For most NetApp support customers, the data center is a complex environment with many pieces in play. If the midrange NetApp FAS3240 is among them, the announcement of end of hardware support coming Dec 31, 2018 may have you considering your long-term strategy as it relates to this storage system.
Which of these approaches will you choose for your NetApp FAS3240?
Option 1: Go with the NetApp flow.
The first concern among IT professionals will be the “do or die date” in 2018. NetApp would like customers to determine an upgrade pathway and execute the changeover by then. Doing so is an option, one that keeps the data center manager in the OEM comfort zone.
Kowtowing to the NetApp product refresh and end-of-life cycles does, however, have consequences. You’ll gain a warranty for whatever new storage array(s) you select, but such coverage will come with a significant capital expenditure. If the NetApp FAS3240 is still fulfilling its current mission come 2018—or could repurposed to a lab, remote office, or backup environment—sending it to reclamation means losing out on the added value the system could have delivered. It’s not the wisest use of resources.
Option 2: Extend hardware life beyond EOSL.
A third party maintenance provider can deliver continued, high-level support for the FAS3240 for years after NetApp says goodbye. Some data center managers will opt to keep NetApp support until 2018. Then, upon EOSL, they’ll engage an alternative provider to step in where NetApp leaves off.
This choice has the advantage of squeezing more life out of the NetApp FAS3240. It will also put off the risk of downtime and the resource demands, such as staff time and retraining, that accompany any hardware swap.
This approach does have a downside—three more years of NetApp support.
Option 3: Start saving immediately.
Although we understand why many data center managers take the “wait and see” approach—sticking with NetApp until EOSL and then determining what to do—the lack of immediate action comes at a price. Specifically, 40% to 70% more in annual support costs.
And that’s just the beginning. Because NetApp support, known for rigidity and bureaucracy, will deliver less value over time. There will be few if any updates for the FAS3240, and you’ll be stuck with less than timely, less than energetic NetApp support.
On the other hand, an immediate switch to a viable third party maintenance provider will result not only in savings, but also enhanced service quality. In the case of Park Place, you’ll gain an engineer assigned to the account, immediate no-escalation access to Level 3 support, and numerous other features not offered by NetApp. And you’ll still pay about half of what you’re paying NetApp today.