Every year, organizations charge IT professionals with increasing efficiency while cutting costs. And with the average IT budget only growing $2,000 in 2016, every penny counts. To cut costs, you must determine where the bulk of your funds are going. With the ability to consume up to two-thirds of your budget, support is a great place to start. Many companies struggle to find the best support solution for their data centers. Third-party maintenance can be the difference between comprehensive and cost-effective coverage and maintenance that bleeds your budget dry.

The Trouble with OEM Support

It’s not uncommon for IT pros to feel that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is their only option for support. If you subscribe to the “you get what you pay for” mantra, then choosing the OEM for support seems like the most logical option. But, for hardware maintenance, this isn’t always the case. Organizations typically see a huge spike in support costs after year 3 when using OEM maintenance. This is because the manufacturer wants you to upgrade your equipment to the latest model. By raising support costs, the OEM is “incentivizing” a complete hardware refresh. But hardware refreshes are costly. Then you have to worry about data migrations and other problems.

So, before doing a hardware refresh, consider third-party support. An independent support vendor like Reliant can support your storage, server, and networking equipment for up to 10 years past formal End-of-Life (EOL) dates. Another issue is the level of support they receive not matching the complexity of their storage environment. Most data centers include equipment from more than one manufacturer. Depending on the equipment that requires troubleshooting, the OEM may not have the expertise to handle it. This could mean that your support call must go to a different OEM, which can lead to data center downtime. This is where a one-stop-shop maintenance provider comes in. Reliant provides multi-vendor support, allowing you to put all your IT hardware under one contract.

Third-Party Maintenance Benefits

Third-party maintenance has benefits - such as saving you 30-70% on support costs. But, decision makers should make sure the independent support provider has the right expertise. Third-party support vendors can have OEM-level certifications and training across many manufacturers. This cross-training allows you to implement a one-stop-shop maintenance solution. Also, a third-party support vendor can put all your equipment onto one maintenance agreement. By putting all equipment onto one contract, you won’t have to deal with recertification fees or lapses in coverage. To ensure that you have support for all your equipment, a third-party maintenance provider is ideal. Your specific requirements tailor support agreements with third-party maintenance providers.

Contracts can be designed to coterminate and have engineers arrive onsite within 4 hours. Agreements can also be as simple as next-business-day parts replacement. But what happens if the vendor doesn’t have the right parts? Avoid this hassle by questioning how the provider tests and stocks spare parts. Knowing where the vendor’s stocking locations are will give you access to the parts you need. You may also be able to keep high-failure rate parts as on-site spares to eliminate downtime. The key is to ask the right questions to make sure you get the best contract for your needs.

Thinking of Switching to Third-Party Support?

As the World’s #1 Reseller of Certified Pre-Owned Storage Hardware & Support, we can craft the right data center support solution. Reach out to one of our support specialists to learn about our comprehensive SLAs, engineering expertise, and forward stocking locations. Or give us a call at 1.877.227.0828 or fill out a maintenance pricing request to get started today.