Five problems with using end of life (EOL) hardware in the data centre

When vendors announce end-of-life (EOL) status for servers, routers, and console managers that are part of data centre infrastructure, IT administrators and network architects must re-evaluate their ecosystem of equipment.

This ensures that mission-critical systems can continue to run optimally. Additionally, maintaining the highest levels of infrastructure availability in today’s digital economy isn’t just good policy – it’s expected.

Businesses that rely on antiquated hardware can end up creating multiple points of failure in their system architecture. Doing so also places the health and security of all connected equipment in significant danger. These perforations in enterprise networks can compromise productivity and an organisation’s ability to serve both its internal and external customers, says Shahram Mehraban, vice president of Marketing at Lantronix.

While each manufacturer defines its level of engagement during a product’s phase-out process, it’s important for IT administrators to enact a replacement plan to avoid the following five problems that could arise from the continued use of end-of-life (EOL) equipment in their data centres:

1. Compromised data security

After a manufacturer announces the end-of-life status of a product, it’s likely that security fixes, patches, and firmware updates for the product will be reduced or eliminated. These lapses in support create significant enterprise security risks and leave a company’s network open to malicious cyber-attacks.

2. Decreased productivity

Using outdated equipment can significantly reduce productivity. First, older equipment is more likely to fail due to its age, disrupting operations. This may result in crippling and costly downtime. Second, identifying a suitable replacement takes time and will inevitably impact MTTR.

3. Higher maintenance costs

In many cases, when a product’s status is EOL, replacement parts are also discontinued. This means that replacement parts or accessories often become increasingly challenging and expensive to find with the passage of time. Sometimes businesses hire third-party consultants and support teams that create “band-aid” solutions for more complex issues. This too can further make using an EOL solution more expensive in the long-run than upgrading to newer equipment.

4. Problems with scalability

EOL equipment often is limited in its ability to adapt to changing needs in the data centre. IT professionals should make use of newer and more advanced equipment as the volume and complexity of data centre operations increase. This will allow them to leverage technological improvements in areas like data processing, energy consumption, and modularity.

Shahram Mehraban

5. Non-compliance

For IT infrastructure to remain compliant with regulatory standards, equipment must meet the required levels of protection and functionality espoused by each organisation. This is particularly important for data centres operating in government and financial institutions where data breaches can result in severe legal consequences and penalties.

The bottom line

Using EOL technology in data centres isn’t just problematic – it’s reckless. IT professionals responsible for maintaining uptime and health of the enterprise network need to be aware of the many risks associated with the use of dated equipment. They should proactively plan for the migration from EOL equipment to updated solutions.

The author of this blog is Shahram Mehraban, vice president of Marketing at Lantronix

About the author:

Shahram Mehraban is the vice president of Marketing at Lantronix Inc., a global provider of secure data access and management solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) assets. Prior to joining Lantronix, Mr. Mehraban served as marketing director and chief of staff of the industrial and energy solutions division of Intel’s IoT Group.

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