What is the Creo Release Schedule?

PTC releases a new version of Creo every year.  "Standard" releases are actively supported for one year, less-actively supported for a second year, and dropped from support after a the third year.  The "Enterprise" releases are actively supported for 3 years, less actively supported for one year, and dropped from support after the fifth year.  Graphically, the release dates and support periods for Creo Parametric look like this.


Why?  PTC has always known some of their Creo customers like to jump on the latest available release and others like to skip releases.  When they dug deeper, they found customers skip releases because they have sizable "Enterprise" deployments that require significant effort to upgrade.  The majority of these customers deploy every third release because they need to run a Creo release that long to justify the internal upgrade cost.  Thus, PTC introduced the "Enterprise Release" policy to better support Enterprise deployments of Creo while still supporting the smaller and more agile customer deployments.


What is an Enterprise Customer?

"Enterprise" suggests a large number of Creo installations.  However, when we talk about the 'size' of the deployment, we are alluding to the total amount of upgrade effort, not just the number of desktop computers that need the software updated.  Some factors that weigh into determining the total amount of upgrade effort include:

  • Support/direction from management
  • Accessibility to the latest PTC licensing
  • CAD Administrative support for validating/updating Creo schema content (config options, templates, etc.)
  • Scope of the Creo business requirements and software integrations that must be validated before rolling out a new Creo version
  • IT support for deploying new Creo software
  • Fiscal support for training 
  • Windchill patch/update/upgrade requirements to support the target Creo release



How does this affect the Creo support policy?


PTC's Creo support policy isn't clearly defined in one location, but all the information is captured in the PTC Product Calendar's footnotes at the end of the Creo section and glossary at the end of the document.  Here is a summary of Standard vs Enterprise versions.


Standard Releases (Creo 5.0/6.0)

  • Standard Support Period of 1 year.

... "customers can submit Technical Support cases, have access to SPR fixes via maintenance releases, have access to critical patch sets and have access to new versions of PTC software for the products they own."

There isn't a hard set time frame for patches.  They can be released anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks but we typically look for them every 6 weeks.

  • Sustained Support kicks in at the end of the Standard Support Period.

"At the expiration of the Standard Support period, Sustained Support is in effect for as long as the product is included in a Support agreement. During the Sustained Support period, Support is primarily provided through online, self-help Technical Support Services, although the capability to request assistance from the Support Desk remains available for the first two years of Sustained Support. Sustained Support also provides access to pre-existing maintenance releases and patches, as well as new releases of PTC Software. The Sustained Support period does not provide Customers access to new patches or new SPR fixes."

  • "Creo maintenance builds will continue to be delivered for 12 months after Standard Support End Date, but at a reduced cadence" (e.g. once a quarter).


Enterprise Releases (Creo 4.0/7.0)

  • Standard Support Period of 3 years.

... "customers can submit Technical Support cases, have access to SPR fixes via maintenance releases, have access to critical patch sets and have access to new versions of PTC software for the products they own."

There isn't a hard set time frame for patches.  They can be released anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks but we typically look for them every 6 weeks.

  • Sustained Support kicks in at the end of the Standard Support Period.

"At the expiration of the Standard Support period, Sustained Support is in effect for as long as the product is included in a Support agreement. During the Sustained Support period, Support is primarily provided through online, self-help Technical Support Services, although the capability to request assistance from the Support Desk remains available for the first two years of Sustained Support. Sustained Support also provides access to pre-existing maintenance releases and patches, as well as new releases of PTC Software. The Sustained Support period does not provide Customers access to new patches or new SPR fixes."

  • "Creo maintenance builds will continue to be delivered for 12 months after Standard Support End Date, but at a reduced cadence" (e.g. once a quarter).


Note: There is nothing forcing customers to upgrade through every release.  For example, there were significant functional enhancements introduced in Creo 5.0 that made the Creo users' life easier.  Creo 6.0 added new modules but they aren't relevant to the entire Creo community.  Thus, some customers chose to upgrade to Creo 5.0 and will sit there until Creo 7.0 is available.  They can't sit on Creo 5.0 indefinitely, but PTC's standard releases support policy gives us enough time (3 years total) to skip one release.



How does this affect the Windchill - Creo Support Matrix?


A shorter support cycle for Creo 5.0 and 6.0 means there are fewer integrated versions of Windchill.  We clearly see this in the Creo Data Management Compatability Roadmap.

Note: This is a static image.  Please refer to the Creo Data Management Compatability Roadmap for the latest information.


Standard releases like Creo 5.0, 6.0, and 8.0 support 2-3 Windchill versions, depending on when the Creo and Windchill versions were released and how long they will be supported.  Two releases appears to be the minimum overlap between Creo's and Windchill's release/support policies.


Enterprise releases like Creo 4.0 and 7.0 support 4-5 versions of Windchill because of the overlap between Creo Enterprise Release's 3 years and Windchill's 4 years of standard support.



So what should I choose?

There is no "good" or "bad" choice and there are benefits and limitations to both approaches.  So do your research.  Review the latest available functionality, check software compatibility matrices, and test the waters for upgrade related management/financial/IT support.  At that point you can identify your environment as standard or enterprise and choose your target Creo release appropriately.


Please reach out to us if you need help in the planning phase.