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What You Need to Know About IT Hardware Maintenance

What You Need to Know About IT Hardware MaintenanceIT hardware maintenance is an important aspect of keeping the data center running smoothly. The good news is that there are ways to make your maintenance program more affordable without sacrificing the coverage, reliability and quality your network or servers.

Here are 6 things that you need to know in order to make an informed decision about your IT hardware maintenance program:

OEM-managed maintenance is a monopoly controlled by the manufacturer. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) want you to believe that they are the only ones who can service your servers, storage or networking equipment. Leveraging their brand name, manufacturers imply—or sometimes state outright—that third party providers don’t have the knowledge to successfully service your network. This is not true. Why would manufacturers care who services your network as long as you buy your equipment from them? Quite simply, hardware maintenance is big business for the OEM. Physical hardware is becoming more and more of a commodity all the time, while maintenance continues to be the cash cow manufacturers depend on.

Your servers, switches and routers are more reliable than they used to be. When the hardware maintenance business model was created, components in the data center were considered more vulnerable to failure. With advances in modular construction and general reliability, component replacement is far simpler than it was ten years ago.

A significant amount of OEM maintenance is actually performed by contracted third party maintainers (TPM). So, here’s one that will leave you scratching your head: while OEMs want you to dismiss third party maintenance contracts on the basis that third party maintenance firms don’t have the knowledge or skills to maintain their hardware, these same OEMs are contracting with these third party maintainers to conduct the OEM maintenance without having to expand their in-house maintenance teams. So, the third party maintenance companies are good enough to do the work for the (expensive) OEM maintenance program, but not good enough to do the work under their own (cheaper) maintenance agreements? Hmmmm. Sounds fishy to me.

Maintenance programs allow the OEM to maintain control over their share of the market. No one likes to see a lower priced competitor enter their market and steal market share. And no one can blame an OEM for leveraging their maintenance relationships to ensure their advantage with their customers. Unfortunately, IT hardware maintenance programs are a way for manufacturers to limit the introduction of refurbished equipment, keep track of future equipment acquisitions, and keep customers on a three year upgrade schedule.

OEM hardware maintenance can result in premature hardware obsolescence. IT hardware manufacturers are in the business of creating new products and then selling them to their customers. With new products coming out all the time, OEMs declare existing product lines to be “end of life” every two to three years and reduce or eliminate support of those products. This can leave you forced to upgrade before you are ready to and while your organization’s existing hardware is still useful in order to avoid losing maintenance coverage.

OEM hardware maintenance is not the only choice. One of the greatest kept secrets of IT hardware maintenance is that an OEM maintenance program is not your only option. Maintenance programs offered by reputable third party resellers and maintainers are just as effective as the OEM programs, only at a fraction of the price. Investigating third party maintenance programs as an option for your organization can save you considerable amounts of money.

You don't have to choose between using your IT budget for hardware maintenance and fulfilling other strategic IT initiatives. There are easy ways to make your maintenance program more affordable without sacrificing the coverage, reliability and quality your department requires.

Questions? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding IT hardware maintenance or our other services.