One of your manufacturers just announced the end of life (EoL) of one of your favorite products, meaning that it will no longer create new parts and accessories. The manufacturer may also discontinue support for the product, too, leaving you in a real bind about what to do next.

Should you purchase a costly upgrade, or consult with a refurbished technology vendor who can provide the necessary service, parts and accessories to keep your solution running?

Here are a couple of questions to ask before making a decision:

Q: Does the existing product meet your business’s needs?

Manufacturers are constantly releasing new products, and it can be tempting to buy into their offerings. But are new products always necessary?

Not always. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

One of the best examples of this is Cisco’s Catalyst switch, versus Cisco’s newer Nexus switch. A few years ago, Cisco released the Nexus switch, advertising that it could meet the needs of the “next-generation data center.” It soon became apparent after releasing the product, however, that most network administrators were reluctant to abandon their trusted Catalyst models which they had been using for years. The Catalyst, after all, is user-friendly and dependable. What you’ll want to do is to compare the new product with your current version, and figure out whether it’s completely necessary to make an upgrade. You may find that the manufacturer’s new model is something that could greatly enhance your operations. However, you may also find that the manufacturer is simply using clever marketing to sell you a product that will deliver the same results your current model provides.

Q: Can you continue to expand your network without upgrading?

Once a product reaches its EoL, it will vanish from the vendor’s website, along with all support and vendor maintenance. This does not always mean, however, that your network’s plans for expansion will reach a dead end. You can continue to find support through a refurbished technology vendor.

A refurbished technology vendor will extend the life of EoL equipment by maintaining and reselling the inventory of discontinued products, meaning you will have all of the accessories you need to continue growing your network for years to come.

These companies obtain high quality used equipment from a variety of sources, including end users, manufacturers, returns, trade-ins, cancelled orders, overstock and retired display items. Much of the equipment obtained by refurbished technology vendors are either like new, or barely used. What’s more, all equipment is systematically tested and updated in order to ensure it is in perfect working condition.

One of the scary parts about dealing with an EoL situation is wondering how you will continue to keep your product running once maintenance and customer support are taken away by the manufacturer.

Keep in mind that a refurbished technology provider will offer these amenities for you. Network Craze, for instance, offers a maintenance program called ProCare which provides guaranteed two hour, four hour and next business day hardware replacement services. Network Craze also offers a full lifetime warranty for all of its products, in addition to tech support, multi-vendor support and more. And it costs about half of the price that most original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance packages.

As you can see, the lifespan of your technology can go on long after it’s declared to be EoL by a vendor. So when you receive an EoL notification, avoid rushing into an unnecessary upgrade without first assessing the situation and deciding whether it’s absolutely necessary. Remember also that purchasing new equipment means having to train employees on how to use it; and there’s no guarantee that a new solution will perform any better than the equipment you already have.

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