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Image: What is Software Service Life and Why Should You Care?

How many applications are in your enterprise? Which of these applications are still supported by the vendor, and which are no longer supported? More importantly, are you paying maintenance for every application, even those that are “end of life?”

Understanding your software’s “Service Life,” the product’s total release lifecycle is an important part of your Software Asset Management program. Service Life policies vary considerably by vendor and product. Many software vendors reduce support over a period of time with several intermediate steps – such as limited and extended support – before reaching End of Life status. For example, here is a typical software release lifecycle that illustrates the Service Life of a software product:

For all software that has passed its final support date as represented in the End of Life “red zone,” the software vendors:

  • No longer consider enhancements or upgrades
  • Do not provide security or functional patches
  • No longer provide technical support

So why should you care?

Using unsupported software exposes your company to significant risks and challenges:

  • Unsupported applications pose a security risk since they are no longer being patched
  • End of Life applications can be costly as organizations may be paying maintenance for software that is no longer being upgraded or supported by the vendor
  • Older versions may not have an upgrade path for improvements and bug fixes
  • Software that is no longer supported may cause compatibility issues that inhibit migration to newer operating systems and platforms