By Rick Moller, Cisco Support Specialist & Subject Matter Expert, SSCS

Do you know why most of your industry peers are paying more for Cisco support than others?

Here are the Top 9 Reasons:

1. Unlike the typical data center infrastructure manager, the Cisco SMARTnet contract holder is often unfamiliar with hybrid support models and Gartner-recommended best practices.

2. The typical SMARTnet contract holder is driven by security/stability/resiliency sensitivities far more than cost containment.

3. Because they are driven by stability, the SMARTnet contract holder is unaware of the Cisco pricing trends associated with post-warranty assets.

4. Nor do they understand that SMARTnet’s greatest benefit (software) dwindles significantly at key dates after the warranty expiration.

5. Even if the SMARTnet contract holder resides within IT procurement, he/she is very unlikely to understand the most critical cost-savings trigger – End of Software Maintenance.

6. Few understand that expensive SMARTnet support is incredibly budget wasteful once software updates become FREE or are no longer available. Yes, FREE is one stage of the post-warranty lifecycle of many Cisco assets.

7. While 71% of Fortune 100 companies are using hybrid support models, SMARTnet contract managers haven’t yet gotten the message.

8. Most are unaware that a hybrid Cisco support model can generate 50-70% savings off eligible post warranty assets, or reduce their total annual Cisco operating expense by 10-20% by using a hybrid model.

9. Most contract managers are unaware how simple the independent support community has made the task of identifying assets eligible for independent support, then quantifying the savings. Most pure-play third-party maintainers have specialized Cisco teams and automation tools to complete this step for them in under one week.

As Gartner industry analysts, such as Christine Tenneson, will tell you, the independent support industry has ready-made tools in place to help you simply and quickly conduct an audit of your Cisco assets, identify which are best for independent support and the means to quickly quantify your savings potential.

It would be our honor to help you understand which assets are both eligible AND logical for lifecycle extensions and independent support. If you would like to begin a conversation with our Cisco Support Team, please submit your inquiry here: www.sscs.com/contact.

#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


Rick Moller, Cisco Support Specialist, SSCS

This year will be Rick’s 8th year with SSCS and its Cisco Support Team. Prior to joining the company, Rick worked at the Houston-based Cisco TAC for eight years and played an integral role in Knowledge Management. Prior to the Cisco TAC, he held a sales position in the auto rental business.

Joe grew up in Houston and is an avid fan of all sports, but especially loves baseball and the Houston Astros.

By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

While you may not yet be convinced of the intrinsic value or flexibility of the third-party hardware support industry, the times are changing. More than ever, your IT peers are embracing alternatives to effectively contain IT costs and increase their negotiating leverage within their OEM relationships. In fact, Gartner recently published that 71% of Fortune 100 companies are now using third-party support. Also, IDC published that nearly 50% of the world’s data centers are using third-party hardware support to drive savings AND receive greater flexibility in service.

“Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies Now Use Independent Hardware Support”
Summary Objective: For many companies around the world, data center decision makers are more frequently relying upon independent support for data center hardware assets – servers, storage devices and networking equipment. If the reader has previously resisted support models other than what is provided by OEMs, this white paper’s purpose it to explain why the trend toward hybrid support (OEM and Independent) models has grown so popular.

“Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”
Summary Objective: This paper is specifically written for those IT decision makers or IT procurement members unfamiliar with the third-party maintenance industry and this industries’ potential for dramatic impact upon hardware OpEx (operating expenses). Any company, or industry, under executive mandates for IT cost optimization should be familiar with third party hardware maintenance.

“CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
Summary Objective: In the last decade, more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies are embracing the promise of hardware lifecycle extensions and developing strategies to contain hardware costs, thereby proactively moving toward IT cost optimization objectives. Perceptions have changed, especially in the last five years, about hardware lifecycle extensions. Because independent hardware support organizations and secondary hardware resellers play a pivotal role in lifecycle extension strategies, this white paper directly addresses the use of these industries as a viable means to containing and optimizing OpEx and CapEx budgets.

“CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”
Summary Objective: For those following mandates to contain current IT costs to have funding to address a growing list of business drivers, we believe that hardware support strategies hold the greatest potential to make the most immediate impact. For those open to support strategy remodeling, this white paper should help the reader begin to understand “why” and receive insights into “how much.”


