5 Ways Third-Party Maintenance Can HelpBy Kyle Christopher

Last week one of our clients told us about the maze of maintenance contracts she was trying to manage. She had received a handful of decent deals on hardware, but now she was juggling a variety of different timetables on her support contracts. It always felt like one of them was coming out of maintenance, leaving her scrambling for newer hardware or another contract. Something was always up for renewal. Managing all of these moving pieces was a massive headache. On more than one occasion her vendor told her she needed brand new hardware, only to find out later that she could have gotten a third-party maintenance contract that covered everything under one simple plan.

Maybe this story hits very close to home for you. Or perhaps you don’t even have a clue anymore which maintenance plan covers which hardware. This is a huge risk in the event that your storage fails without a backup plan in place. Most IT departments just spend money on new hardware or maintenance they don’t actually need. Did you know that a whopping 70% of IT budgets are allocated to maintenance?

Fortunately, there is good news. Maintenance plans are available that can make your life easier. No more juggling a variety of support contracts. Third-party maintenance can help you in other ways as well.

Here are 5 ways third-party maintenance can help.

1. Cost Savings

You typically receive 3 years of maintenance and support when you purchase from a hardware manufacturer. Once it runs out, you have a few options. You can either renew your contract with the manufacturer or upgrade your system. Usually both of these are expensive. What most people don’t know is that there’s a third, less expensive option; third-party maintenance. With third-party maintenance you’ll find better service working with professional engineers. They’re usually educated on a breadth of products instead of being tied to one brand or product line. Your EMC engineer is not certified to maintain your NetApp equipment, for example. You’re probably already juggling multiple maintenance contracts, which is an expensive headache. A third-party maintenance contract is easier and can save you as much as 70% off of the cost of either of the first two options. Your maintenance contract(s) will be ending sooner than later. It’s worth looking into how much you can save now.

2. Flexibility

Usually a manufacturer will offer you a standard maintenance plan. These work fine for departments that have a certain setup, but most systems tend to evolve and change over time. A third-party maintenance contract offers a lot of flexibility and is usually tailored to meet your specific needs, allowing you to put your entire setup under one contract.

3. Expert Engineers

As mentioned above, your EMC engineer is probably not certified to work with NetApp or other products. More often than not, when you’re working with your hardware manufacturer, they’re not going to be able to work with you on your other systems. A few minutes of research now will save you a lot of time. Find an engineer that is certified on a breadth of products.

4. Low Risk

If you’re only going to the manufacturer for your support, did you know that you’re at a higher risk? It’s true that the manufacturer may feel more trustworthy, but they are actually only working to promote their own products. On the other hand, a third-party engineer usually has better qualifications and certifications and will not be trying to sell you on a certain product. If you’re not sure, take a few minutes and talk to a certified, third-party engineer and decide for yourself.

5. Fewer Contracts

In one data center, you usually find equipment from multiple manufacturers. We just talked to a customer that had gear from EMC, Brocade and NetApp. That’s the norm these days. Even if you have some time left on one of those contracts, it’s always easier to put it all under one contract. The sheer amount of time you spend keeping up with these different contracts is reason enough to consider a third-party maintenance contract. If something goes wrong, why not make one phone to one engineer who can handle it all?

Decide For Yourself

Is third party maintenance right for you? If you’re looking to

  • Reduce maintenance costs

  • Design a custom contract and only pay for what you need

  • Receive personalized service

  • Work with an engineer, not a salesperson who offers help where you need it

  • Avoid unneeded upgrades and cost

Then third-party maintenance may be your best option.