IBM Sunsetting WebSphere v6 Support

Sep 25, 2017 | eCommerce, IBM Commerce

Does your company use WebSphere Commerce version 6? If so, there are a few things you need to know.

You may have received notification earlier this year that IBM decided to sunset or cease support
for v6. In this piece we’ll cover what impact this might have on your store operating.

As with any change, this one comes fully stocked with its own set of considerations. You are likely
weighing the cost of upgrading against the advantages of keeping your working software. Not an easily
answered question.

Companies often feel that upgrading software is an expenditure that will break the bank. As a result, they stay with their current version because they feel that:

  • It’s familiar
  • It’s already paid for
  • It’s worked this long, it should be fine
  • An upgrade would take too much downtime and manpower

These seem like logical points. However, the reality of the situation is that there are potentially significant costs and risks associated with staying on WebSphere Commerce v6. So, what will your company have to deal with if they continue to use WebSphere Commerce v6?

Support issues

Technically, once a product is sunset, the software vendor is no longer obligated to fix any code defects that they have not already fixed at that version level, or handle any future support tickets. There’s a good chance they’ll also start cleaning up their old knowledge assets for the sunset version, and remove any fix packs/fixes from fix central.

So if you opt to stay with WebSphere Commerce v6, you will lose the ability to open a Problem
Management Report (PMR). This means you need to take a hard look at how you will resolve these types of support issues:

  • Code defects
  • Bug fixes
  • Troubleshooting

In addition to support, you will not have access to performance enhancements or upgraded features and functions, limiting the service and options you are able to offer your customers. For example, features such as the newly launched Watson Content Hub and Commerce Insights are great features only available with upgraded versions of WebSphere Commerce.

Security issues

If you are in the business of eCommerce, you can’t afford to ignore the item that towers above all
else…security.

Staying with v6 means:

  • New security protocols will no longer be developed
  • You won’t receive security fixes

Customers rely on companies to safeguard their information. It is becoming increasingly common for browsers to visibly notify users that security protocols are out-of-date. This can obviously have a negative conation in the eyes of your future customers. Without access to the encryption protocols that come with updated versions of WebSphere Commerce, you will have difficulty offering secure service. If you are unable to provide what customers view as simple security standards, they will lose faith in your company, and ultimately, your brand.

A security breach could also translate into media backlash and an ensuing PR nightmare.

Still feel like you’re saving money? Maybe, you were able forgo the initial costs associated with
upgrading, but now you have other costs that you didn’t have before.

Cost Implications

If you decide to stay with WebSphere Commerce v6, you will be the one responsible for finding or
developing creative solutions to problems that arise. Because you will no longer be using a supported
version, you will see increased costs associated with the following:

  • Support – Since you’ll longer receive support from IBM, you’ll have to lean on third-party support experienced with older versions, which will likely come at a premium
  • Version Migrations – Continued postponement pushes the cost to migrate up when you finally decide to move to a newer version
  • Serves and Other Hardware – Often, staying with an old version of software requires more servers and equipment to maintain

Need help determining and assessing your options? BlueSky’s experienced WebSphere Commerce team can provide the necessary tools to help you assess your next move. Call or contact us today!