EMC Clariion CX4 Maintenance Alternative to Upgrading

EMC Maintenance


Drew Teller March 26, 2015

A heads up to EMC Clariion CX4 maintenance customers. With end of service life (EOSL) just around the corner (December 31, 2016), HP is attacking EMC’s CX4 head-on with the introduction of HP 3PAR Online Import.

Storage Review says the software “now allows customers to easily migrate data from EMC VNX and EMC CLARiiON CX4 systems to any HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000-Series, 10000-Series or all-flash 7450 array. This user-directed migration utility allows upgrades…without the need of host resources, specialized host software, or additional hardware appliances.”

Lowering the data migration bar to upgrading this last-man-standing Clariion system may be tempting. But does the HP announcement make an investment in 3PAR storage a necessity for 2015?

For some applications, the time has no doubt arrived to bring in newer technology. Yet in most of these cases the EMC CX4 will find another home in the data center or be repurposed to a remote office, lab, or disaster recovery facility. For applications that aren’t pushing the CX4’s performance or capacity envelope, there are viable alternatives to upgrade. Whether you have CX4-120, CX4-240, CX4-480, or CX4-960 models on hand, post-EOSL support is readily available from third party maintenance providers and can take your EMC CX4 product into 2017 and beyond.

Hardware Lifespan a Key Factor in ROI

It’s an obvious point, but one that’s worth highlighting whenever an EOSL date approaches: extending hardware life improves the ROI on equipment investments. The impact may surprise you. Every extra year of life gained for a piece of equipment returns $700 in added value per $1,000 in original purchase price. For the CX4, that amounts to a tidy sum.

EMC and other OEMs are not in the business of helping customers stretch their storage system investments in this manner. It’s completely understandable, as they are by definition manufacturers and thus focused on developing, marketing, and especially selling new hardware. Their admittedly high-margin support business is not a primary concern, so they routinely use it as a leverage point. By rescinding support for equipment that may still be serving the customer well, they attempt to pry loose capital funds for new products like the EMC VMAX and VNX.

We needn’t malign EMC for this practice. It makes sense for them to narrow the stable of hardware for which they must retain spares, organize engineering response, etc. Customers should simply be aware that an EOSL date is not the same as the expiration date on the milk in your fridge—beyond which you should most certainly beware. EOSL is set arbitrarily based on the OEM’s preference and can be safely heeded or ignored based on the customers’ needs.

A reputable third party maintenance provider can put you in the same position with reference to your CX4 as you have been with EMC—comfortable knowing you have full component coverage, certified spare parts and installation, telephone and online support, 24/7 remote monitoring, and everything else you need to keep the CX4 operating reliably and at peak performance. In fact, all of these features and more are available for 40% to 70% less than you’ve been paying EMC, so in addition to increasing hardware ROI with an extended lifespan, you’ll also be cutting the annual cost of ownership as well.

Additional Benefits to Consider

The financials are important, but there are other reasons that many data center managers select third party maintenance for a wide range of equipment, including new and post-warranty gear. It comes down to service.

IT professionals are becoming increasingly aware and appreciative of the more responsive and personalized version of IT support offered by third party maintenance providers. In the case of Park Place Technologies, for example, every EMC support contract includes:

  • Comprehensive coverage. Even EMC’s contracts can be stingy when it comes to Flare Code and configuration assistance, being more targeted to component failures. Park Place’s approach is different. We offer clients complete hardware, software, and firmware assistance for all products we support, along with all the other basics associated with quality IT maintenance contracts.
  • No escalation procedure to speak with a Level 3 engineer. Because all of our support lines are staffed exclusively by Level 3 personnel, there is no wait to get to someone who can initiate troubleshooting and repair.
  • A highly trained, EMC-experienced, Level 3 engineer assigned to the account. When on-site assistance is required, an Park Place client works with the same engineer every time. This individual learns about the environment and covered systems in an up-front systems analysis and checks in regularly, so when an acute problem emerges, the relationship and background knowledge is already established, speeding solution implementation.
  • Additional engineering time allocated for non-break/fix issues. Why pay for a support contract that only serves as insurance against the worst when you can bring in a support partner that adds value year after year. Park Place incorporates features like regular review of trouble calls to facilitate environment-enhancement strategies, as well as extra engineering time to help you address issues that don’t fall into the usual break/fix box.

Taken together, these features alone are worth the effort required to switch from EMC maintenance. And with the OEM’s commitment to the Clariion line dwindling every day, the sooner you do so, the happier you will be with your EMC CX4 support experience.

Of course, there’s a lot more at stake. Make sure you consider all of the factors when determining the future for your EMC CX4 product(s).

About the Author

Drew Teller, Channel Marketing Manager
Drew Teller is focused on finding the latest end of life information. Drew's interests lie in supporting IT professionals with their end of life equipment.