The Difference between EOL and EOSL

16 March 2023

The world of IT loves jargon and acronyms, and two that you may have come across are EOL and EOSL. Both are used by OEM (there’s another one, Original Equipment Manufacturer), to signify where in a product life cycle a piece of hardware is. What do they stand for, what are the implications of them, and what do you need to do if one of them applies to your customer’s IT systems? Let’s take a look.

What is EOL?

End of Life (EOL) is a term used by an OEM to indicate that a piece of hardware is no longer being manufactured. Typically, this means they will not sell or market it anymore, and are unlikely to provide upgrades for it. New firmware or patches may be more limited too.
Announcing that a product is EOL normally happens when a newer model is brought to market. The OEM may still offer their own maintenance for the hardware, however often this is at a premium price, partly as a tool to encourage customers to buy their new product. The term End of Sale (EOS) is sometimes used instead of EOL.

What is EOSL?

End of Service Life (EOSL) is the next stage in the product’s life, and as far as the OEM is concerned, the last. It is the point when the OEM stops offering support or maintenance for the hardware. There will be no more firmware updates or patches. By this stage, the equipment may be reasonably old (in IT terms) and users may be experiencing performance degradation, software compatibility issues, or security weaknesses.
For some, this might be the time to consider investing in the new product, especially if the new system offers an increase in functionality. Certainly the OEM will be keen to ensure that customer’s replace these old systems with shiny new ones! Whilst this can be a sales opportunity for the channel, it is not the only option for either the customer or the channel partner, as we will see later.

What is the difference between EOL and EOSL?

The main difference between a product becoming EOL or EOSL, is the withdrawal of OEM support, both hardware maintenance and software patches. When a system becomes EOL, there is very little direct effect on a customer who is happily using the hardware. Once the EOSL stage is reached, the customer will need to make a decision about the level and type of support they require, and where they are going to get it from.

What are a customer’s options when EOL or EOSL occurs?

There are many businesses who have older systems that are still functioning effectively, providing business benefits, and an excellent return on investment. This is often the case for more specialist or niche applications. Not only may there be no desire or a material enough technology benefit of moving to a newer system, the migration path may be fraught with issues of backward compatibility, data issues and the risk of extended down-time whilst the migration takes place.

One option, which offers significant benefit to the customer, and an opportunity for the channel, is to use third party maintenance to provide ongoing hardware support for the system. Just because the OEM is not prepared to support the system, does not mean that the channel cannot offer an excellent level of support. An effective third-party maintenance (TPM) offering includes the ability to hold replacement parts, even if the OEM is no longer manufacturing them. The provision of 24/7 rapid-response IT hardware replacement and spares, is just one thing that TPM providers often do better than the OEM!

A product becoming EOS or EOSL is not the end of the world, in fact it’s a great opportunity to talk to the customer about the benefits of a hybrid OEM and third-party maintenance strategy. We have a great whitepaper on the subject if you would like to find out more! Helping your customer understand which systems are likely to become EOL or EOSL, and what their options are, is something that a smart audit can discover. Another great opportunity.

Well before EOS or EOSL, we can mix OEM support and TPM support to lower your costs of support. For example, you could take out software support from the OEM and parts & engineering support from the TPM - faster support at a lower total cost of ownership.

How can SCT Global Services help?

Smart Capital Technology (SCT) is an innovative IT services organisation, and we are 100% dedicated to the channel. We offer both third party maintenance and audit services, delivered alongside the channel, to help serve the needs of your customer. We can help you turn an EOL or EOSL problem into a great opportunity that benefits both you and your customer. Why not get in touch to find out more and how we can help you.