EOL vs. EOSL: Why you should know the difference

Blog - NorthSmart - IT Hardware Maintenance

Jonathan Coleburn, Director of Field Operations


As your IT hardware ages, deciding whether or not it’s time to upgrade your equipment becomes inevitable. The OEM will typically advise you to replace your hardware every 3-5 years dictated by your hardware’s EOL and EOSL. While this might be the typical lifespan from the OEM’s perspective, understanding the meaning of your equipment lifecycle phases will allow you to make a better, more cost-effective decision for your business.

Most manufacturers discontinue the production of hardware as a way to create demand for their latest product offerings, not necessarily because the earlier generation is no longer useful. However, if the current equipment in your infrastructure is still reliable and running efficiently, the manufacturer’s profit motive should not influence your upgrade schedule. We believe that a change in business requirements or the opportunity to gain a competitive edge should be the driving force behind a hardware refresh. In order to understand this process better, we will focus on two key, and often misunderstood phases of the IT hardware lifecycle – End of Life and End of Service Life.

End of Life (EOL)

EOL is a label used by the manufacturer to describe a product that will soon be replaced by a newer generation. This is also the time that the manufacturer will no longer sell or market this piece of hardware. During the EOL phase, the manufacturer may still offer maintenance options to cover your hardware even after the set EOL date. However, the equipment’s firmware has become stable and there are little or no updates engineered.

End of Service Life (EOSL)

The final phase of a product’s lifecycle is called EOSL. With this designation, not only is the manufacturer no longer selling the hardware, they typically no longer provide maintenance support services. If the OEM does support your hardware in any capacity after this date, you will be required to pay a premium cost for service.  Choosing a third-party provider for your maintenance services saves your business money and provides the same benefits like fast support, expert advice, and the ability to extend the life of your IT equipment.

What this means for you

Understanding the difference between these two phases can not only extend the life of your hardware, it can save you money as well. When a product enters the EOL phase, the firmware for that product becomes extremely stable and the manufacturer has more than likely discontinued releasing new updates. It is good to note here that security patches are generally available to the public regardless of who’s providing the support services. Removing the OEM from this equation means a significant cost savings to you.

This also means that for the products in the EOSL phase there is no reason to pay a premium for OEM support services. If the hardware itself continues to meet the needs of your business, third-party maintenance is a great option that will cost-effectively extend the product’s life well beyond the EOSL date.

Choosing a third-party provider for your maintenance services saves your business money and provides the same benefits: equivalent service level agreements (SLA), expert remote support, and highly skilled field engineers. Quite simply, if your equipment is currently meeting the needs of your production environment, this will means savings for you. Businesses who take advantage of third-party maintenance for their IT hardware in the EOL and EOSL phases will often receive anywhere from 50-70 percent off of the manufacturer’s maintenance pricing.

Contact us if you would like to know more.


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