A large part of managing your data center network means ensuring that all networking equipment is supported and maintained. This sounds easy enough until the OEM announces your products have been declared EOL. The end of life announcement usually means that end of support is soon to follow. Rather than panic or unnecessarily upgrade your network, we’re here to talk about some options you have when it comes to doing a network refresh. So, what are some tips to extend the life of your network?

What if I’m Not Ready for a Network Refresh?

Often times the OEM will recommend a refresh every 3-5 years. This may not work for you for a number of reasons. You might not have the budget for an upgrade or you are like many other organizations whose networking equipment is working fine for them. This refresh cycle myth comes from OEMs that are more interested in selling new networking hardware than supporting your equipment. But what do you do when the end of support announcement comes before you are ready to part ways with your current network? That’s when your options come into play. Third party support gives you the flexibility to take back control from the OEM and choose your own refresh path - one that works for you and your data center.

Breaking the 5-Year Refresh Cycle

When purchasing new networking equipment, you may have heard the OEM boast that your product can have a 30-year mean time between failure (MTBF) life cycle. So why do those same vendors push a refresh in the next 3-5 years for the same product? The 5- year network cycle solely benefits their revenue, putting you in a cycle that depletes your IT budget and introduces waste in your data center. Networking equipment is known for its longevity which is why it makes sense to keep it longer to increase ROI.

A key part of breaking the 5-year refresh cycle means disproving the myth that network equipment is no longer useful after the OEM no longer supports it. According to Forrester Consulting, 81% of organizations purchase maintenance from the manufacturer, even if they don’t see the value in their contract. This is usually because of proximity and convenience. But many organizations don’t know about third party support as an option for their network. Third party maintenance for your network has a number of benefits. With flexible SLAs, coterminous contracts, and cost savings of 30-70%, IT managers can extend the life of their networks while saving budget funds.

Now What?

If your networking equipment is approaching end of support the one thing to understand is you have options. Don’t make the costly mistake of refreshing your network unnecessarily. Allow a third party support vendor to craft a support solution that allows you to maintain your network as long as you need. To learn more about our third party maintenance offerings, reach out to one of our support specialists.