As we see another PeopleTools release come to the end of life, it’s a good time to remind all PeopleSoft users the importance of staying on a supported PeopleTools release. The last patch for PeopleTools 8.57 will be released this month (January 2022) and no additional patches for 8.57 will be available.
The PeopleTools support policy can be found in the Oracle Technical Support Policies document. The policy reads:
Patches and platform certifications for a PeopleTools minor release will be provided until 12 months after the next minor release is made generally available . . .; critical patch updates for a PeopleTools minor release may be provided for up to 24 months after the next minor release is made generally available.
You might have heard us refer to that as the ‘Next release +1 +1’ policy. Full support until the next minor release, then full support for an additional year, and critical fixes for an additional year. Remember, a minor release refers to the digits after the first decimal (8.59.07 translates to major release 8, minor release 59, patch 7).
In addition, the document goes on to explain how staying current on PeopleTools releases impacts Application Support and third-party technology:
You must apply PeopleTools minor releases in order to continue to receive Premier or Extended Support, if offered, for a PeopleSoft application program release. You may be required to apply PeopleTools minor releases to remain current with versions of third-party technologies and products as supported by the provider of the third-party product.
Remember, PeopleTools has a different support policy than PeopleSoft applications. The applications follow Selective Adoption, meaning once you are on release 9.2 you are current. All maintenance and features are optional. Of course, the further behind you fall the more difficult it is to take required bug fixes, legislative changes and to get current. PeopleTools does not follow Selective Adoption, it is on a schedule where changes must be applied based on delivered releases. Unlike PeopleSoft applications from time to time, PeopleTools has never offered extended support, the support period is clearly defined and strictly adhered to.
Market Driven Support or MDS is offered by several products within Oracle, including some technology delivered with PeopleSoft. MDS is Oracle’s support offering that acts as a way of mitigating specific support gaps for certain versions of Oracle products. MDS is not offered for PeopleTools and there are no plans to offer it in the future. With over-lapping releases, Oracle patches 2-3 PeopleTools versions at any given time, so adding additional versions for MDS is not possible. All required software delivered with PeopleTools such as WebLogic, Tuxedo and others, must be maintained from a delivered PeopleTools release or patch. Using MDS versions of required software with PeopleSoft applications is not an option unless the version is specifically delivered in a PeopleTools release or patch.
Staying current with PeopleTools keeps you up to date with the most recent PeopleTools features and lets you take new application enhancements that have PeopleTools dependencies. In addition, you will stay current with third-party products and be able to apply critical security patches as well.
The recent security vulnerability Log4j reminded us how extensive security vulnerabilities can be, and the importance of being in a position to quickly deploy patches to protect our environments. When vulnerabilities like this are discovered, it is critical our systems are protected as soon as possible. Running an unsupported PeopleTools version or purchasing application support from a non-Oracle vendor that can’t provide PeopleTools maintenance prevents this. If there is anything attending Greg Kelly’s security sessions has taught us, it’s that staying on top of security issues and keeping systems patched is a critical responsibility for anyone managing computer operations.
Some additional information you may find helpful:
Oracle/PeopleSoft employee since 1996. Most of the time spent working on PeopleTools in some capacity.