Your Top 5 EOL Questions, Answered
Navigating the murky waters of hardware End of Life cycles can leave even the most seasoned IT leaders scratching their heads. There are so many nuances, so many caveats, and so many dates. However, understanding each phase provides the information you need to make the right decisions and gain superior support and peace of mind while saving thousands on unnecessary coverage or refreshes.
1. What does EOL really mean?
As a product moves through the various End of LIfe (EOL) milestones the OEM transitions from making the product unavailable for purchase to ceasing all support. During this transition various restrictions are enacted, such as eliminating product replacements and halting all software updates.
If you call the OEM technical assistance center with an issue that involves this hardware, you will unfortunately learn that you will not receive support. What is even worse is that this supercedes any contract term dates and many times clients do nott receive notifications from the OEM.
In general, OEMs provide six months of notice before end of sale – the last day the product can be purchased from the OEM. Five years after the end of sale date, the OEM TAC stops supporting the hardware and spares are no longer available for purchase.
Software support operates slightly different. For the first year after the end of sale date, the OEM often provides bug fixes, maintenance releases, workarounds and patches for critical reported bugs. However, after that first year, reported critical bugs are no longer addressed. Then, two to five years after the End of Sale date, all OEM provided software support and updates ends, this also happens to be the window where support prices escalate resulting in reduced service for an increased cost.
2. My gear is approaching EOL. Is a forced refresh inevitable?
The end of OEM provided support does not mean the replacement of hardware. Hardware that functions well and has been maintained will often continue to perform without incident for many years after the OEM's EOL date.
Independent support providers cover the equipment with OEM certified technical support and even provide sparing to eliminate the need for EOL driven refreshes.
3. Don't I need my OEM for software (patch) support?
In most cases, the OEM stops providing software support long before the End of Support (EOS) Date. Critical bug fixes are only addressed for the first year following the end of sale date, and other aspects of software support taper-off as the EOL date approaches. Many end-users do not realize this, and pay premiums for OEM support during periods where OEM support is no different than quality independent providers due to the lack of continued software update/patch support.
It is important to note that software patch support is different from upgrading software. Patch support is generally included in OEM support for a specified period of time (but never later than the EOS date). Proactively upgrading software is a new purchase and involves licensing costs.
Bottom line, if you have already received an EOL notice, the OEM is no longer providing software support.
4. What if I have multiple OEMs? Does each have a different EOL policy?
Each OEM does follow its own product lifecycle timeline. However, most are very similar, with only a few slight nuances. If your network includes hardware from multiple OEMs, a single support level agreement (SLA) from an OEM agnostic provider delivers support from OEM certified technicians for all network equipment beyond the EOL date.
5. Can I Consolidate coverage of EOL and non-EOL hardware?
Consolidating coverage under one SLA provides a single point of contact to address network issues. Arch Solutions TAC center is staffed with experienced, OEM highly certified technicians quickly resolve network issues. We also maintain open relationships with OEMs to ensure a clear path to the fastest resolution.
It is important to know that receiving an End of Life notice does not mean that you have to start shopping for new equipment. In fact, continuing to support operational hardware after EOL dates often creates a more stable environment than refreshing and saves substantial money.
If you are not absolutely clear on how these notices affect you or your products, or recently received an EOL notice, contact Arch Solutions. We will assess your current network and provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision about your network support at no charge or commitment
Topics: IT Maintenance