Posted by Reiner Jung on 7 October 2013

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To address the separate but related needs of OpenBSD users there is a requirement to provide the very latest release of software and to increase the longevity of an existing stable release. These are two challenging propositions and both are real world requirements.

There are various reasons for this and for some organisations the ongoing provision of a stable and reliable release which doesn't hinder or impact normal operations, is of paramount importance.

To address these needs M:Tier will release "Long Time Support" (LTS) for OpenBSD ports. This new service will be introduced for the forthcoming OpenBSD v5.4 release scheduled for 1st November 2013.

Several months ago M:Tier introduced a service to provide free support for the then current stable release of OpenBSD. This service was met with a very positive reception from customer base and the community. We already learned about the need for a service which provides a  more long term solution. This resulted in this announcement of  LTS for OpenBSD ports.

M:Tier already provide binary patches (free of charge) for the OpenBSD base system for a maximum period of one year. The introduction of LTS will be accompanied by the introduction of a one year support model.

The Challenges

Next time you consider upgrading your existing OpenBSD environment take time out to consider:

  • How much time does it take you to build your own package?
  • What would it cost you to monitor the CVS changes and to backport any security fixes?
  • How much faster could you deploy?

The M:Tier Advantage

Customers who sign up for LTS subscription service for example for the current v5.3 release will automatically receive free support for the first six months and then an additional 6 month's support  until v5.5  is released. Remember that OpenBSD stable is currently 6 months only. The subscription model will include only security and stability updates and no functional updates of packages. For those customers who have a need for functional updates then please contact M:Tier directly.

The challenges for a typical corporate customer is often the time consuming validation and approval process to upgrade to a new release.

Adopting the M:Tier solution, to update the LTS packages you could use the existing openup(8) utility or any other system management tool such as Puppet.

Please note that the OpenBSD i386 and amd64 LTS support is not reserved for corporate users only and non-enterprise OpenBSD users are equally welcome to sign up to the LTS support agreement.

The LTS basic subscription is not free of charge. A yearly basic subscription to the LTS support model will cost 200 EUR per year.

Helping the OpenBSD Foundation and 'Opt-in'

Recognising that we all want to give something back to the community it will be possible with your subscription to opt-in and support the OpenBSD project directly. In addition to a yearly subscription to M:Tier you will be given the option to donate an additional amount of money which will be given directly to the OpenBSD Foundation. Together with your donation this will ensure that the Foundation has sufficient funding to continue with the popular Hackathons and other commitments which are required to preserve the ongoing development of OpenBSD - a most worthy cause indeed.

What do I get?

The benefits of the LTS subscription service are clear to see (and for corporate environments it  will make a noticeable change below the line). Benefits include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Quality approved packages
  • Just-in-time delivery and ease of planning
  • Freedom to concentrate on other important pieces of work
  • Support option for your packages

The Subscription Model - Key Facts 

M:Tier will be offering several levels of subscription ranging from a basic 6 month LTS subscription to a 12 month LTS subscription.

First half year of an subsciption:

Release Ports Binpatches
5.4 Free Free
5.3 LTS Free
5.2 on request LTS

In the second half year this will rotate into:

Relase Ports Binpatches
5.5 Free Free
5.4 LTS Free
5.3 on request LTS

Subscriptions are not limited to a specific number of servers / workstations to which the updates will be applied. Simply put, with a single subscription an unlimited amount of servers / workstations may be updated.

Subscriptions are available with support or without support. For additional subscriptions or if you wish to discuss the possiblities to create a custom plan for you please contact us directly.

What next?

To sign-up or to get additional information please visit stable.mtier.org

For further information or consultation please contact us directly.

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