OEM Warranty Cycles and What They Mean

Data Center Maintenance


Parker February 03, 2014

Getting hardware maintenance from the OEM is a common practice for IT managers, especially as new storage arrays, servers and network systems come with built-in warranties that offer support. However, hardware being covered by the OEM moves through three clear phases, and they provide a vastly different experience for businesses.

How Does an OEM Warranty Work?

Understanding these circumstances and how they impact your organization’s fiscal and operational situation can play a key part in maximizing the value of maintenance strategies.

The Initial Warranty Period

The warranty that comes with your hardware provides a nice honeymoon period where you get free support and having nothing to worry about. If a problem arises, just call the OEM, submit a support ticket and hope the manufacturer solves your problem without too much trouble. There are some possible problem areas here. For example, you could end up having a bad support experience with the OEM, whether it is because that manufacturer has poor service or you just end up with a support representative who is having a bad day. However, the warranty is built into your purchase and there really isn’t a good reason to search for anything else during this period.

The primary challenge facing IT managers during the initial warranty phase is tracking when various equipment types come off of warranty and making sure there isn’t any sort of gap in coverage, as such an incident can prove incredibly expensive.

The Extended Warranty Phase

If you get through the initial warranty and want to keep using the hardware, you need to look for an extended warranty solution. If you turn to the OEM, you’ll get the same service you got with the initial period, but you’ll end up paying heavily for this support. There are alternative options – third-party hardware maintenance providers offer service plans that are often 40 to 60 percent less expensive than the OEM. This is made possible because the dedicated maintenance vendor can focus all of its processes and operations around support, allowing them to develop cost-efficient functional methods without sacrificing quality.

The other advantage of a third-party plan is that it provides stability. If you were unhappy with your support from the OEM, you get the option to choose a vendor that you feel you can trust. Furthermore, you no longer have to worry about any merger and acquisition activities messing with your support plans because the hardware is no longer maintained by the OEM.

Leading Up to and After the EOSL Date

The end-of-service-life announcement is the first sign that an OEM will no longer support a piece of hardware. IT leaders need to begin coming up with contingency plans once an EOSL announcement has been made. At this point, there are two options – refresh hardware or turn to one of the many hardware or server support companies available. At this point, the OEM has found that it no longer makes economic or strategic sense to continue supporting hardware as the systems have reached an age where they are not prominently used and many customers have moved on.

This creates significant challenges, however, for IT managers who have specific hardware systems that meet their operational requirements perfectly. This is where a third-party maintenance plan can deliver incredible value, even for strict conditions such as third party government it hardware support. Such a service can continue maintaining that system indefinitely, allowing you to avoid an unnecessary and disruptive hardware refresh. As such, IT managers can maximize the value of their hardware and avoid waste in the data center.

IT managers can face challenges throughout many parts of the warranty life cycle, but choosing the right time to turn to third-party it hardware maintenance companies for support can ease these burdens and reduce costs.

About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant