points depend on the third-party application's API.
Examples of third-party applications include:
Additionally, dynamic service brokers built by K2 are available to expose third-party APIs that follow common development standards or protocols. These brokers can be used to create SmartObjects and/or workflow wizards for systems that follow the standard.
Examples of dynamic service brokers include:
- Web Services
Any support for new third-party applications or standards not currently integrated with K2 software will be communicated as K2 develops plans, if any, for integration with those applications.
K2 will plan to support third-party API integration per the following guidelines:
- K2 tests our integration with the third-party API version available at the beginning of our testing cycle. These API versions are listed in the compatibility matrix.
- If the third-party vendor maintains backwards compatibility with the APIs and integration points K2 uses, minor releases (such as service packs, cumulative updates, or patches) of third-party products are supported.
- If the third-party vendor makes a breaking change to an integration point with K2, we will react to that change through our normal support channels and update cycles.
- New major versions of third-party APIs that are released during an existing K2 release cycle will be evaluated during the following release cycle for future support.
- K2 releases will drop support for third-party products that are no longer supported by those third parties.
In the context of this article, "Mobile Operating Systems" is defined as an operating system version of Apple, Windows, and Android devices (phones, tablets).
In general, K2 will support the next versions of mobile OS technologies with existing K2 functionality soon after the mobile OS is officially released. Typically, this is within 1-2 months, but we strive to support the new mobile OS versions the day they are released. This approach requires sufficient backwards compatibility in the mobile OS updates, and that there are no architectural changes that would require K2 to make fundamental changes to the existing architecture of the K2 platform. If the mobile OS release does not maintain sufficient backwards compatibility, the release would be considered a new OS product that would not have initial formal support from K2.
Following an update from a mobile vendor, K2 may build within the following 12 months new features that take advantage of the updated OS technology. When K2 takes advantage of features in new OS versions, K2 will discontinue building new features for previous OS versions.
Mobile Support Policy
The K2 Mobile applications have frequent updates to fix issues or add new features. Only the latest released version is supported. If any issues are encountered on an older version of the app, SourceCode will require you to update to the latest version of the app and reproduce the issue before proceeding with the investigation.
Support for previous operating system versions are dropped when 80% of all devices run the latest OS version but not before 6 months after release. For example, K2 drops support for iOS 8, 6 months after the release of iOS 9, if 80% of all devices run iOS 9.
Non-App Store Delivery Mechanisms
SourceCode does not explicitly test or support K2 software delivered through other mechanisms, such as specific MDMs. K2 will only support issues that are able to be reproduced in an App Store signed version of the app. If an issue is found with an app that a customer has re-signed using an enterprise profile that cannot be reproduced with the app store version, K2 will not support it and will not provide a fix for the issue.
K2 software releases fall into different release vehicles. The table below describes the differences between release vehicles. For information and guidance on installing different release vehicles, please see the article KB002772: Installing Major and Minor versions, Cumulative Updates, Fix Packs, and Code Fixes.
|Release Vehicle||Example||Approximate Release Frequency*||Description||Analogy|
|Major release||K2 blackpearl, K2 Five||5 years||A major release represents a major product generation of the K2 product set.||Compared with Microsoft products, K2 major releases are similar to product generations (such as SQL Server 2018 or Windows 10)|
|Minor Release||K2 blackpearl 4.7, K2 Five 5.1||Annually||Minor releases are released roughly one a year and represent a minor product version that includes the latest updates, as well as new features and functionality.||Compared with Microsoft products, K2 minor releases are similar to R2 releases (such as SQL Server 2018 R2), or new builds of Windows 10 (Anniversary update, Creators update) which include a lot of fixes and new features but are still the same Windows 10 OS.|
|Cumulative Update||K2 4.7 March Cumulative Update, K2 Five (5.0) September 2018 Cumulative Update||Roughly every 2 months, if enough Fix Packs have been released since the last Cumulative Update.||Cumulative Updates are an accumulation of Fix Packs and are periodically released. Cumulative Updates contain all preceding Cumulative Updates and Fix Packs for the applicable product. If you install a Cumulative Update for a particular product version, you do not have to install the preceding Cumulative Updates or Fix Packs since they will be included in the latest CU. Generally, Cumulative Updates do not include new features or functionality, but they may enable features or functionality that was available, but limited, in the major or minor release associated with the Cumulative Update.||Compared with Microsoft products, K2 cumulative updates are similar to Service Pack releases (such as SQL Server 2018 R2 SP1).|
