Streamline the true cost of your data centre OPEX (but without the help of your friendly hardware supplier)

With today’s pressed IT budgets, you need to continually demonstrable ROI and savings on both CAPEX and OPEX within the data centre. This article outlines how, in one easy overhaul, you can lower your operating costs and still maintain an incredibly efficient, modern data centre with onsite, always-on, reliable network, servers and storage equipment. But it’s not an option that your OEM hardware supplier will be offering you anytime soon, as it threatens their very existence, cutting off the rolling support and lucrative maintenance agreements and at the same time, locking you in to a cycle of costly renewals or end of life penalties.  

To shield themselves, tens of thousands of customers are turning their back on these defacto OEM contracts in favour for Third Party Maintenance across mighty Global 1000 organisations from within telecoms, financial and technology integration fields. Such is the growing appetite for adoption, Gartner have just officially recognised TPM as an official alternative supply category, noting that when adopted wisely, the savings can be staggering.  This article considers how you can also slash the costs of your looming vendor support and maintenance without compromise and free up your OPEX budget for more productive technology usage.

Identify the key players that offer similar, or even better levels of global support, across the data centre:

It goes without saying that the quiet movement towards Third Party Maintenance stands in direct competition to what is on offer from your OEM hardware supplier. Although Gartner have only recently created a category for TPMs, there have been lots of specialist maintenance providers in existence for years – specialists for printers, servers, storage, networking - you name it, within the data centre.  

However, what you are really looking to achieve when you switch is not just $ savings but re-assurance that your maintenance insurance policy will cover your entire data centre in dire moments of need from one reliable, large, and trusted source. And there are only a few respected and established providers offering support for the entire infrastructure with follow the sun support across the globe. These are the TPM trusted players that can provide you with that middle of the night/on a bank holiday weekend re-assurance that will persuade you to switch.

Set realistic service levels tiered according to criticality to you:

Not all hardware is created equal, neither does each hardware device carry the same level of importance across your organisation. Rank resources that are most critical for your business apps to secure for high availability.  Then ask a TPM who can support your whole infrastructure and offers a 4 to 24-hour service window across the UK and Europe, to assess and quote your needs without obligation. Let them do the work for you, taking on the inventory management services, SLAs and equipping you with a strong business case for the board.  For you, the move toward a TPM model offers simple one throat to choke service levels. Walk away from multiple support tickets which all point to each other as being the source fault, to just one support partner who takes on all aspects of your network infrastructure for you.   

Or, you can adopt a hybrid model which combines a mix of leveraging OEM support for new equipment with TPM support for older, second level equipment at a fraction of the cost. TPMs themselves source their equipment from various sources, frequently from systems integrators, who may purchase hardware for a client only to see that project cancelled or changed, as well as customers themselves who change their plans. Or when companies upgrade infrastructure, cancel a project or close a location, a TPM is on hand to offer a credit on their viable IT assets. This savvy procurement of IT allows established, large, networked TPMs to hold vast quantities of stock which means that they can ship products overnight far quicker than the OEMs, who can frequently quote anything between 10-80 days to fulfil an order. All equipment is rigorously tested by the TPM before dispatch. 

Again, an OEM rarely takes such precautions. One leading TPM uniquely offers a lifetime warranty on all shipped equipment. Take time to research who is offering which warranties and don’t be afraid to ask what infrastructure is in place to support the warranty on offer.  In general, a rule of thumb is that TPMs broadly offer a structured maintenance program that typically costs 50-90 per cent less than manufacturers’ maintenance programs to enable customers to dramatically reduce operating expenditure compared to OEM support. You will also be able to select the level of support that makes technical and financial sense for your network core, access and distribution layers, as well as incorporating remote offices. 

Often, respected TPMs will do much of the hard work for you, taking a holistic approach to what is within your network and after analysis, offer transparent, easy to use and understand calculators that demonstrate the savings and allow you to highlight these internally.  Read the Gartner Report here.

David Howard, Country Manager, Curvature UK
Image source: Shutterstock/Scanrail1