Take a new look at how you support your data center

Third-party maintenance providers can often cut costs in half while still offering the kind of trustworthy performance that IT managers require

IT managers may perceive OEM warranty plans to be the standard for maintenance. But IT leaders must rethink strategies as requirements are changing across many business verticals. It is time to take a new look at alternate support options, like third-party hardware maintenance, to maximize financial resources and gain access to key supplementary services.

Replacing your gear? Not so fast …

Companies with lots of money and considerable performance requirements endeavor to keep state-of-the-art storage arrays, servers and network systems in their data centers. An IT manager in this type of company may often purchase new systems, use them until the initial warranty runs out and replace them immediately with new options. But few organizations can sustain this kind of hardware refresh method as fiscal resources become more limited in many sectors. More IT managers are being forced to consider alternative hardware refresh cycles.

For most IT managers, making hardware upgrades with frequency is not a reasonable option. Instead, storage systems, servers and network infrastructure must be used after the initial warranty has expired. An extended warranty with the OEM can be an expensive process. Third-party maintenance providers can often cut costs in half while still offering the kind of trustworthy performance that IT managers require. In many cases, this is the best time to move to a dedicated support plan. Waiting until the end-of-service-life announcement can lead to a few years of spending heavily on OEM support services that may rarely be used because the hardware is still in good condition.

One of the major advantages of a third-party maintenance plan is that an EOSL date means nothing to the provider. Third-party maintenance providers can continue offering support for systems well beyond the EOSL date, meaning that a system that should, from a technological perspective, be useful for 10 years, can actually be used by organizations for 10 years.

In some cases, a company will choose to use hardware through the initial warranty and with an extended OEM warranty, only to end up replacing a fully-functional, and possibly business-critical machine, because of a fairly arbitrary EOSL announcement. It is important to realize that the EOSL date does not, in any way, indicate that a piece of hardware is no longer relevant. Instead, it is a sign that the OEM no longer benefits from offering support and wants to focus on newer hardware.

While switching to a third-party maintenance and operating system support plan is possible past the EOSL date, there are often benefits, besides cost, for using the service in the place of an extended warranty.

Be prepared, before EOSL looms

Legacy hardware that still plays a key role in enterprise operations can be a double-edged sword. On one side, it can meet performance demands while providing incredible fiscal savings compared to a premature refresh. On the other, it can be more difficult to manage, upgrade and maintain because it depends on legacy parts. Working with a third-party provider deals with this second edge of the sword through a combination of data migration, hardware transportation and operating system support services. As a result, it is often best to turn to third-party maintenance services well before the EOSL date.