Any organization keen to cut costs and gain access to improved support provisions should consider third party maintenance services.
Busting the Data Center Myths
Unfortunately fear, uncertainty and doubt cause many businesses to miss the opportunities provided by third party maintenance, choosing instead to renew with their OEM, or to follow the defined upgrade path at significant extra cost. Read on for more myth-busting advice.
Myth 1: Your data center is at risk if you don’t follow the OEM defined upgrade path
Not true. Your OEM relies on new hardware sales to maintain their profit margins, and allowing customers to keep hardware in place for longer affects income. To keep you locked into their product upgrade cycle, the OEM designates certain assets as end of life, and warns that customer infrastructure is at risk if they don’t upgrade. But the truth is that perfectly operational hardware will continue to perform in exactly the same way it always did – and the experience of hundreds of third party support users proves that these dire warnings from OEMs can be safely ignored.
Myth 2: Moving away from an OEM maintenance contract will remove all the microcode from the machine and disable crucial functions
Not true. OEM licensing allows your business to keep using the microcode installed on your hardware indefinitely – even after the OEM contract expires. You are also entitled to download any security updates released by the OEM – again, after the maintenance contract expires. The only difference is that you will not be able to obtain new microcode updates from the OEM. In our experience, this is almost certainly not a problem as CTOs and IT managers avoid microcode upgrades unless completely unavoidable.
Myth 3: Moving away from an OEM maintenance contract will mean it’s difficult to get spare parts
False. Some third party maintenance providers may struggle to supply spare parts to their customers, but that’s not the case with CDS. We maintain a million dollar global parts inventory containing every part for every customer system we support. Our inventory is held in three strategic locations internationally so that we can deliver spares virtually anywhere in the world. And every part is fully OEM certified for guaranteed compatibility and maximum reliability in your system
Myth 4: Moving away from an OEM maintenance contract means you’ll get less skilled engineers
Not true. CDS have a fully OEM-trained Level 3 engineer support team. Even our helpdesk is manned by Level 3 engineers, who will log support calls, carry out initial troubleshooting, and see every issue through to a successful conclusion. And our engineers regularly retrain and upskill to ensure we properly serve all of our customers. In fact, as OEMs rebalance their workforce to focus on Cloud and services, customers report finding it harder to receive the quality support they need because the engineers are simply not available to assist with older hardware.
Myth 5: Moving away from an OEM maintenance contract will make patches and upgrades a headache
Not true. Without an OEM maintenance contract you will lose access to patches and upgrades for your storage hardware – but in our experience there have been just two occasions where a client needed a firmware upgrade in the last half-decade. On both occasions we were able to develop a workaround solution to the problem without OEM assistance. In most cases, our customers avoid applying patches unless absolutely necessary anyway – even when they have a valid OEM maintenance contract – because of the disruption these upgrades bring to system stability and availability.
Myth 6: Moving away from an OEM contract will mean slower response times
False. CDS provide a true 7x24x265 support service to ensure our customers have the coverage they need, when they need it. With a global network of Level 3 engineers and a multimillion dollar spare parts inventory, CDS is available whenever and wherever required. In fact, as OEMs restructure their workforce towards a service-driven operating model and shed engineering jobs, customers may find vendor support response times are slower than CDS.
Myth 7: The transition from an OEM maintenance contract will mean data centre downtime
False. Downtime is completely unacceptable, which is why CDS has developed a clean transition plan to ensure that systems stay online during the transition. We work with you and your OEM to manage the handover, and to resolve any potential issues in advance. The process is so seamless that your users won’t even know that anything has changed as IT operations continue uninterrupted.
Myth 8: You need support for all your OEM equipment
Not true. Many of your assets are not mission critical. Archive data storage capacity will continue to outgrow line-of-business systems for the foreseeable future, but top tier support is unnecessary for these secondary systems. A third party maintenance contract allows you to take a more granular approach, defining SLAs and support levels per storage asset. Which means you only ever pay for the support you need – saving a small fortune in the process.
Myth 9: Remote support is illegal
Not true. CDS works closely with all the major OEMs to ensure that our support and maintenance services are fully compliance with their strict licensing terms. Admittedly, some third party maintenance providers do use OEM tools illegally to provide remote support, but CDS takes a different approach. We have developed our own remote monitoring and maintenance tools from scratch so your systems are fully protected - and fully compliant – at all times.
Myth 10: Moving away from EMC diagnostic tools will cause major headaches?
Not true. CDS engineers monitor thousands of system messages generated by our clients’ systems every month. Our unique Raytrix ESS remote monitoring tool gives us deep insight into customers’ EMC arrays for instance. In the last 5 years we have only identified 2 incidents that required a firmware upgrade. And in each case we were able to create an agreeable workaround anyway. In our experience, most IT managers avoid installing firmware upgrades unless there is no choice anyway, so without access to these unwanted patches, third party maintenance actually reduces headaches.