Now that we have released Network Configuration Manager v7.2 (NCM), it is a good time to take a look at one of its most awaited features: End-of-Life / End-of-Support (EoL/EoS) information management. The purpose of this post is to set expectations on what this feature is/isn't and to provide a few tips for using it in the most efficient way.

 

As I outlined in my previous posts on this topic,

you may try to solve the EoL/EoS problem in different ways ranging from a do-it-yourself, spreadsheet-based approach (cheapest but most difficult) to an automated third-party service (fastest but most expensive and may require access to vendor-specific service APIs like e.g. Cisco CDS opened only to Cisco partners).

 

This new NCM feature, which we have just delivered, enables you to manage the EoL/EoS dates in a much more convenient way than a spreadsheet, because it is connected with other information about the devices that NCM stores.

 

How is This Feature Going to Help?

  • We provide suggestions for Cisco and Juniper devices out of the box. (For other vendors, you can enter your own information.)
  • You do not have to track the end-of-life information in a spreadsheet.
  • You can group, sort, and filter your devices according to node details and custom properties.
  • Once end-of-life data is entered, you can generate a highly customized report. (See the second blog post.)

 

What is the EoL/EoS Feature NOT?

  • A fully automated solution that will report all the end-of-life information automatically.
  • A complete multi-vendor database of different devices and extension cards. Today, this NCM feature handles devices only; not cards and modules, yet.

 

Typical Workflow

  1. Notice the "End of Support" view under the Configs tab. (Note that this feature is only available in the Web console and not in the Win32 client.)
  2. Select the devices you want to define end-of-life information for.
    You can do it in many different ways using e.g. the Group By drop-down box on the left side and/or filtering on column values in the main group. Most probably you will want to define the same EoL/EoS information for a group of devices of the same properties -- e.g. machine type, firmware version etc. You can see the applied filter(s) in the top left corner.

    NCM EOL Summary Page
  3. Select the resulting devices and click on "Assign Dates".

    NCM EOL Summary Assign Dates
  4. Inspect the suggestions and either
    • select one of the suggested pieces of EoL information,
      (We provide external links to vendor pages that help you choose the correct item. You can also enter a comment that will be displayed in the resulting report.)

      NCM EOL Assign Page
    • or, if our database does not provide any suggestions, enter your own data.
      (In addition to the dates and comments, it is advisable to insert link to the source of the information.)

      NCM EOL Summary Assign Page Custom Dates
  5. Click on "Assign".
  6. If interested, create a report. You can filter the columns as you need and also export the result as spreadsheet.

    NCM EOL Report

Vendor Information

If our database does not provide suggestions to choose from, you can look up the end-of-life information yourself. An alternative to search engines are vendor pages. Here are a few of them:

 

We would also like to encourage you to post your EoL/EoS data item on thwack here: http://thwack.solarwinds.com/thread/58861.

Ideally in the following format:

Device Type, System description, end-of-sale date, end-of-support date, Vendor EOL statement URL

 

NCM 7.2 is now available for all customers on active maintenance in the customer portal.  Please check out EoL/EoS and let us know what you think.

 

As a bonus, you can watch this video about EoL/EoS: