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5 minute read3 Things the OEM Doesn’t Want You to Know About Third-Party Maintenance

Switching off OEM support for your EMC or NetApp storage hardware can be a nerve-wracking process. This can become more difficult if you are used to working with the manufacturer of the equipment within your data center. Yet, switching to third-party maintenance doesn’t need to be a risky process, even if the OEM may make it seem that way.

You need to be aware of the reasons the OEM may provide about why they provide “better” support. Then you can see how they try to justify the cost differential between their support and that from a third-party maintenance provider and make an educated purchasing decision.

Reason 1:

OEM: “Third-party maintenance vendors don’t have access to the necessary OS and firmware updates you need.”

The OEM will bring up the concern about having access to critical OS and firmware patches for their storage equipment. In reality, once your hardware is EOL, critical OS or firmware patches are extremely rare. That equipment’s OS and firmware will be pretty stable three or four years into its lifecycle.

So, third-party maintenance providers can support the equipment. The OEM may also say that you need to upgrade your equipment rather than getting end-of-life maintenance.  But, upgrading will increase the likelihood for a critical firmware and OS patch.

So, supporting your EOL hardware through a third-party maintenance provider is a cost-effective alternative to upgrading your equipment. You don’t need to feel pressured into upgrading because of the risk of not having access to OS and firmware patches.

Reason 2:

OEM: “You won’t be able to find the necessary parts to maintain your legacy equipment, so you should go ahead and upgrade the hardware now.”

In the world of third-party maintenance, the term “End-of-Life” doesn’t exist (especially not in the way the OEM suggests it does). When a system goes EOL, it doesn’t mean that the replacement parts for the equipment such as disk drives or disk shelves or disk array enclosures fall off the face of the earth and cease to exist.

In fact, third-party maintenance providers have access to this EOL equipment and continue to provide support and replacement parts for legacy equipment years after the OEM has declared it end-of-life.

The OEM may say that supporting legacy equipment is more expensive than shelling out the cash to upgrade to the latest generation of product, but legacy equipment support is going to be less expensive through a third-party maintenance provider (usually 30-80% off the OEM support costs).

In fact, once the OEM makes an EOL announcement, the demand for those parts goes down drastically. Then, third-party support vendors can get these parts at a lower price point and pass those savings onto you. Don’t let the fear of not being able to access parts for EOL equipment stop you from making the switch to third-party support.

Reason 3:

OEM: “You can’t trust a third-party maintenance vendor to provide the same level of support on this equipment as we can. We’re the experts on this hardware and another provider won’t have the same knowledge level we do.”

Yes, the OEM is an expert in their equipment – as they should be. Yet, that doesn’t mean they are the only experts on that equipment – or the rest of the equipment within your data center for that matter. A maintenance provider should be able to understand the issues on all your equipment that affect your team on a daily basis.

Training on just one brand of equipment, limits OEM engineer expertise to that particular brand. Engineers for most third-party maintenance vendors train on and have certifications for more than one brand of OEM equipment.

So, independent support vendors provide comprehensive maintenance for the equipment in your data center. This broad expertise becomes more valuable as the number of equipment brands in your data center goes up. Having one point of contact with the same (or better) level of training and expertise on your equipment saves you time and money.

Now what?

The OEM will try to persuade you to stick with their support for EOL equipment – even at a great price differential from that of an independent support provider. But, you need to ask questions and not take everything they say at face value. Know that you have viable options to support your IT hardware equipment outside of the OEM.

Reliant Technology works with your team to develop a comprehensive maintenance plan that best meets your organization’s needs. With 5 levels of support available, ranging from 24x7x365 with 4-hour on-site response to next-business-day parts replacement, you have the flexibility to choose the right maintenance terms for your storage hardware.

For more information about Reliant Technology’s maintenance program, call one of our storage specialists at 1.877.227.0828.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.