Hardware Lifecycle Milestone Dates: What are They? How can They Help?

For those of you with any knowledge of Hardware Lifecycle Management practices, you likely  understand that to reduce TCO, extend the useful life of and contain OpEx budgets, you need to ensure that:

  1. IT Operations is in “lock-step” with the ITAM team or ITAM best practices to measure and track “per asset criticality” for all servers, storage and networking assets.
  2. Data center operations and networking leadership have a basic knowledge of the value associated with Hybrid Hardware Support for post-warranty servers and storage, or where SMARTnet is wasteful.
  3. Someone, somewhere needs to be tracking the most critical Hardware Lifecycle Milestone dates so that you’re fully prepared – with much needed transparency – to proactively take action before you’re taken advantage of, or the opportunity slips past.
  4. Once IT hardware has reached EoSW (End-of-SoftWare-support), there is no reason the OEM should be maintaining the hardware.
  5. If you have reached EoS (End-of-Support), it is not too late to extend the life of your IT investment by moving to Third Party Maintenance.

You’re not yet familiar with Hardware Lifecycle Milestone dates? Ok, let’s try to make this easy:

Hardware Lifecycle Milestone Dates are the handful of dates associated with each asset whereby, your advance knowledge of them (dates) can help you prepare for a response that staves off the OEM’s desired tech refresh (CapEx budget) and prepare a contingency plan(s) that help you contain OpEx costs. Such value is all possible while retaining focus upon the “per asset criticality” as defined by IT Ops (data center AND networking).

Specifically, what are these dates to be tracked for each asset:

  • EoL: When the OEM has maximized a model and discontinues manufacturering the product and it has reached it’s End-of-Life.
  • EoSW: The point in which the OEM will no longer provide new releases of software or updates, thus End-of-Sofware-Support.
  • EoS: An announced “End of Service,” which is a push to refresh to the OEM’s new models.

What’s interesting is that the IT Industry is the only industry that tells it’s customers when you are finished using the product despite the OEMs original sales pitch of quality and mean-time-between-failure. Imagine your car’s manufacturer telling you to stop driving your car after five years.

When you’re aware that EoS is approaching, but EoSW is one year away, you can make a choice, rooted in “criticality” whether to keep support with the OEM or move it to less expensive independent support. These two dates and their use help you comfortably manage what you want to do, as well as the reasons why – they ensure proactive rationale can be and is established.

However, EoL is when you’re cornered and the OEM wants you to feel cornered. They would like prefer you aren’t aware of the independent support market, which can extend the life of your hardware assets for as many years as YOU choose. But, to be clear, the EoL date is when the OEM proclaims they will no longer hold any accountability for your ownership of that asset. Knowing the EoL date and knowing the existence of independent support options is an essential step toward freeing yourself from the tech refresh treadmill.

If you are not tracking these dates today, for every hardware asset, you can trust that the OEM is doing so and most often with unhelpful intentions. Sometimes they’ll use these dates to proactively push you into a tech refresh. Other times, they will intentionally let the dates pass and corner you with an urgent decision to renew with expensive support or hurriedly buy their newer, more expensive technology.

Milestone dates, and their proper management, are your key to establishing greater freedoms – freedoms which have tremendous impact to your TCO management, CapEx and OpEx budget containment goals.

New Service Announcement – XSi Cisco Lifecycle & Asset Assurance

In September 2019, we formally announced a new service: Cisco Lifecycle & Asset Assurance. If you’re looking for a better IT maintenance solution (consider entitlement compliance) and missed the announcement at the XSi LinkedIn Profile, we welcome you to read our Newsletter, XSi Team News & Gartner Recognition.

About The Author

Todd founded XS International in 1990, helping to build an independent IT support organization led by pioneering executives with proven tenures at Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks. He holds a board of director positions with the world’s two most prominent associations for independent IT support providers – Service Industry Association (SIA) and ASCDI (hardware resellers). He was a founding member of the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (now known as Repair.org, and continues to serve on their Board of Directors. Very much a serial entrepreneur, Todd earned his Bachelor’s in Finance from Ohio State University and later completed a three-year Entrepreneurial Masters Program, given by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization & MIT Enterprise Forum. He now resides in the greater Dallas area with his family.

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