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Be aware that updates to ColdFusion 2016 will end Feb 2021

Are you still running ColdFusion 2016? Did you know that its "core" support (meaning, public updates from Adobe) will end in just a couple of months, Feb 21 2021? Same for CFBuilder 2016.

The recent release of CF2021 is a great sign for the continued vitality of CF, but this looming deadline is a reminder that as the years roll on, we not only get new versions but we say good-bye to old ones.

Wondering what you can do? or when CF2018 or CF2021 support ends? And what's the difference between "core" and paid Adobe support plans? For more on these, as well as official Adobe documentation that discusses such things, read on.

[Update: CF2016 users got a "reprieve" of sorts, when Adobe released updates to CF2021 and 2018 in March 2021, and they also offered the final update to CF2016, update 17, especially because it address a security vulnerability. Sadly, some of the changes in the update--not related to the security fix--were "breaking" changes. For more on that update, see the Adobe blog post from March 2021.)

The various core support end dates for CF and CFBuilder versions

As you may know, ColdFusion versions follow an approximate 5-year cycle, from release to end of "core" support, with an extra year of "extended support" (which does NOT include updates).

Here are the dates for recent CF versions (including CF2021), from the Adobe corporate "eol matrix" page:

Product name Version Build General availability End of core support End of extended support
ColdFusion 2021   11/11/2020 11/10/2025
11/10/2026
ColdFusion 2018   7/12/2018 7/13/2023 7/13/2024
ColdFusion 2016   2/16/2016 2/17/2021 2/17/2022
ColdFusion 11.x   4/29/2014 4/30/2019 4/30/2021
ColdFusion 10.x   5/15/2012 5/16/2017 5/16/2019
ColdFusion 9.x   10/5/2009 12/31/2014 12/31/2016
ColdFusion 8.x.x   7/30/2007 7/31/2012 7/31/2014
 
ColdFusion Builder 2018   7/12/2018 7/13/2023 7/13/2024
ColdFusion Builder 2016   2/16/2016 2/17/2021 2/17/2022
ColdFusion Builder 3.x   4/29/2014 4/30/2019 4/30/2021
ColdFusion Builder 2.x   5/3/2011 5/31/2016 5/31/2018
ColdFusion Builder 1   3/22/2010 3/31/2015 3/31/2017

What can you do at this point?

There are a few options you may consider, in descending order of the longest term of getting ongoing CF support:

  • Folks interested in staying as up to date as possible, for as long as possible, should consider buying and updating to CF2021, which came out last week, as its updates will be offered for 5 more years (2025).
  • What about buying CF2018? And while CF2018 will indeed be updated into 2023, if you are on CF2016 or earlier, note that Adobe no longer offers CF2018 for sale or download on the CF site.
    • This was the same when CF2018 and CF2016 came out, when there was then provision to do a "backward licensing" of the older version, where you would buy the latest version but get to use that license with the next earlier version. This was discussed in a 2016 Adobe CF blog post, with comments in 2018 that said this would apply to CF2018 as well.
    • As for CF2021, there are no comments in that post, for now, nor any other announcements I've seen.
    • FWIW, there is an Adobe KB article on backward licensing, but the wording seems unchanged since CF2016.)
  • Finally, you can consider buying a paid Adobe "extended" support plan, but again note that it "DOES NOT INCLUDE security patches or hot fixes". Instead, it's "best-effort support intended to assist customers in migration to a core supported version ", as indicated in a 2018 Adobe CF blog post.

Do I really need to worry about no longer getting CF updates?

Of course, some people refuse to upgrade, for whatever reasons (often because they had plans to migrate off of CF entirely, which turned out to be far more challenging than originally planned). And they may find themselves today still running on CF11 (which was last updated in 2019), or CF10 (last updated in 2017), and so on.

Such folks are playing a game of Russian roulette by remaining on a version no longer getting updates, as there have been multiple security updates to CF2018 and 2016 alone, as vulnerabilities are found either in CF, Tomcat, or related libraries CF may include--indeed the most recent updates to them each in August 2020 was a security update.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that if you want to be able to get ongoing security updates and hotfixes for CF beyond Feb 2021, you will need to upgrade to either CF2018 or 2021.

I'll add that I can help people, whatever version of CF they are on, and whether with troubleshooting/tuning, or updating/upgrading/migrating CF versions, leveraging new features, securing CF and their code, containerized deployment, and more.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
  • See that page for more on how he can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you along the way, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
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