There’s a very good chance you can move forward with the software you have. No upgrades or diminishing-value support contracts required.
When an IBM® software product goes End of Support (EOS), IBM no longer provides new fixes or security patches for unknown threats past the EOS date. Because IBM tends to release versions on predictable lifecycles and clear timelines, customers might assume an EOS notice creates the inherent requirement to upgrade to a new version.
But in most cases you can keep IBM software secure and fully operational years past the vendor-prescribed EOS date.
These aren’t fringe use cases. Right now, companies use EOS software to seamlessly power global workloads that sit at the center of their business models with strong support options from third-party software maintenance (TPSM) providers.
It’s all about the approach and the mindset you bring to the transaction. If you’re weighing options with EOS IBM software, here are some steps you can work through to clarify your position and strategy.
In most cases you can keep IBM software secure and fully operational years past the vendor-prescribed EOS date.
Have a transition plan and an expert to guide it
Sometimes it’s difficult to plan what changes you’ll make (if any) to your estate following a software component going EOS. For example, a merger with a company using software that will soon go EOS can cause significant strife in even the best-planned absorbing business.
And mergers aren’t the only way outside factors can kick off EOS troubles. Let’s say a global financial institution faces a pressing regulatory requirement to update the operating system on a server. Business-critical EOS IBM middleware has been running on this server without a software security issue or serious performance problem for many years, but the EOS software doesn’t support the operating system’s new version number, which means it’ll stop interfacing when the mandatory OS update occurs even if there are no significant apparent conflicts.
Because it’s on EOS status and the issue is a new one, the software itself will never receive a fix or update from IBM to bridge the gap. Even if the institution’s EOS software had worked flawlessly up to this point, this relatively small outside change has now forced an upgrade.
But with the right knowledge and software security measures in place, that same institution could make a few configuration changes or implement custom code over the top, which would meet regulatory requirements and keep the estate running seamlessly without the technical effort of a full upgrade.
Understand the difference between ’we can’t’ and ’you can’t’
Whether you’re planning long-term responses or dealing with a spot-up issue, your EOS software concerns might logically lead to a next-steps conversation with IBM.
When and if you hold that discussion, listen for the things IBM says it will and will not do under the terms of your current agreement. Generally, the options megavendors present you and the things you can do with outside IBM and HCL expertise are quite different.
Like most businesses, IBM isn’t exactly keen to provide products or services that run against its plans and revenue goals. Nor will it empower its agents to provide that sort of advice. Customer companies must approach their EOS IBM software with the exact same mindset.
In the financial institution example above, IBM might well tell the customer business that they will not provide a fix to make the EOS product compatible with the upgraded OS. When the customer hears “a fix isn’t coming,” they might assume no fix is coming at all. But in the end, it only means a fix isn’t coming from IBM.
That’s quite a bit different from “we don’t want to do it, but you most likely can with an invested level of outside help,” which is closer to a realistic appraisal.
Build better service into your long-term plan
A loss of contingency is a persistent and valid source of worry for enterprise technical teams, especially when dealing with less familiar points of infrastructure and unhelpful support models.
You don’t want to wake up one day to learn a business process dependent on EOS software you’re not an expert in is down, your reporting teams have no idea why, and the OEM agent is powerless to help you outside of a narrowly defined take on “support.”
It’s easy to see how such pressure could push an IT, ITAM, or procurement stakeholder into signing off on unnecessary purchases right out of the gate instead of exploring more beneficial reactions.
But losing vendor support doesn’t mean you’ve lost access to all support, or even that the vendor can supply the best type of support for your case.
Access to a reliable TPSM provider – whose support capabilities and objectives are built around providing outcomes, not leading you down a funnel – gives you a great deal of flexibility when implementing EOS IBM software into your long-term roadmap planning. Instead of strategizing from the assumption that a lack of help will eventually force you out of what you’re using, you can make decisions knowing an expert with direct experience in numerous areas is always a ticket away.
Whether you’re safeguarding against known problems or attempting to build a defense against unknowns, having that level of guidance even when the product is EOS makes it easier to build real contingency into the plan. Remember, service quality matters, and it can have a direct impact on the way your roadmap looks if you don’t know better options are available.
Losing vendor support doesn’t mean you’ve lost access to all support options, or even that the vendor can supply the best type of support for your case.
EOS software? Look out for number one
Disciplines like ITAM have become a fixture in the enterprise as more businesses look for ways to directly align supporting tech processes to business needs. With that level of added oversight now common, the tech world’s trend towards keeping EOS software in place will only continue to grow.
In sprawling, interconnected, age-diverse enterprise tech states, a thorough review of all available support options – not just prescriptive and often reductive OEM measures – is integral to success.
EOS software doesn’t have to mean a wrong turn for your roadmap, or even a significant change. An invested level of support with actual situational expertise can go a long way – when you know where to look.