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End of Life (EOL) vs. End of Service/Support Life (EOSL): An Inside Look Into the Key Differences


No one wants to find themselves in a situation where the manufacturer for a vital piece of company software alerts them that they won’t receive any more support or updates. It could seem that you have to purchase the latest products from that manufacturer or just struggle with older, outdated machinery. 

Luckily, if you understand the nuances between two critical terms, you’ll know that these aren’t the only options you have. For example, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) uses the terms End of Support (EOS) and End of Service Life (EOL/EOSL) when they have a new piece of equipment to promote. Therefore, understanding the differences between the two is critical. 

What is EOL?

EOL means what you might infer from it: that your product has reached the end of life. That means the manufacturer no longer intends to produce that equipment, probably because a newer version or a different product altogether is emerging. So instead of spending money on old models, the manufacturers cease production and focus their funds and efforts on more contemporary developments. 

For example, a CentOS 6 EOL announcement came in November 2020, but some services allow you to receive support for this operating system through November 2024. This plan for migration lets businesses operate at a pace that works for them.

That doesn’t mean that your OEM won’t still provide post-warranty support and maintenance, but you likely won’t receive patches or updates after the EOL. However, there are certain services available that you can use to extend the life support services with vendor-grade maintenance. 

What is EOSL?

EOS or EOSL indicates the last phase of your equipment. This term means that the manufacturer intends to eliminate your operating system from existence. 

It’s more than the company just not selling it. The manufacturer will no longer perform any maintenance services for that hardware, which effectively renders the product unusable.

At that junction, you can choose to solicit the help of a third-party provider to assist you, but the OEM won’t be responsible for the equipment any longer. 

Main differences between EOL and EOSL

EOL is a marketing strategy implemented for individuals to continue buying products due to an assumed need created by OEM. However, if this tactic fails to convince you to upgrade the product to the new one, your OEM will introduce an end of support or End of Service Life (EOSL). 

Consequently, these tactics will force you to buy their latest product at their preferred scheduled marketing time.

Comprehensively understanding the intricacies of these cycles is key to understanding the lifecycle of the products you choose to buy. In addition, it will give you a leg up on making cost-effective and intelligent choices.

Primary differences

The main difference between EOSL and EOL products is service offerings. Although the OEM still supports EOL products, EOSL products are not supported anymore. Therefore, your only recourse would be to use TPM or go through another service provider to receive any form of help since OEM has stopped EOSL products altogether.

Besides maintenance, the terms “End of Service Life” and “End of Life” are very close in meaning. Both communicate that the OEM will eliminate ties with the product and is now reducing or completely removing support.

Before you go

Understanding the fundamental difference between these two phases can save you money and extend the lifespan of your hardware. Once the product has entered the EOL phase, the firmware is now very stable, and the manufacturer of the product has likely stopped releasing new updates.

Remember that security patches are typically available to the public no matter who provides the support services. At this point, removing the OEM from the equation will save you a significant amount of money.

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