From data recovery and networking to website management and employee data storage, data centers are a critical component of successful businesses. Unfortunately, despite the important role they play in operations, there is a widespread concern facing IT managers and professionals — budget. According to one report, nearly 60% of surveyed IT professionals cite budgeting and finding lower-cost alternatives as the top challenges their department faces. With financial constraints come several complications by extension, including:
- Less productivity: With more focus on operating within smaller budgets, there is less room to focus on the task at hand. Because these needs vary across different equipment types and jobs, data centers may quickly utilize all resources available.
- Snowball effect: Many departments lack the necessary funds and resources to train staff and afford the equipment to adequately monitor small issues that may turn into expensive problems later on. Significant data center concerns include security breaches, sensitive data exposure, excessive power consumption, loss of intellectual property and costly downtime.
- Slower progress: Without access to the latest technology and IT strategies, departments may lag behind others in the industry. Businesses may lose an otherwise competitive edge.
Other common data center concerns include the design, installation and configuration of hardware, including ongoing support, maintenance, upgrades and replacements. As data centers become more complex — often combining various on-premise and cloud-based hybrid systems — data center professionals are expected to take on an increasing number of complex tasks while managing day-to-day operations. Maintaining multiple hardware contracts across different equipment manufacturers adds further complication.
How Third Party Maintenance Can Help
Third party maintenance (TPM) can cover your server, network, data, hardware and equipment. Each piece of your hardware comes with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) warranty or post-warranty plan. These plans cover your equipment until these machines reach the end of their predetermined service life.
Because the manufacturer creates these plans, these plans often encourage businesses to continue investing in the latest equipment and upgrades, even if your existing hardware still operates well. When you rely on an OEM warranty, you’re bound to the length of this agreement when making important decisions, instead of choosing when to upgrade based on performance needs.
You can use a third party maintenance partnership as an alternative to traditional OEM warranty programs or as a way to “bridge the gap” between when these OEM warranties expire and when you’re actually ready to upgrade.
Advantages of third party maintenance for your business data center include:
- It extends equipment life: Instead of pushing you into making premature upgrades or part replacements, third party maintenance partners focus on offering you support independent of individual manufacturers. They focus on extending your equipment’s life through ongoing monitoring and recommendations, leaving the control in your hands.
- It prioritizes your budget: Third party maintenance partnerships let you save money on services you’re already paying for by helping you prioritize your budget where necessary through collaborative cost management strategies that target specific equipment based on changing needs.
- It doesn’t require you to sacrifice performance: With a third party maintenance strategy, you get savings and longer equipment life without sacrificing performance. TPM partnerships include routine maintenance, upgrades, improvements and repairs when necessary, resulting in minimal breakdowns and downtime. You get access to real-time data and information to spot potential concerns before they worsen and create smarter business decisions for your department, organization and clients.
- It minimizes downtime and improves efficiency: With a TPM plan, you don’t have to worry about juggling the different terms, conditions and service dates that come with using multiple products from different manufacturers. Instead, everything bundles together under a single TPM contract. TPM companies also offer specialized hybrid support to tackle all your networking needs. This frees up IT professionals and data center staff to work on other critical operational areas, rather than spend all valuable work time on the more tedious side of data management.
- It offers streamlined support: TPM companies create a more streamlined, centralized method of getting support when you need it. A quality TPM partner will assist you through the transition to third party maintenance and remain available through multiple channels of support, including online and through the telephone. Reduced points of contact will minimize confusion and save you time, while quick support helps you maintain active status with little to no downtime. TPM options often include on-site and remote monitoring support, as well as flexible customization to meet your office’s needs.
What to Consider When Establishing a Third Party Maintenance Strategy
As your business grows and changes, so should your third party maintenance strategy. As you create your plan, follow these steps:
- Perform an assessment: Begin by assessing your existing arrangement. How much of your equipment currently exists under an OEM warranty? Which pieces of hardware have outlived their warranty support? For those still under the OEM warranty, detail those terms and conditions and create a list of critical information to know. Analyze how much of your budget has gone to OEM-recommended upgrades or replacements and determine your equipment’s current needs that require addressing.
- Choose a TPM company: Once you’ve got a clear picture of your situation, research TPM companies that can help. A good TPM partner should offer flexible management options, including around-the-clock support and packages matching numerous budgets. You can outsource all your hardware and network management to a third party or supplement existing staff with additional support from a TPM provider. Read reviews and testimonials and select a company with experience in multi-vendor support and a successful track record with clients in your field. Look for features like express monitoring and gap coverage.
- Monitor ongoing success: After implementing your TPM strategy, monitor continued success by comparing budgets and reports and working with TPM professionals to adjust your plan and make important changes as needed.
Tips for Maximizing Your Budget With TPM
Third party maintenance is the ideal solution for many data centers because it allows you all the flexibility and control you need to operate within budget without sacrificing performance and reliability. Focus on optimizing these priorities to reap even more rewards from your TPM partnership:
- Take advantage of savings opportunities: Take advantage of savings opportunities as they arise by adopting a proactive approach. Evaluate your existing budget and work with your TPM provider to identify key areas where you could begin generating additional value by investing in more efficient or upgraded equipment. While hardware may continue to perform well, technology advancements may mean there is a newer piece of equipment available that will help you manage costs better in the long run. Reallocate funds elsewhere as needed.
- Transition end-of-life equipment: If your OEM warranty is no longer supporting your equipment, plan to transition your machines quickly to your TPM, so they remain supported if critical issues arise.
- Choose vendors carefully: Choose network and equipment vendors carefully. Even if something is available at a discounted option, be discerning about long-term implications. Read terms and conditions thoroughly. Aim for flexibility in all agreements. Seek vendors who stay up to date on emerging trends in the industry.
Learn More About Third Party Maintenance From DataSpan
Third party maintenance from DataSpan can help you manage and minimize your data center costs while remaining efficient with the latest technology and streamlined support. Contact a DataSpan representative to learn more about our flexible TPM options.