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Tips for Extending the Life of Your Network

If your network is like typical networks, it is multi-generational, containing a mix of bleeding-edge equipment with some current- and previous-generation. Some of your network may have even reached its end of life, even though it’s working fine in your network.

While you think you only have two options—to either upgrade as per the OEM’s directive or risk having no support—we’re happy to let you know that there are cost-effective options beyond these. We’ve put together tips to show you how you can extend the life of your network while saving money.


1. Stay ahead of the end-of-support game.
Your network may be running smoothly until one day, the OEM throws a curveball by announcing that your bread-and-butter switches are quickly approaching their end-of-support (EoS) date. The best way to keep your bases covered in this scenario? Stay up-to-date with what’s coming.

An EoS announcement could be alarming if you don’t know your support and upgrading options—after all, maintaining your company’s network uptime is on your shoulders. With that said, don’t garner publicity with downtime. Let us help you stay ahead of the curve by end-of-support dates, updated as frequently as the announcements come. Is your equipment reaching its end-of-support date?

2. Don’t upgrade if you don’t have to.
You have equipment approaching end-of-support, but you’re pretty happy with your network configurations and so is your company. And you already know full well that not only is upgrading a significant investment, but you’d also have to learn and train your team on the new functionalities and set up your network all over again. So do you really have to go through the pain of upgrading?

The truth is, manufacturers often announce end-of-support long before equipment upgrade or replacement is necessary. Forrester Consulting has reiterated this point, saying that “network equipment has considerably longer useful life, often longer than the OEM is willing to support the product” in a study conducted on behalf of Curvature. The OEM may not tell you this good news, but you do have options beyond upgrading. Learn more here, and then keep reading below.

3. Leverage a maintenance alternative and extend the life of your equipment.
You may be thinking, “If I don’t upgrade, then how will I get software updates without OEM support?” To answer this question simply: If Cisco issues software updates, many of them would be publicly available at no cost off Cisco’s website and often wouldn’t require SMARTnet. If Cisco doesn’t issue software updates, then you likely won’t need a SMARTnet contract anyway.

Much of the market tied to SMARTnet contracts still believe that it’s required to get software updates and bug patches, so they renew their SMARTnet contracts each year and end up paying a premium on network maintenance. Don’t just take our word for it — Forrester Consulting backs this up in a recent study on your peers: “Maintenance agreements with OEMs are costly and do not always provide maintenance and upgrades for the hardware that customers are running. [..] Customers pay a lot of money for service they never use.”

If they had known that SMARTnet is not required to get software updates for certain hardware, or that Cisco does not issue additional updates for certain equipment, they could cut their maintenance costs significantly. With all this said, it is only rational to leverage third-party maintenance services like NetSure, Curvature’s third-party maintenance service, perfect for equipment where IOS updates are publically available or are no longer in development. A few examples include the Cisco Catalyst 4500, 4500E, 3850, 3750, 3750 v2, 3750-E, 3750-X, 3560, 3560 v2, 3560-C, 3560-E, 3560-X, 2960, 2960-C, and 2960-S Series Switches. For typical networks, about 70% of equipment will fall into this category where NetSure is a great fit. Learn more.

4. Turn used networking equipment into cash.
Customers with leased or aging hardware have the most to gain from a program that allows you to trade in equipment for cash. The pieces of equipment that are sold will create a revenue stream that otherwise would be a recycling cost. Why not monetize hardware that is of little use to you? An added benefit: You’re doing Mother Nature a favor by doing your part in reducing e-waste. Learn more.

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