This article describes software subscriptions as they apply to Enterprise Console for customers with licenses issued in June 2013 or later *.
Customers purchasing a Sophos license in June 2013 or later, and who are using Sophos Enterprise Console, can select from the following Windows subscriptions:
- Previous Recommended
- Previous extended
Each subscription offers you a different type of updating schedule, as explained below.
You can make your choice when you select which software subscription or subscriptions Enterprise Console subscribes to (in other words, which subscriptions it will download and keep updated). See article 110302 for more information on managing your subscriptions.
You can use the same subscription throughout a network, or use different subscriptions for different groups of computers, such as servers or test networks.
The Preview subscription is not beta software, it is fully tested production quality code that should be used if you are seeing any issues with the Recommended or Previous Recommended subscriptions. Updates and fixes are usually released into the Preview subscription before they are released to other subscriptions and we often see customer issues resolved by moving to the Preview subscription.
We will normally announce when the Recommended version is going to be upgraded to the Preview version. There will be an overlap period to allow you to move between the Preview and Recommended subscriptions without downgrading.
Note: Changes in the Preview subscription may happen frequently and without any notice. In addition, we will not routinely issue notifications of reboot requests in the Preview subscription. Sometimes the Preview subscription will give you the same software as Recommended. This happens when no new features are ready to be used in customer environments, and it allows you to move back to a Recommended subscription without downgrading.
If you have access to fixed versions:
Do not use fixed versions as these are only available for a short time. All fixed versions that this applies to are marked “Do Not Use - Subscription to "Fixed" version 10.3.3 VDL4.94 is not supported - Please use the "Preview" subscription option".
Recommended and Previous Recommended
Recommended is the default subscription. It is intended for the majority of Sophos's customers as it automatically maintains your software version in accordance with the version that Sophos recommends for all mainstream customers computers.
If you use this subscription, Sophos updates your software regularly (but not every month) with:
- Fixes for issues discovered by customers.
- New features that are ready for general availability.
If you install Enterprise Console for the first time and accept the default settings, Recommended is the version that you will be on.
Previous Recommended will lag behind the Recommended subscription for a short period of time (approximately one month) when a new software version or engine (or both) have been released into the Recommended subscription. This delay will allow you to test and evaluate the Recommended version before rolling it out.
Note: There will be regular product and engine updates on the Recommended subscription, product updates may contain new features and will result in minor version upgrades e.g. 10.2.9 to 10.3.1. To control the release of these upgrades, or to test the changes in your environment, you should use the Extended and Previous Extended subscriptions.
Extended and Previous Extended
The Extended subscriptions are aimed at customers who have a strict or conservative process for installing updated software on their network.
If you use these subscriptions you will be notified of forthcoming upgrades with enough notice to move from the Extended to the Previous Extended subscription. At the point at which the Extended subscription is upgraded you will have a further 3 months to test and move your computers to the new version before the Previous Extended subscription is upgraded.
How often are new versions released?
Many customers will be used to Sophos releasing product changes coupled with an engine and data update every month. However, starting in 2014 we will no longer be adhering to a strict monthly release cycle, and will sometimes separate product and engine releases (you will get a product change or an engine change or both at the same time). Data will be delivered separately and eventually more frequently than once per month (with smaller changes each time).
Minor versions are released quite frequently to the Preview and then the Recommended subscriptions. Major version releases will be notified at least 6 months in advance and will also run in parallel with the previous major version for 12 months to allow for migrations to take place. During the 12 month overlap period the old version will receive limited support. See article 112580 for more details about our Endpoint product lifecycle.
We expect that:
- the Preview subscription will receive either minor version changes and/or a new engine every month.
- the Recommended subscription will receive a minor (feature) release and/or an engine every 3 months.
- the Extended subscription will have a new version and/or an engine every 3 months.
All these are subject to change, but we will try to tell customers as early as possible when we are planning to introduce new versions into any of the above subscriptions,
Versioning - Windows
Sophos uses a convention of major. minor. maintenance for versioning, for example, 10.0.0 was the first release of the version 10 product and would be considered a major upgrade if you were running version 9.x.x at the time of the upgrade.
Examples of major, minor, and maintenance updates in Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows:
Version 9.7 to v10.x – major upgrade delivering new v10 features including patch assessment, web control and full disk encryption.
Version 10.0.x to v10.2.x – minor update that included support for Windows 8 but did not need a console upgrade and was not deployed to endpoints automatically.
Version 10.2.4 to v10.2.5 – monthly maintenance update containing a new engine. Maintenance releases do not contain new features. In the event of there being no maintenance changes in the product we will not increment the version number, in which case, the version in use is identified by quoting the Sophos Anti-Virus version along with the Detection Data version, which can be found in the product information on the endpoint computer.
* Note the following:
- Customers with licenses starting in June 2013 or later will only have support for Windows 2000 and Itanium until the end of December 2013.
- If you have a Small Business license, you will only have access to the Recommended subscription. If you don't know which type of license you have, refer to article 111179.