As a business or IT executive, end-of-sale (EOS) and end-of-life (EOL) are technology terms you’d probably like to forget.
That’s because when an EOS date occurs, an important component of your network or data center is no longer manufactured or sold. That means the clock is ticking on the useful life of the product. From two to five years after that, EOL kicks in, which means the manufacturer then no longer offers support, security updates or bug fixes for the product. The more serious risks loom large.
You may have thousands of servers, storage systems, routers, switches and other data center networking components subject to EOS/EOL notifications over time. You simply can’t dismiss these dates. But, yes, they are a pain to track manually.
What you need is a networking solution from your IT services provider that can track EOS/EOL dates for you. An automated solution with comprehensive tracking is certain to be more efficient than manual tracking, and can also offer valuable recommendations on next steps.
First, here are five key reasons why you need to be proactive about your network and data center EOS and EOL notifications.
- Performance may decline: Networking product lifetimes vary (often 5-7 years), but an EOS notification generally comes after new versions with advanced features are released. That means current versions in use have acquired some wear-and-tear, which is especially true when EOL begins. Think of a pro football or basketball player entering his 40s (not Tom Brady, of course, who turns 40 in 2017).
- Equipment may fail and trigger outages: As performance declines, uptime requirements are at risk. Older equipment is more likely to fail, leading to network disruptions, outages and costly downtime.
- You’re vulnerable to security and compliance risks: When EOL products are no longer supported, you’re done receiving critical security updates and patches. You’re also now likely violating the regulatory requirements for your industry — and will become a potential target for hackers to exploit your network with malware and other advanced attacks.
- Your competitors could move ahead of you: Consistently having the latest and greatest product versions may not be possible. But the longer you hold on to legacy equipment, the more risks begin to pile up, including enabling your competitors to become more efficient and produce superior products and services.
- Your IT costs soar: Similarly, when you hang on to legacy equipment, using duct tape for fixes, the costlier it becomes to replace it. Smart maintenance and replacement strategies are simply a better way to go.
What your networking solution should provide
Now that you’ve seen the risks of not tracking — or haphazardly or inefficiently tracking — your products’ EOS/EOL dates, let’s talk about what to look for in a solution. Your solution must offer:
- Automated listing of network devices: Your solution needs to provide an automated listing of all the network devices in use by your company.
- Date monitoring and recommendations: EOS/EOL dates must be continually monitored, and next-generation solutions and services recommended, so that your roadmap is clear.
- Impact of products and security alerts on your network: Your solution must provide data on how the EOS/EOL products and their security alerts affect the operation and performance or your network, and what remediation steps may be necessary in case of failure, outage or breach.
- Comprehensive tracking, so you don’t have to: In short, your solution must offer you all the tracking data you need, so your IT staff is freed up to handle other data center challenges.
For most people, EOS/EOL dates are not fun to track manually. A networking solution that provides this service for you, and offers you recommendations on your next step, is crucial to a cohesive IT environment.
Are you manually tracking these dates yourself? Do you have any advice about EOS/EOL, or any stories to share? Please leave a comment.