When it comes to hiring a post-warranty service provider, you are typically given a few options, two of those being, third-party maintenance (TPM) and NetApp Support.

Also known as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance, NetApp Support is an in-house maintenance service. 

Third-party maintenance (TPM) is a great alternative to NetApp maintenance. With better service, more customizable options, and a lower price, it is no wonder TPM is more often chosen as a post-warranty service.

#1 What is TPM?

This first thing you should know regarding choosing between third-party maintenance (TPM) and NetApp support, is what exactly a TPM is.

Third Party Maintenance

Third-party maintenance (TPM) is hardware support for server, storage, and network equipment. Typically, third-party maintenance is a cheaper alternative to traditional Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) post-warranty support.

#2 Benefits of Support

There are many benefits to using a TPM provider. Knowing these benefits will definitely be a deciding factor when picking between a TPM and NetApp.

When working with a TPM, not only do you get well-trained product specialists to work on your equipment, but you also get to save money in many areas. 

Typically your OEM will declare products end-of-life (EOL) or end-of-service-life (EOSL), and attempt to get you to purchase brand new equipment. This is almost always unnecessary and ends up costing you a lot more money in the long run. This means using a TPM is almost always extremely cheaper than upgrading your equipment. This saves you money, hassle, and time. 

There are also premium TPM providers in the storage support market that deliver better service levels than NetApp maintenance but without NetApp’s extravagant price. One of these companies is Reliant, offering exceptional service at a fair price.

#3 Price of TPM

As mentioned before, using TPM versus NetApp or OEM post-warranty service will save you huge amounts of money. On average, you will save 50% less than the OEM contract equivalent when TPM. This allows you to make substantial savings, often with better service quality. 

Hence, why price of TPM is our #3 things you should know. It is far cheaper than any OEM provider (including NetApp), and offers higher quality service.

#4 Downfalls of Post Warranty Support

There are a few downfalls of TPM, but these mainly pertain to TPM providers looking to cut corners. 

Sometimes an engineer on your service team may feel fine to take over the maintenance. Although this definitely saves the company money, this isn’t necessarily fair for you as the consumer.  Although the engineer may do a great job, it is not what you were originally paying for.

This is something to consider, but should not be a deal breaker. It simply means you should choose your TPM provider with care.

#5 What is NetApp Support

NetApp

Understanding NetApp is important in your decision as well. NetApp provides products and technical support resources through its NetApp Support. NetApp Support is a maintenance plan provided by the company NetApp. It is essentially an original manufacturer (OEM) maintenance service. 

#6 Benefits of NetApp Support

There are a few benefits to NetApp Support:

  • NetApp manufactures the equipment you are using, they know how to properly work on it. 
  • Improve business results by using the experts to deliver a “Data Fabric” strategy.
  • Receive guidance and expertise.

#7 Price of NetApp Support

Typically, you should plan to pay around 20% of the original purchase price of your NetApp equipment. You should also be aware that it will most likely increase each year.

This generally makes NetApp support around 50% more expensive than a TPM.

#8 Downfalls of NetApp Support

  • NetApp Support may try to convince you to buy new equipment rather than use your products past EOL and EOSL dates.
  • There are levels to NetApp support. You must pay more in order to have priority.
  • Only able to work on NetApp equipment.
  • May not serve your EOSL equipment. 
  • Much more expensive than TPM.

#9 When you’ll need to make this decision

There is one specific time when you might feel it is time to decide between NetApp support and a TPM provider…when your storage arrays approach end of service life (EOSL). This is important to be aware of, so you will not be surprised and rush into a decision without properly thinking it through.

When your equipment approaches EOSL, you have to decide if you are going to upgrade, as the OEM says, or if you want to retain your arrays. Most of the time there is a lot of life left inside of your equipment. This is where a TPM provider can help you to use your equipment until they no longer meet performance requirements

Who will manage your arrays if you decide to keep them?

Alternatively, the next decision that needs to be made, is if you keep your arrays, who will manage them? Typically you will need engineers that know what they are doing. This means you could have in house engineers, or you can hire a post-warranty specialist.

#10 Third-Party vs In-house

Pulling engineers off other projects to move your maintenance team in-house sounds like something that comes with a lot of downside. Although many people think that in-house maintenance is cheaper than third-party maintenance, this is usually not the case. 

You may at first see cost savings, but eventually, you will notice secondary costs increase. This leads to an overall reduction in savings, making TPM cheaper in the long run.

When using in-house maintenance, you may also have to hire additional engineers. This is because you may not have the necessary skills currently on your team. This leads to higher costs, and added employees that will stretch your budget.

TPM does not have these issues. When working with a third-party maintenance provider you know you are working with someone who knows how to work with your equipment. They are trained in older components, as this is their specialty, and they have access to reliable sources. Rather than stress about sourcing reliable replacements, you can rely on your TPM provider.

When you have officially decided to make your decision, you will most likely have understood why TPM is a better choice, and why so many companies are choosing to go with TPM over in-house maintenance.

#11 Which is Better?

Using a TPM provider is always better than sourcing from an OEM such as NetApp. Additionally, choosing Reliant as your TPM is always the best option, as they offer fast support and “always-on” monitoring. 

The most important thing to know regarding TPM vs. NetApp support is that TPM will never force you to upgrade your software. TPM provider Reliant helps to support your current or EOSL equipment. Using TPM from Reliant allows you to save money, and take control of your hardware purchases. 

Hands down, TPM from Reliant is always the better choice over NetApp Support.