|Fix Pack (FP)||Fix Pack 1, Fix Pack 5||Weekly||Fix Packs usually contain fixes for reported or discovered issues in a product version and are typically released weekly. Fix Packs are cumulative, meaning that Fix Pack 3, for example, contains the fixes included in Fix Packs 1 and 2. Fix Packs roll up into Cumulative Updates. Fix Packs do have a "required minimum version", which means that your environment must be on the required minimum version (which could be a minor release such as K2 Five 5.1, or a Cumulative Update such as K2 Five (5.0) September 2018 Cumulative Update) before you install the Fix Pack.||Compared with Microsoft products, K2 Fix Packs are similar to Update rollups.|
|Code Fix||An assembly, installer or script sent to a customer to resolve a specific issue)||As necessary||Code Fixes are patches which are not publicly available or widely distributed and are made available for specific clients to address specific issues when no other solutions/workarounds are available. Generally, code fixes roll up into a Fix Pack. Code Fixes are also sometimes referred to as ColdFixes or HotFixes. You may see these alternate terms used, especially in older content. For the purposes of release vehicle definitions, distribution, and support, consider Code Fix, Hotfix and Coldfix to be equivalent.)||Compared to Microsoft products, K2 code fixes are similar to Microsoft hotfixes/QFEs/Limited Distribution Releases (LDR).|
|*Release frequencies are approximate and may occur more or less frequently.|
|Release Vehicle||Example||Approximate Release Frequency*||Description|
|Major release||K2 Cloud||5 years||A major release represents a major product generation of the K2 product set.|
|Minor Release||K2 Cloud Update 5||Roughly twice a year||Minor releases are released roughly twice a year, and contain both new functionality as well as fixes and updates of existing functionality.|
|Fix Packs||K2 Cloud Update 5 Fix Pack 1||Roughly every 2 weeks||Fix Packs for K2 Cloud deployments usually contain fixes for reported or discovered issues, and are typically released bi-weekly.|
|*Release frequencies are approximate and may occur more or less frequently.|
K2 requires that all Server Components and Client Components in an environment* be at the same Major Release and Minor Release. Additionally, K2 requires that all Server Components are the same CU/FP. For example, if K2 Server has 4.7 installed, the K2 for SharePoint components in the same environment must also have 4.7 installed. K2 highly recommends that all Client Components be at the same CU/FP level as the Server Components in the same environment. Refer to the version release notes for any known considerations about Server/Client components compatibility.
If your organization has multiple environments (e.g. Dev, Test, Production) and you are upgrading or updating environments, it is expected that non-Production environments (e.g. Dev and Test) to be on a higher release and CU/FP level than Production environments, at least while the necessary testing is completed. In these cases, it is not always possible to use the K2 Package and Deployment (P&D) tools or client components between environments that are not on the same release and update level. From a P&D tool perspective, it is usually possible to P&D from a lower version to a higher version, but not necessarily the other way around. K2 recommends, where possible, to deploy only between environments that are on the same version and CU/FP level.
*A K2 “environment” is any combination of K2 components that utilize a single instance of K2 Databases. For example, an installation with two load-balanced K2 Servers, two SharePoint web front-ends running K2 for SharePoint components, and 10 developers running K2 for Visual Studio components, all sharing an instance of the K2 database(s), would be considered an “environment”. In this example, the K2 database, the K2 Servers and the K2 for SharePoint components are considered “Server Components” and the K2 for Visual Studio components are considered “Client Components.”, and they all reside in an "environment".
When at all possible, K2 will minimize the impact of API changes to attempt to maintain backwards compatibility with previous K2 releases. However, K2 reserves the right to make breaking changes in Major and Minor releases. K2 will not introduce breaking changes in CUs and FPs. Wherever possible, breaking changes in APIs will be described in that version's release notes. If you use APIs that have changed in your custom code, you may need to update custom code to cater for possible breaking changes.
If you have upgraded to K2 Five or K2 Cloud from a previous version (i.e., K2 blackpearl or K2 Appit), several components used in the old version are deprecated and are now marked as legacy components. K2 recommends that any new development of K2 applications is done on the latest components to take advantage of the newest features. While artifacts created in legacy designers or integrating with legacy APIs will continue to run, we reserve the right to remove and deprecate those components in the future. At the time of this policy, there is no plan to remove legacy components. Legacy components remain supported during the support window for the release in which they are installed.
