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Labview Yearly update


F-souza

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Hello Everyone! 

I found this awesome forum today, while struggling with a NI major contract decision. 

I manage a big R&D department, operating in Brazil. Our team is focused in measurement system development and labview is the key tool.  We have an Entreprise Agreement, with unlimited software usage and besides the price, it was great up to 2019.

However, here in Brazil, NI is now providing a poor service the cost is escalating very quickly.  We are considering on keeping our usage only in our single-seats licenses and cutting of the six figures yearly cost.  In this case, I'm afraid that we'll need to keep 2021 version for 5-7 years before being able to update it again. My main concern is about having a major compatibility issue by staying on the current version. 

Could you, expert Labview community,  give me a word of advice? I've seen that some of you are still using LV2009, 2011 or so...

Thank you! 

Edited by F-souza
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I use LabVIEW 2009 for all my development. While I don't have access to the latest and greatest features, compatibility is the main reason followed by robustness of that version. It should also be noted that I do have all versions (32 & 64 bit) from 2009 through to the latest that the final product is tested with. When producing code for customers I freeze versions on a per-project basis. You can consider this a micro version of what you are proposing. One of the worst things to do is to update half-way through a project and find out everything falls to pieces. Many projects have failed to meet the deadline due to this-I know from experience. This also applies for "bug-fix" updates. Generally, I will not use a version of LabVIEW on a project unless it is 1 year old or a customer demands it. I like to let those that must have the latest and greatest find the bugs ;)

LabVIEW is backward compatible over many versions but is not forward compatible. Therefore, if you producing tools for others to use, it is desirable to use the minimum version so that all forward versions can use it (bugs aside). LabVIEW is fairly unique in this regard and there are few, if any, that offer this feature-especially with 32 and 64 bit versions. This isn't much of an issue internal to teams but it is when distributing code outside or publicly.

When in teams, updates must be synchronised so that everyone is using the same version. If one person updates their version and commits to the source control, others using a lower version cannot use that commit. Source control systems treat LabVIEW as binary so all members are forced to update to access the commit or the idiot that did it is forced to back-save and recommit :D. With large teams this is onerous but not insurmountable. If a volume licence is used, it can be easier to manage this than single licences.

Version 2021 would be a good peg if you are looking to freeze the version. If everyone is on the same version, then compatibility isn't much of an issue on a day-to-day basis and you have a number of years (10+?) before your code will be obsoleted by an upgrade. You will also be saving a lot of maintenance headaches with the upgrade synchronisation and you will still be able to leverage code back to 2009. 2021 also has TLS which is a must-have for TCP nowadays, although you must keep on top of security updates which are usually only rolled out with new versions. If I didn't have my own TLS solution, I would have moved to 2020+ just for that. You won't be precluding yourself from upgrades, either. If something comes along that you must have, you can still upgrade. You will have just missed a couple of intermediate releases.

While switching to single-seat licences is ok, it is worth bearing in mind that support is only granted with an SSP. I'm not going to suggest you have just one SSP and everyone and his dog claims they are using the SSP attached to that licence when contacting NI-that wouldn't be right :shifty: But bear in mind that you won't get past the support triage without one. With your volume licence this would not have been an issue but with single seat licences only a person with an SSP for their seat is supposed to access support.

At the end of the day, I view the difference between volume and single seat licencing as a procurement decision. It makes little difference to developers apart from they may have to order a licence and wait a bit. Volume licences make the purchasing department, IT and project managers' life a little easier rather then the developers. That's not my problem or my budgets :lol:

Edited by ShaunR
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Great question and one I don't think people think about often enough.  So yes lets say you stick with LabVIEW 2021 for 5 to 7 years.  What kinds of complications will you have?  Well LabVIEW itself won't just stop working.  If you stay on the same OS, the same LabVIEW version, and use the same hardware you have today nothing will suddenly stop working.  So on the surface you shouldn't need to worry at all.

But in practice there are some things that might cause you to have issues.  Here is a compatibility chart for LabVIEW and Windows version.  This might matter because what if Windows isn't supported anymore?  Well right now 2021 supports Windows 10, but it is unclear if it will officially support Windows 11.  I suspect it will get support for it with the service pack in a few months.  If that happens then 2021 will be an even better choice since Windows 10 at the moment will lose support support in 2025.  But even if NI doesn't support LabVIEW 2021 in Windows 11, there is a good chance it will just work.  People are very successful with running older LabVIEW versions on newer Windows, NI just doesn't validate it for that platform.

Lets say you stick with 2021, and Windows 10.  In 4 years you will either be on an unsupported OS, or need to hope Windows 11 will work with LabVIEW 2021.  If the upgrade works, great.  But you aren't out of the woods yet.  You might have hardware compatibility issues.  Lets say some hardware you use isn't supported anymore.  This would only be likely if the hardware you are using is a couple generations old, or listed as deprecated, or legacy by NI today.  Then you might find that NI stops supporting the hardware in the drivers.  If the hardware dies, you may need to buy new hardware.  This new hardware might functionally replace it, but support might only exist in the newer driver versions.  And LabVIEW 2021 might not be supported.  As an example, lets say you needed to buy a PXIe-4497 to replace some legacy hardware.  This card just got support in DAQmx 21.3.  This means you can't use this card with LabVIEW 2017 because DAQmx 21.3 only supports 2018 and newer according to this table.

