If your development organization is using .NET Core 2.0, ASP.NET Core 2.0, or Entity Framework Core 2.0, you may have less time than you think to upgrade to the latest version if you want to be running supported software. The end of life for all of them is October 1st, 2018, less than three months away. The end of life brings an end to support, which means an end to bug fixes and security updates, so this is an important deadline.
.NET Core 2.0 was released on August 14, 2017 and its end of life date was originally scheduled for September 1st of this year. On June 20, 2018, Microsoft announced that support for 2.0 would be extended to October 1st due to a bug.
Microsoft has been advancing .NET Core technology at a steady pace since its introduction in mid-2016 and the release cadence creates a corresponding pressure on developers to upgrade promptly if they want to be working with the current technology. The release schedule also puts pressure on development organizations that need to be running on supported software for compliance reasons.
.NET Core 2.0 was a significant advancement for .NET Core, one that brought stability, performance, and substantial new features. But it was issued as a Current release, rather than a Long Term Support (LTS) release. This means that:
1. it is a version intended for applications under active development and
2. under the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy, its supported life span ends three months after the release of the next Current or LTS version.
.NET Core 2.1, the most recent Current release, was made available on May 30th, 2018, along with Entity Framework Core 2.1 and ASP.NET Core 2.1. Because EF Core and ASP.NET Core were released as part of the .NET Core release, their lifecycle follows that of the parent release, so they all turn into a pumpkin on October 1st.
A quick glance at the release notes linked above shows a wealth of improvements to be had in moving from the 2.0 to 2.1 version of these frameworks. And a quick glance at the .NET Downloads page shows a steady cadence of patch level releases for version 2.0 since its introduction. That means a steady pace of bug fixes and security updates coming to an end on October 1st.
If your application is in development you need to keep pace with the Current release. Doing so gives you access to the latest features and fixes. It also keeps you in support. If an application is no longer in active development, stabilizing on a LTS release is a better choice; they offer three years of support after their initial release and fewer changes.
Server administrators, hosting companies, and those providing Windows Server Platform as a Service (PaaS) resources should also take note of the October 1st deadline. To support applications developed with the .NET Core Current release, they'll need to have the corresponding .NET Core 2.1 Runtime installed to support framework-dependent deployments.
It's time to get moving.