Legacy components are marked as such in the UI when possible, and include the following components:
- Designers: Silverlight-based Workflow Designer, K2 Studio, K2 Designer for Visual Studio
- APIs: Workflow and SmartObject .NET APIs
- Services: Workflow .asmx service, Workflow REST and WCF services (default location http(s)://[server]/k2services/) and SmartObject REST and WCF services (default location http(s)://[Server]:[Port]/SmartObjectServices)
The web-based Workflow Designer, introduced in K2 Five, is the only workflow design canvas that will be receiving new features. For APIs, we will be investing in the REST-based APIs. No legacy component will receive additional features. If there are features in the legacy components that are not yet in the newer versions, please log your feedback to ideas.k2.com for prioritization. We have no plans on removing or deprecating the APIs, but we reserve the right in the future as the functionality of the new features meets or exceeds the legacy component.
Nintex supports every product release (major releases and minor releases) for a minimum of two years. This is known as the standard support lifecycle of a K2 release, or a “Supported Release.” During this standard lifecycle, customers with an active Support agreement have access to support and code fixes.
K2 products will enter an “End-of-Life Release” status after the standard support lifecycle ends. When a K2 product release reaches End-of-Life, development of new code fixes will cease unless a crucial fix is required for a production outage. Security, stability and performance release packs will continue until the K2 product reaches the end of Extended support. To receive code fixes and have access to support, you must have an active support agreement in place.
Once a K2 product has reached the end of Extended support, no new code fixes will be developed. Nintex will endeavour to assist in providing suggested updates in solution design or implementing a workaround. To receive existing code fixes and have access to Support, you must have an active support agreement in place.
|Product||Standard Support Lifecycle Begins||Standard Support Lifecycle Ends||End of Extended Support|
|K2 4.6.11 and earlier1||All versions are end of life|
|K2 4.72||22 September 2016||31 December 2019||31 December 2023|
|K2 Five (5.0)3||1 November 2017||31 December 2019||31 December 2021|
|K2 Five (5.1)4||30 April 2018||30 April 2020||30 April 2022|
|K2 Five (5.2)5||16 October 2018||31 October 2020||31 October 2022|
|K2 Five (5.3)||3 May 2019||31 May 2021||31 May 2023|
|K2 Five (5.4)||23 June 2020||30 June 2022||30 June 2024|
1Support life cycle spans support for add-on components K2 smartforms versions 1.0, 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, 1.0.4, 1.0.5, 1.0.6, 1.0.7, 4.6.9, 4.6.10 and 4.6.11, K2 smartforms Control Pack versions 1.0, 1.0.1, 4.6.9, 4.6.10 and 4.6.11, K2 for SharePoint versions 1.0, 1.0.1, 4.6.9, 4.6.10 and 4.6.11, K2 Language Pack (Preview) 4.6.9, 4.6.10 and 4.6.11, K2 connect for SAP versions 4.5.5, 4.6.5, 4.6.9, 4.6.10 and 4.6.11
2Support life cycle spans support for add-on components K2 smartforms 4.7, K2 Language Pack (Preview) 4.7, K2 connect for SAP versions 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.7.3
3Support life cycle spans support for add-on components K2 Language Pack (Preview) 5.0, K2 connect for SAP 5.0
4Support life cycle spans support for add-on components K2 Language Pack (Preview) 5.0, K2 connect for SAP 5.1
5Support life cycle spans support for add-on components K2 Language Pack (Preview) 5.0, K2 connect for SAP 5.1
The following services are available for K2 versions:
|5.2 - 5.4||5.0 - 5.1||4.7||4.6.11||4.6.10||4.6 - 4.6.9||4.5 with 1420||K2.net 2003|
|Access K2 Knowledge Base, Product Documentation and Support Portal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Download latest versions of K2 software||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Log tickets and access the K2 call centers||Yes||With Standard Extended Support||With Standard Extended Support||No||No||No||No||No|
|New Code Fixes, i.e. software updates outside of normal release cycle||Yes||With Extended Support Plus||With Extended Support Plus||No||No||No||No||No|