If the PC dies you'll have issues too.  I worked at a place that started to see an uptick in support calls from older systems running Windows 3.x or 95 and it was due to the hard drives just dying.  We couldn't replace it with a such and old machine so we updated to XP at the time.  This big change was difficult for several reasons.  For us we updated the computer, OS, LabVIEW, Drivers, and code.

From one year to the next, the number of hardware support being dropped is pretty minimal.  And the OS support doesn't change too often either.  But if you compile all of these changes over 5 to 10 years then the difference can be quite large.  For us the cost of yearly support, is less worth it to not have these stations be unsupported, or the risk in having to drop everything and spend weeks getting it going if something happens to them.  My gut feeling is 2021 should be fine for at least 5 years.  After that I can't say.

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Let me throw a wrench into that ambitiously engineered green picture.

As an academic researcher, I have witnessed a progressive retreat of NI from campuses over the years. This will completely dry up their potential pool of users when students become engineers. Consider us the canaries in the coal mines.

Recently, I was denied online support (couldn't fill a service request) because supposedly I was not associated with the Departmental license number I have been using for over 20 years. Trying to add my name to a putative authorized users list failed (NI seems incapable of figuring out how to do that), so I was invited to go through the IT person who is nominally in charge of renewing the license (which NI forgot to remind them to do during the pandemic, which added to the confusion). Imagine how convenient that would be... 

Before this, my last experience with NI support was rather negative (I discussed the symptoms I was experiencing - and still am - here:

). I provided all the logs I could, had a live demo session with no less than 2 support engineers, and they finally decided to give up after supposedly escalating the issue. Unsurprisingly, their last resort suggestion was to upgrade to the newest version (I cautiously stuck to 2019 SP1 to avoid the ripple effects of the pandemic and the NXG fiasco). So if this was due to a bug, the hope was that this undiagnosed bug had been fixed in the latest version...magically I suppose.

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I keep up with the latest so that if NI breaks some functionality I can be loud and obnoxious and hopefully get things fixed in a future version. My thanks goes to all the other early adopters.

Oh, but I use the single seats and just pay for the SSP each year. It's just a cost of doing business as I see it.

Edited by infinitenothing
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12 hours ago, gleichman said:

Heh ... You're really going to like today's announcement.

Is this an announcement you know will be made later today, or has it already been issued? In the latter case - do you have a link to it? I could not find anything...

Or better yet - elaborate, if you can 😉

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59 minutes ago, Antoine Chalons said:

Yeah... bit cryptic this comment, please elaborate.

If you are in the NI Partner program you should have received an email yesterday. If not you will need to wait a little more or ask anyone in your company who signed up to the NI Partner program about this. The "like" in the message from Gleichmann may have been meant in a sarcastic tone.

For most NI partners it should have little impact directly as they normally have a LabVIEW lease anyhow.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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4 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

If you are in the NI Partner program you should have received an email yesterday. If not you will need to wait a little more or ask anyone in your company who signed up to the NI Partner program about this. The "like" in the message from Gleichmann may have been meant in a sarcastic tone.

For most NI partners it should have little impact directly as they normally have a LabVIEW lease anyhow.

Do you have to sign an NDA as a NI Partner?

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As an update to my specific case, just in case this can be of use to someone facing the same issues, I finally managed to get access to support, after some surrealistic back and forth with the same guy at NI (part of the surreal nature of the experience is due to my decision to call repeatedly despite having faced failure after failure - I guess there is merit in repeating the failed attempt over and over again after all!).

He finally mentioned a "product ID" number associated with our departmental account (even the name of which for some reason is not recorded properly by NI).

No one thought about mentioning this number until that umpteenth call, even though it is listed as one of the options to verify the service program membership:

1290138212_NISupportpage.png.0110206a06754cf23c0bb72fd7c97d63.png

 

The question now is whether anyone with that service ID can request support irrespective of them being officially associated with our service program membership.

I wouldn't bet on Ni knowing the answer to that one...

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@X___good luck. I had exactly this problem when joining my new company. I went around the houses over and over with NI, most of the support staff had no idea what was going on.

I am not sure it was ever resolved. In the end I managed to get through to a human via email and they were able to help me with my technical question.

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/7/2021 at 12:36 PM, X___ said:

I provided all the logs I could, had a live demo session with no less than 2 support engineers, and they finally decided to give up after supposedly escalating the issue. Unsurprisingly, their last resort suggestion was to upgrade to the newest version (I cautiously stuck to 2019 SP1 to avoid the ripple effects of the pandemic and the NXG fiasco). So if this was due to a bug, the hope was that this undiagnosed bug had been fixed in the latest version...magically I suppose.

Update after upgrading to 2021 SP1: no changes. Back to NI support...

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