OEM vs. Third Party EMC VMAX Support—a Comparison

EMC Maintenance

Drew Teller November 14, 2014

If you’re using the OEM version of EMC VMAX support, it’s vital to become informed about the excess baggage that comes with this relationship. From cost to quality, there are consequences of sticking with the OEM for post-warranty support. And there are opportunities to experience out-of-this-world EMC VMAX maintenance from a third party provider.

The Downsides of EMC VMAX Support

In any partnership, there can be unforeseen complications. For example, after retiring the space shuttle, the U.S. looked to Russia to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station. With issues in the Ukraine, such reliance is now undesirable—thus the recent multi-billion dollar “space taxi” contract to Boeing and SpaceX to take over.

EMC VMAX support customers frequently experience this progression, too. What started out as a pretty good thing later turns into something else. IT professionals are often spurred to shop the contract around by EMC’s:

  • Significantly higher costs. EMC’s VMAX maintenance is priced 30% to 70% higher than the third party maintenance competition. For many, there comes a day when paying this premium is no longer worth it.
  • Impersonal, bureaucratic service. EMC is a manufacturing behemoth. Support is a small part of their business, and it shows. Escalation procedures, limited response, and other factors often disappoint customers and cause them to look elsewhere.
  • Lack of long-term commitment. With the launch of VMAX3, the graffiti is on the wall for the first two VMAX iterations—end-of-life and end-of-support-life are coming. Systems support professionals who foresee using existing VMAX products for years should seek out a maintenance provider willing to service the equipment for just as long.
  • Biased input that can compel premature hardware upgrades. EMC wants to sell hardware. If a data center is experiencing a problem, why not, then, claim the newest system is the best solution? Don’t be fooled when EMC VMAX support calls transform into VMAX3 sales pitches.
  • Degrading service quality over time. As corporate attention shifts to the VMAX3, support for VMAX and VMAX2 equipment will steadily fall off—but the price will not. Delaying the move to third party maintenance means tolerating the same high costs but getting less each year for the money. Where’s the sense in that?

Partnership Should Have Its Privileges

IT shops with VMAX and VMAX2 storage systems have the opportunity to dissolve the EMC support partnership and find something better. They should certainly seek out savings. But as lower costs are nearly ubiquitous among alternative EMC VMAX maintenance providers, it’s important to demand more:

  • Comprehensive support. This should include remote monitoring, telephone and online support, on-site assistance, certified spare parts, etc. Never sign with a support partner that doesn’t incorporate these basic features.
  • Personal service. Why change from one bureaucracy to another when you can have a highly trained, local engineer assigned to your account? With Park Place, we begin each partnership with a full, on-site systems analysis and check in with customers at least quarterly to review trouble calls. When problems arise, the engineer who arrives on site already knows you and your systems.
  • EMC-or-better expertise. It’s vital that the tough problems don’t throw your support provider for a loopedy-loop. Top-quality third party maintenance companies retain commensurate talent. At Park Place we don’t bother investing in entry- and mid-level personnel. We devote our resources to Level 3 engineers. Did we mention, you get immediate access to them with no escalation procedure, ever?

The best decision for EMC VMAX support will, of course, be individual. By making a list of priorities and lining them up against the offerings of reputable third party maintenance companies, you can find precisely what you’re seeking.

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.