OEM Support SecretsHow long is your data center hardware actually useful? Depending on who your support provider is, the answer may vary. If you have EMC or NetApp support through the OEM, they will likely tell you the answer is 3-5 years. But as IT budgets begin to shrink, you may be wondering if this is true, and if not, what else could the OEM be hiding?

The ACTUAL Lifespan of Your Hardware is Longer Than You Think

According to a recent Gartner report, OEM refresh cycles and the actual useful service life of IT hardware differ greatly. Once your current storage array reaches EOL, EOA, EOSL, or EOS the conversation goes from supporting your hardware to refreshing to a newer system.


It’s important to note there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to knowing when it’s time to do a refresh. Some environments may require the newest features available in which case refreshing makes sense. But that’s not usually the case for most IT shops. Depending on your needs and objectives, IT managers can extend the life of their current hardware well beyond formal end of life dates with the help of third party support.

Using Different OEMs Could Cost You

Supporting aging equipment through the OEM can get expensive. After EOL announcements, you can look for a spike in support costs. But what other support decisions could be eating into your budget? Many data centers have hardware from various brands. Which means you probably have support from all of those manufacturers. This can get pricey rather quickly and not to mention a hassle to keep up with. Instead, consolidate your support contracts into one easy-to-manage agreement with third party support.

Refreshing has Additional Costs

Many OEMs use the spike of support costs to justify moving to their newest system. But there are a few other cost-related issues that get overlooked when it comes to upgrading your hardware. There’s always a bit of a learning curve when integrating a new system into your environment. With a new storage array your IT department will have to dedicate time and resources to trainings on the new hardware, firmware, and software. Bypass these extra costs by keeping your current systems in place longer.

Avoiding a Hardware Refresh can Increase ROI

It’s no secret that the longer you keep your existing systems running, the more return you can see on that investment - and the longer you can put off making a capital expenditure on new equipment. The trick to extending the life of your hardware comes with realizing what you’ll be using the system for. This will help you choose the correct service level agreements when shopping for third party support.

Ready to Make the Leap?

These are just a few support secrets your OEM may not have wanted you to know. Now that you have the full picture, you can begin to make more informed decisions about your storage environment. This means you can refresh on your own schedule, not when the OEM says you should.

If your system is working well, you can consider post-warranty maintenance options for brands like EMC, NetApp, Dell, IBM and more. To learn more about our storage, server, and networking support options, reach out to one of our support specialists by using the chat on this page or request a maintenance quote.