Generic Spares: Yes or No?

Switch flipping from on to off

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Virtually every storage array is now built using common hardware standards and interfaces, which means that virtually every spare can be replaced with a generic alternative in the event of failure.

Yet despite this simple truth, OEM maintenance contracts charge a premium for “approved” spares. In the interests of cost control, IT managers are (quite rightly) tempted to replace failed parts with an equivalent generic, especially when dealing with older storage arrays and servers.

Obviously, this is much cheaper at the point of purchase, but is it a good strategic move?

Finely tuned for speed and reliability

Every OEM– Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM, etc.– will tell you that their storage systems are finely tuned to offer maximum speed and resilience. Part of their confidence comes from the choice of components, with each selected and configured to operate as seamlessly as possible with the rest of the system.

Introduce an unapproved component into the ecosystem, however, and all bets are off. A PCIe card is a PCIe card, right? So replacing the OEM-approved network card with another using the same Broadcom (or similar) chipset should make no difference at all. But because the replacement has never undergone the same testing regimen as the original, you cannot guarantee complete compatibility. “Should work” is not the same as “will work.”

Driving down the cost of spares

As mentioned earlier, OEMs charge a premium for “approved spares,” although it is typically rolled up into the cost of the overall maintenance contract. Yes, you get fully compatible parts, but you pay handsomely for it. 

Fortunately, CDS can offer a more cost-effective alternative. We operate a multi-million dollar spares inventory that holds parts for every system we support. Importantly, every single spare is fully OEM-approved for maximum compatibility and performance.

CDS storage maintenance contracts are typically 50% lower than the OEM equivalent and guarantee access to every spare for every system we support. When you partner with CDS, you save money without having to resort to potentially incompatible generic parts. 

To learn more about the CDS difference, please get in touch.

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