TPM Myths – Remote support is illegal

A laptop with a 'forbidden' sign on its screen, connecting to countries all over the world.

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The average enterprise data farm is now so large that it is simply impractical to monitor each server and array manually. And for businesses operating globally distributed data centers, manual monitoring is physically impossible.

Most OEMs realized this many years ago, and developed their own suites of automated tools to collect diagnostic information from storage units remotely. In many cases these same tools provide remote support capabilities, allowing engineers to ‘dial in’ and troubleshoot and fix issues without ever having to visit the data center.

And while under an official maintenance and support agreement with the OEM, your business is free to use these tools to maintain uptime.

Once your contract ends however, the terms of the software end user license agreement state that continued use of the software is forbidden. This has led to the spread of another industry myth – that third party maintenance (TPM) providers could land you in court.

A myth with some truth

Like all the best myths, there is an element of truth in this one. If a third party maintenance provider is relying on your existing software to provide remote support they are acting illegally. So if a third party support service is relying on Solutions Enabler to connect to your EMC Symmetrix systems to provide remote maintenance for instance, you could be in breach of the software license.

And because many of the popular TPM services rely on exactly this scenario, signing a maintenance contract is a dangerous choice. But like everything else in life, not all TPM services are the same.

CDS mythbusters

Here at CDS we work closely with all of the major storage OEMs – EMC, NetApp, Hitachi, IBM etc – so we are well aware of the strict licensing terms by which our clients are bound. And unlike other TPM providers we’ve even gone as far as building our own fully legal remote monitoring and maintenance tools from scratch.

For EMC customers this means that although they are unable to use Solutions Enabler after their hardware maintenance agreement ends, CDS can still help. Our unique Raytrix ESS solution provides all the same remote heartbeat monitoring and troubleshooting functionality, without the risk of prosecution.

And Raytrix ESS is not just for post-warranty equipment either. And because Raytrix ESS makes no changes to the service processor, it can be installed simultaneously alongside the OEM’s tools – which leaves you with a fully certifiable unit, even if it is under maintenance contract with a third party.

Because we own the source code and do not make use of any protected APIs or similar, our clients are fully protected from system failure and the risk of being sued by EMC. Which is why CDS can offer OEM-class support for 40 percent - 70 percent less than your OEM.

To learn more about third party maintenance and how we keep your support provisions 100 percent legal, please get in touch.