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An end-of-life (EOL) product is a product that does not receive continuing support, either because existing marketing, support and other processes are terminated, or it is at the end of its useful life.
The concept of an EOL product has been around for a while. Generally, EOL symbolizes the last stage of a product’s life cycle, starting with design, development and eventual release and use.
The rapid emergence of technology and other factors have led to bigger issues surrounding EOL products, which means manufacturers and vendors must anticipate the consequences of designating an EOL product. Some of the key issues involve disposal. For hardware devices, this means physically disposing old devices and installing newer versions. For software systems, it means "weaning" legacy systems or migrating applications to newer platforms in order to discard or change old systems.
An excellent example is the migration of users through various Microsoft Windows operating systems (OS). Eventually, an established OS reaches a point when it is longer be supported by Microsoft. This example makes EOL challenges very evident to users that relied on certain Windows versions to support all sorts of processes, including security protocols, municipal or government agency programs, business processes and individual PC systems. To accommodate an EOL scenario, all of this must change.
To help deal with the challenges of EOL products, businesses write detailed EOL support policies that help users understand what happens after a product reaches the end of its life. These policies can spell out the types and timelines of available user support and provide advice on the best ways to migrate systems, avoid loss and mitigate vulnerability due to EOL situations and loss of support.