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Cisco end-of-life

What does it mean end-of-life for a product in Cisco term. The reason I ask is because I am looking at the the Catalyst Express 500 and it said that end-of-software maintenance is Dec2010, end-of-support is Jun2009, and end-of-life is Dec2014.
What happens between Dec2010 and Dec 2014?
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biggynet
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biggynet
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Garry GlendownConsulting and Network/Security SpecialistCommented:
Cisco stages the end of a product in several steps ... it starts with end of sale, at which point the product is no longer sold officially (apart from maybe stock pieces). You are still able to get new software maintenance on the products, as well as updates, replacements etc.
At some point, only existing contracts can be extended, but no new contracts bought anymore. Yet again later, only security fixes may be integrated into the software,, and shortly after, no further support or updates are made available.
Usually, if you search the Cisco site for EOL of a product you will receive the complete list of dates
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Garry GlendownConsulting and Network/Security SpecialistCommented:
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biggynetAuthor Commented:
So end-of-life is when the product is obsolete. Between Dec2010 and Dec2014, Cisco still provide supports but only for extended contract and without bug fixes. Correct?
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Garry GlendownConsulting and Network/Security SpecialistCommented:
Correct, as of Mar 17 2010, Cisco stopped doing any maintenance on the software itself, so any bugs remaining in the software are more or less "features" for the remained of its lifetime ...

In general, it's advisable not to purchase any devices that have an EOL date announced for business environments ... in most cases, followup-products have already been on the market long enough to be considered stable (both from hard- and software POV), and usually at a similar price point ... OTOH, for non mission-critical use, getting EOS/EOL devices may be  good way to save money, as they are usually well engineered, proven pieces of hardware that will operate well beyond their official "lifetime" ... just make sure you know you're more or less on your own if anything goes wrong ...
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