What Does the Cisco Lifecycle Mean?

Explaining Cisco's Lifecycle

There is a reason Cisco is such a dominant name in the world of networking. The company doesn’t just lead the world in device innovation; Cisco has largely invented many aspects of networking altogether.

For many networks, Cisco equipment is non-negotiable. But, if you are heavily invested in Cisco products, then it is important to understand how they go out of service. Every device has a lifecycle, and Cisco publishes lifecycles so that network engineers and admins can stay ahead of developmental changes to any specific model.

For the most part, the Cisco lifecycle is simple. Buy a product you want, and support is available. Eventually, every product reaches the end of its lifecycle, and that is important to understand. Cisco has a lot of terminology attached to the end of life for any product, but there are five specific dates that can help you plan around obsolescence and ensure that your hardware remains in support.

End of Life (EoL)

Typically, the lifecycle of a Cisco product is defined with an EoL announcement. This sets a formal date when the product will no longer be available for distribution. This does mean that the product will no longer be on sale, but it also means that alternative means of distribution will also stop.

In short, Cisco will not be making the product anymore as of the EoL date. It represents when you can no longer acquire a certain product. Despite the name and connotation, this date does not necessarily reflect the end of the life of products you already possess and/or use. It is simply when production and distribution stop.

End of Sale (EoS)

The end-of-sale date is usually announced at the same time as the EoL date. It makes sense. If Cisco is no longer going to distribute a product, that will include sales. That said, the EoS date does not always match the EoL date exactly.

For many network administrators, the EoS date can prove more important than the EoL date. That is because the EoS date is when you can no longer get additional items of the same model. It changes how you might expand or maintain your network moving forward.

End of New Service Attachment (EoNSA)

Once a product is out of distribution, it’s only a matter of time before Cisco stops supporting that model. Despite that, the end of life is actually nowhere near the end of support.

The EoNSA date informs you as to when you can no longer add a new service contract to a product. This does not represent the end of support for the product. It’s merely your last chance to attach a new service agreement to a product that does not already have such a contract associated with it.

If you are worried about end-of-life support, this is an important date.

End of Service Contract Renewal (EoSCR)

For any product that does have a service contract, The EoSCR date usually comes well after the EoNSA date. In other words, if you already have a contract on a product, you can typically renew it even after the date for new service attachments comes and goes.

Because of this, you can expect Cisco to continue support for your product, in this manner, well after distribution has ended. That said, when the EoNSA date comes and goes, even service contract renewals are on a clock, and this is the date that informs you as to when your service will ultimately end completely.

Last Date of Support (LDoS)

This is the final line. After the LDoS date, Cisco will no longer offer any support for the product. You can expect this date to come after the end of your last service contract, but if the dates do conflict, it’s imperative to contact Cisco and discuss that conflict.

Another term for this date is the date of obsolescence. As of the LDoS, Cisco is formally deeming a product obsolete. If you are still using such a device, you are entirely on your own for supporting and maintaining it. This is the true, final end of the Cisco lifecycle.

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