As a 3rd party support provider, we get asked this question a lot – “What can Iexpect when my system goes EOL? And how does it differ from EOSL? or EOSL?
These terms are all manufacturer-specifc, meaning what EMC and NetApp call EOL (End-of-life) IBM calls “Withdrawn from marketing”. First, Let’s take a look at what the terms mean, and the difference between them:
EOL – End of Life – In a nutshell, this only means that the manufacturer has discontinued the model. This can be due to a new product line or technology being released, or maybe there was just not enough demand to continue producing it. The manufacturer will still support the equipment, likely at a higher annual cost. Their overall objective is to find a way to push you as a consumer into buying their latest, greatest systems. EOS (End of Sale) and “Withdrawn from marketing” are basically the same as EOL.
EOSL – End of Service Life – When your system (whether NetApp, EMC, HP, Hitachi, etc) goes End-of-service-life, this means that the equipment is obsolete in the manufacturer’s eyes, and they will not support it after the date they specify it goes EOSL. It is a hard line in the sand. They will NOT support your system after that date. If something goes wrong, you are on your own.
After the manufacturer announces End-of-Life, you generally have 3-5 years after the announced EOL date, before it goes End-of-Service-Life. As an example, EMC published their VNX Gen 1 (VNX 5100, 5300) EOL date as December 31, 2014. EMC will continue to sell support those machines until December, 2019. In January 2020, EMC will no longer have anything to do with them.
Just because the machine crosses the EOSL date, doesn’t mean its life-cycle is over…
If your machine passes the EOSL date, or is approaching, it is strongly recommended to get in touch with a 3rd party Maintenance provider to continue to protect your machine, and allow for reliable usage. 3rd party providers can support your machine for several years after the EOSL date from the manufacturer, extending the life of your equipment, and saving you from having to buy a new system.