Options when OEMs declare equipment End-of-Life (EOL)

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Why do manufacturers like Cisco, IBM and HP declare products EOL and EOS?

There are many reasons why OEM’s declare equipment End-of-Life and End-of-Service including:

  • Technology innovation makes new products and software available
  • Less market demand on a particular model means production of that model is no longer profitable
  • Supply of replacement parts dries up
  • Legacy technical personnel (including field technicians) become too senior thus too expensive
  • Pressure on OEM’s to increase company revenue by replacing old products in the field with new products

OEM’s are often public companies that have many pressures from the investing market to increase revenue and profit. In addition, they need to keep up or surpass the competition.

So it’s understandable from their point of view why they declare products EOL and EOS.

But the timing is not always best for the owner of the products for the following reasons:

  • The installed equipment may have a longer useful life for the user (in some cases up to a decade longer), and there may be some enduring advantage in the old technology that is not supplanted by the new technology
  • New technology may not be needed. Did you know? The Space Shuttle runs on only One Megabyte of RAM!
  • The timing of Manufacturer’s declaring product EOL and EOS may not match an entities budget for the procurement of new hardware
  • Replacing hardware may require changes in skilled labor to support the new hardware
  • Hardware changes may require significant software changes increasing expense other than hardware replacement including new software, implementation, customization and testing
  • Custom software developed for the existing hardware may take many years to recompile and port to new hardware (Example is computers used in a Flight Simulator)
  • New hardware may require a major change in staff and culture (Think Mainframes)
  • Every computer and piece of technology is out of the moment you take it out of the box, so maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to write it off for a replacement
  • Dumping useful technology is not Eco-friendly

An Agency Director stated that the D.O.D. spends approximately $75 Million a year replacing Cisco hardware that has been deemed EOL or EOS.

What to do when manufacturers declare products EOL and EOS?

No reason to panic:

1.       What most people don’t realize is that OEM’s continue Operating System Software Support for at least 3-5 years after the End-of-Life EOL date (Example view Cisco’s Standard Guidelines)

2.       There are hundreds if not thousands of companies that provide support on End-of-Life equipment including 24x7 phone Technical Assistance Centers and On-site Service for Cisco, IBM, HP, Sun and SGi Hardware.

3.       There are hundreds of companies that provide replacement parts, repairs and self-maintenance training even including spares kits for almost all technology

Oh, Manufacturer’s don’t like it when you keep your old technology

  • Remember, there is significant pressure for the OEM to increase revenues and profit to increase stock price
  • Their sales representatives are paid to “sell”!
  • “If a 3rd Party Company maintains the equipment and something goes wrong, you will have to pay a recertification fee”
  • “We won’t provide software support if you don’t buy the hardware support from our company”
  • “We will only provide a maintenance contract if you put all of your equipment under the contract including any EOL in your facility” (Think Oracle/Sun)

So be prepared for F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt):

The bottom line is that replacing equipment that works is not necessary. Manufacturers often cross the anti-competitive / anti-trust laws lines in their statements, OEM sales people will not make commission if you keep your useful equipment, and the doom and gloom picture they paint simply is not true.

We encourage you to get educated about the options of keeping your technology running as long as you can because it is eco-friendly and saves your entity money. Think of the Billions our Federal Government could save each year if we all had the same attitude as the NASA engineers that ran the Space Shuttle on One Megabyte of RAM!

Author: Todd Bone

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* Photo Courtesy of New York Times

 

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