The ESR program has a slower deployment cycle than the standard release program and a longer total window of support. Customers on the ESR release cycle will receive new features later and less frequently and will need to update only 4 times a year (instead of 11).
The ESR program is designed for customers who prefer, or need, a more gradual pace of deployment. Every three months there will be an extended support release, which will receive three months of support following its declaration as a stable release.
Each ESR version gets three months of engineering attention. When relevant and feasible, issues deemed S1 and S2 per Looker terms will be patched back to the currently supported ESR release. Issues deemed S3 may be patched from time to time at Looker's discretion.
Participants in the ESR program are required to pair production instances with staging instances. During the month an ESR release is considered "pre-stable," you will need to test the release on a staging server. During this time, you can keep an eye on the new features, the workflow changes, and any product issues that could have an impact on how you use Looker. Looker Support is available during this staging period to assist with issue remediation, as appropriate.
Is the ESR program right for you?
The ESR program was designed to serve businesses with less flexible software update policies. Consider the following questions when deciding if the ESR program is the right choice for your Looker instance.
Is your Looker instance frequently on an unsupported release?
The ESR program can provide a path to to getting your Looker instance on a supported release consistently if it has been frequently on an unsupported release. If the instance is usually up to date, consider continuing with the current update cycle to ensure that your Looker instance is getting new features in a timely and frequent fashion.
How do you want to receive new features?
If you are unable to dedicate time to, or otherwise want to avoid dealing with, frequent small changes — or if your company has long internal software update review processes — the ESR program may be right for you.
Are you comfortable with the trade-offs between stability and non-urgent issues?
Looker anticipates that each release will be stable; however, in the software world, unexpected things can occur, especially when the platform is used in novel ways. The ESR release program will limit the chances of such an occurrence, but it may not reduce your exposure to non-urgent bugs.
Costs and benefits of each release program
Opting in to the ESR program
If the ESR program seems best suited for your company's business needs, contact your Customer Success team to discuss opting in to this program.
If you have questions, a great place to ask them is Looker's Community forum, where discussion of all sorts is welcomed and encouraged, including (but not limited to) Looker, business intelligence, and data in general, with other Good Lookers (customers) and Looker analysts.