End-of-Life Cisco Switches and Routers: Now What?

by Todd Bone on May 27, 2011
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CTOs and other IT professionals charged with managing the company's network and technology undoubtedly need to be budget-conscious when selecting hardware. Many organizations select Cisco as their preferred manufacturer for switches and routers, and find that the hardware does the job well. However, a short ways down the road, you learn that the equipment which has suited the business's requirements so well, is being declared end-of-life (EOL)--meaning that the manufacturer will only provide software support for another 1-5 years, but hardware support won't be covered. In the past, this forced customers to cut budgets in other important areas in order to procure new hardware.

End-of-Life Isn't the End of the Road

Fortunately IT professionals faced with EOL Cisco switches and routers don't need to despair. You may be thinking that it will be necessary to completely replace your equipment with the latest switches and routers, but that isn't the case. In fact, even IT people currently considering getting products that have already been deemed EOL have hope. The reason is that, despite the fact that Cisco will eventually stop providing support, there are other options.

Alternatives for Supporting EOL Cisco Switches and Routers

Not only can businesses continue using end-of-life equipment, they may even find it is much less expensive in the long run than purchasing replacement equipment. Here are a few options for IT pros looking for ways to support their EOL switches and routers:

  • Use alternate maintenance and replacement services:  Alternative maintenance programs can provide services for legacy Cisco products, meaning you don't have to rely on Cisco SMARTnet for support. 
  • Get low-cost spares:  Rather than upgrading to whatever the newest Cisco equipment might be, it is possible to simply replace a switch that is down with a good spare. Pre-owned routers and switches with high reliability ratings can be bought at great prices.
  • Utilize both maintenance and spares:  A combo of maintenance and spares gives techs a solid way of keeping their equipment covered and having fixes on hand should a problem arise.

IT professionals can rest easy, knowing there are options for dealing with EOL.

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Topics: End-of-Life Hardware, Cisco Technology, Switches and Routers

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