Learn the key terms that could affect your data center
Improve the management of your product lifecycle with this simple guide.
Reliant Technology

When a particular vendor schedules hardware for End of Service Life, it can be a difficult time if you are a customer who uses these products on a daily basis. Not only do you have to worry about what that means for the future of your EMC or NetApp products, but you will also need to keep track of a variety of dates in your head.

The abbreviations EOL, EOSL, EOS, and EOA are all incredibly important to know in regards to the End of Service Life for products. Understanding these abbreviations, and keeping track of what they mean, will go a long way toward helping you make the right decisions for your products. 

It can be tough to understand what any of these terms will mean for your equipment and your budget. So what exactly is the difference, and how do they affect the products you own?

Product Lifecycle

To understand the difference between these terms, and what they might mean for you, you must first understand the product life cycle. All products go through a lifecycle which includes four main phases: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. 

Product Lifecycle

The first two stages of introduction and growth focus on bringing the product into the market. It also focuses on growing market share. Later, in the maturity phase, sales growth tends to slow down. Typically at this point, the sales will stabilize. Finally, during the decline phase, the product will become obsolete technology, and eventually, reach the end of its lifecycle. 

There are a variety of reasons that a product may reach end-of-life other than becoming obsolete technology. This can include a change in demand, market changes, or new technological advances. 

When working with expensive products, it is important to keep up with any manufacturer notices regarding your products that are nearing end-of-life. This way you can focus on replacing them if needed, without being rushed to do so, or being surprised. 

If you can better understand the lifecycle of the products you use in your business you will be able to better utilize them. This includes understanding your warranties to be able to properly take care of, and invest in your products when needed.

Product Life Cycle Timeline

  • 0-3 years

General availability (GA) and Sale date.

This is when new products are originally sold onto the market. At this point 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 updates regarding EOL in year 5. The original manufacturer will no longer be producing or selling this product, but third-party maintenance is available for most products.

  • 6-12 years

End of service life or End of support EOSL

At this point, the original manufacturer will start to issue EOSL updates. It may also stop issuing support. 

Now, the product is no longer sold by the manufacturer at all, there will be no more OS updates, and they do not renew support agreements.

TPM is generally still available.

EOL

EOL stands for “End of Life,” which means that a vendor, like EMC, has decided that the product in question has reached the end of its “useful lifespan.” 

After the particular EOL date is declared, the manufacturer will no longer be marketing or sustaining a product. In some cases, EOL can even mean they will stop selling the product in question. 

Typically the reasoning behind a product being declared as EOL, is due to a newer model being released. This means the manufacturer is looking to replace the older model with a better technology. During the EOL phase, the manufacturer may still offer maintenance options, but typically at a premium price.

Products are usually declared EOL before being declared EOSL. 

EOSL

Referred to more commonly as End of Service Life, essentially, EOSL it means that a company no longer offers technical support for this product. 

For example, when an EMC product is declared to be at its EOSL, it means that EMC will no longer be providing technical support or any other types of support services after a particular date. Although it is still possible to get manufacturer support after an EOSL date, customers in need are usually charged premium prices.

EOSL can be considered the final phase of a piece of an equipment’s life cycle.

EOSL and EOL Tips

  • Be aware that just because your devices are reaching their EOSL or EOL date, they may still continue functioning normally. 
  • You do not need to rush to sell or trade-in your equipment as long as they are working normally.
  • You also have the option to extend your equipment with third-party maintenance (TPM) coverage. This will allow you to save money and have control over your maintenance options.

EOS/EOA

Standing for “end of sale”, EOS is actually the same as EOA (end of availability). The name suggests exactly what it means, a date after which you will no longer be able to purchase the product directly from a manufacturer like NetApp or EMC. 

Sometimes this product may still be available through a third-party vendor, but the product itself will no longer be offered from its original company as it has always been in the past. 

Essentially, the EOS date is the last day you can order the product directly from the manufacturer. For a specified period of time after the EOS date, the manufacturer may continue to provide support for hardware and software issues.

What is TPM?

Standing for third-party maintenance, TPM is hardware support for your server, storage, and network equipment. Third-party maintenance is an alternative to the warranty given to you by the manufacturer, known as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). 

third party maintenance

Third-party maintenance might be a good option if you are looking to save money in place of extending the warranty through your OEM.

OEM vs. TPM

The obvious difference between OEM warranties and post-warranties, versus third-party maintenance, is more than simply the price.

OEM maintenance is the automatic default for any support in most products. Despite this, third-party maintenance solutions have continued to gain popularity due to the fact that it is cheaper and more reliable.

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)

Do I need to refresh my EOL or EOSL equipment?

Often when your equipment begins to reach EOL or EOSL, the manufacturer will direct you to purchase new equipment or even overly expensive post-warranty support. Before jumping to make a huge investment, take a moment to review your needs.

It is actually possible to extend the life of your EOL and EOSL equipment while using third party maintenance. This will allow you to save huge amounts of money and time. 

This is possible because server parts, storage parts, and network parts are typically available for quite a long time after the manufacturer declares products EOL/EOSL.

TPM providers have access to all of the same high-quality parts to continue to maintain the functionality of your equipment.

Extending Support

There are a few options for enterprise customers looking to be covered when their particular array reaches End of Life status. Purchase extended support from the manufacturer or purchase extended support from a third-party provider.

Purchasing extended support from the manufacturer is usually done in six-month increments. The problem with this option is that it will only be allowed for a total period of two years. 

Purchasing extended support from a third-party provider is typically more ideal. This is because it allows businesses to save anywhere between 50% to 80% of the cost while still arriving at the same benefits. The major benefits of third-party extended support include rapid service, access to expert support professionals, as well as the ability to meet, and exceed, the terms of the manufacturer’s service level agreement.

How do I find my EOL dates?

Are you interested in finding your equipment’s EOL dates and a solution for your End of Service Life arrays? Do so in a few steps.

  • Use our free EOL Tracker that features a comprehensive library of thousands of EOL dates. 

Reach out to one of our dedicated Reliant Storage Specialists to find the right solution for your needs.

Get the best possible solution the first time you inquire. We will help you to make a difference within your organization.
Reliant Technology