In Data Center: Male IT Technician Running Maintenance Programme on a Laptop

Understanding how EOL, EOSL, EOS, and EOA affect our Data Center assets’ lifecycle will help us make the right decisions about how best to support them. Each acronym stands for a crucial statistic about our assets, and we’ll be unpacking what they mean for an IT budget. 

PRODUCT LIFECYCLE

All IT products go through a four-phase lifecycle: 

  1. Introduction
  2. Growth
  3. Maturity
  4. Decline

Much of this has more to do with marketing than physical age. It’s our responsibility, as IT leaders, to determine which of our equipment is healthy enough to maintain their current roles, which could be repurposed for auxiliary roles, and which should be decommissioned. Another caveat to the decision process is that while older equipment may be healthy, it may no longer be compatible with newer technology, or the manufacturer may no longer support it. Knowing what these terms mean and how to leverage them proactively could give us a better handle on asset stability and more control over our IT budget.

In general, the introduction and growth phases are related to how an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) brings the product into the market and its overall growing market share. During the maturity phase, product sales tend to slow down and stabilize. Finally, as the asset reaches the decline phase, it will be deemed obsolete technology and eventually reach the end of its life cycle. But does that mean we must replace it?

PRODUCT LIFECYCLE TIMELINE

  • 0-3 years – General availability (GA) and Sale date. New products are introduced into the market, and original manufacturer warranty support (such as support from EMC) is available.
  • 3-6 years – End of life (EOL) or End of sale (EOS) Original manufacturers, such as EMC, typically begin issuing End Of Life (EOL) notices in year five and will no longer produce or sell the product. OEM support may become more expensive during this transitioning phase, and in many cases, Third-Party Maintenance may be the more cost-effective solution.
  • 6-12 years – End of service life or End of support EOSL The original manufacturer will start to issue End of Service Life (EOSL) updates. It may also stop renew support agreements, but Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) is generally still available.

EOL – END OF LIFE

A vendor, like EMC, has decided that the product in question has reached the end of its “useful lifespan.” 

After the manufacturer declares an equipment’s EOL date, they will no longer market or sustain the asset. Typically EOL is set when a newer model is being released. During the EOL phase, the manufacturer may still offer maintenance options, but typically at a premium price, and EOL is usually declared before EOSL. 

EOSL – END OF SERVICE LIFE

Manufacturers no longer offer technical support for EOSL products. For example, when an EMC product is declared to be at its EOSL, EMC will no longer provide technical support or any other types of support services after this set date. Sometimes manufacturer support may still be available at a premium rate because it is considered to be in its final lifecycle phase.

TIPS – EOL AND EOSL

Devices approaching their EOSL or EOL date may continue functioning normally, and they do not necessarily need to be replaced. Also, Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) coverage, comparable to what the OEM provided, is typically available at a substantial discount.

EOS/EOA – END OF SALE / END OF AVAILABILITY

The date after which we can no longer purchase the product directly from a manufacturer like NetApp or EMC. Sometimes this product may still be available through a third-party vendor. 

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WHAT ARE OUR EOL/EOSL SUPPORT OPTIONS?

TPM – THIRD PARTY MAINTENANCE

Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) is hardware support for servers, storage, and network equipment as an alternative to the default Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) warranty or extended warranty. 

WARRANTY AND POST WARRANTY SUPPORT LIFECYCLE

  • 0-3 years – OEM Support – Warranty support
  • 3-6 years – OEM and TPM Support – Post-warranty support
  • 6-9 years – TPM or Limited OEM Support – Post-warranty support
  • 9-12+ years – TPM Support  – Post-warranty support (OEM support not available)

REFRESH EOL OR EOSL EQUIPMENT

Often, when equipment begins to reach EOL or EOSL, the manufacturer will direct us to purchase new equipment or expensive post-warranty support. But, before we blindly follow the OEM’s recommendations, we can take a moment to review our options.

  • It is possible to extend the life of EOL and EOSL equipment while using third-party maintenance, which will save a lot of time and money. Server parts, storage parts, and network parts are typically available for a long time after the manufacturer declares EOL/EOSL and TPM providers have access to all of them so they can maintain the functionality of our equipment.

Enterprise customers looking to cover their array after it reaches End of Life status can purchase extended support from the manufacturer or a third-party provider. 

Extended support from the manufacturer is usually offered in six-month increments for up to two years. Purchasing extended support from a third-party provider is typically more ideal because it allows businesses to save between 50% to 80% of the cost while still receiving the same or better benefits. TPM’s provide rapid service from expert support professionals and meet or exceed the terms of the manufacturer’s service level agreement.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Reliant Technology is your full-service resource for data center products, support, and third-party maintenance. Give us a call to help determine lifecycle milestones. We can even help you find hidden money in your data center maintenance budget to offset some of the costs of TPM or product replacements. Want to learn more?

Reliant's IT Asset Maintenance Optimization Platform