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

This year will be Mark’s 23rd year with SSCS Global IT Services. Beginning in sales, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing, now responsible for all global sales activities, brand recognition, inbound/outbound marketing and primary messaging. In his previous employment in management with Ritz Carlton, Mark was highly influenced by their industry-leading customer service program, as influenced by the standards of the Malcolm Baldridge quality awards.

In his spare time, Mark is engaged is numerous activities with his daughter, plays the bass guitar and is a vocalist with a band and his church choir.

By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

Assuming you’ve already read Gartner’s report that 71% of the largest companies are now using independent (aka Third-Party Maintenance) support to effectively control OpEx, you may not have heard or read (from the same Gartner publication) that:

“70% of F100 companies purchased secondary hardware in 2016 | 57% of F500 companies purchased secondary hardware in 2016”

Gartner [ID G00327730]

As the research suggests, secondary hardware is a viable method of staving off an expensive OEM-driven tech refresh and controlling CapEx. We agree. In addition, the introduction of secondary hardware as an option, along with independent hardware support, is an incredible way of building negotiation leverage with your OEM. Building leverage is key to great negotiation.

Although these trends are headed in the right direction, in our opinion, there’s an element of the purchase process that seems as though part of the boat has been missed. There are still many companies that treat the hardware purchase (CapEx) independently of the hardware support purchase (OpEx). This is really quite odd to us! And it’s odd because you’re likely paying far more than is necessary.

When working with the OEM, don’t you insist on a “bundled” program when purchasing new hardware? Why not also do this for secondary hardware? It is our experience that if you are going to choose secondary hardware, that you should always insist that it be done as a “bundled” package to get the best pricing.

While there are hundreds of hardware resellers out there in a very commoditized industry, few of them also offer hardware maintenance, directly. Additionally, the reseller has built an infrastructure to support hardware sales – not an infrastructure carefully designed to offer mission-critical maintenance, rooted in service quality.

Instead of seeking out the hardware reseller for your bundled purchase, we believe you should bring your requirements to the “pure-play TPMs (Third-Party Maintainers).” Almost all hardware maintainers are already buying back-up parts from these resellers and have incredible negotiating leverage to get the best hardware pricing. Ask the TPM to be accountable for a bundled purchase and get ready to be amazed by the savings.

You can trust that the pure-play TPM has built an infrastructure to provide remarkable hardware support. But, the TPM that also directly sells secondary hardware has intentionally eliminated that indirect purchasing leverage that provides you the greatest pricing.

So, even though several independent hardware maintainers do not directly offer secondary hardware, it is your best choice to reach them for a bundled program and permit them to negotiate the hardware acquisition for you. Even more, the maintenance agreement becomes your warranty – a single warranty, one that puts the burden on the maintenance company and no responsibility on your company to battle a hardware reseller.


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

This year will be Mark’s 23rd year with SSCS Global IT Services. Beginning in sales, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing, now responsible for all global sales activities, brand recognition, inbound/outbound marketing and primary messaging. In his previous employment in management with Ritz Carlton, Mark was highly influenced by their industry-leading customer service program, as influenced by the standards of the Malcolm Baldridge quality awards.

In his spare time, Mark is engaged is numerous activities with his daughter, plays the bass guitar and is a vocalist with a band and his church choir.

By Damon Yee, Sun/Oracle Specialist & Subject Matter Expert

In recent years, Oracle hasn’t formally published future (planned) End of Life or End of Service Life dates. Instead, we often learn about an EoL date the month it happens, which is unfortunate for Oracle’s clients who may be caught by surprise, and thereby forced to renew support with the OEM.

I’m only able to offer you data for known EoSL Sun/STK assets in recent years. Be sure to let me know if you ever discover a public Oracle web page the indicates EoL more than 60 days in advance.

Here are the Sun and StorageTek models that went EoSL in 2017 and 2016:

Sun Model  End of Support Life Date 
Sun SPARC T3-1 Server – 8 Core 8/1/2017
Sun SPARC T3-2 Server – 16 Core 8/1/2017
SunFire T5240 – 1 x 8C CPU 2/1/2017
SunFire T5140 9/1/2016
StorageTek 2530 Array 7/1/2016
Sun StorageTek 2510 Array 7/1/2016
Sun StorageTek 2540 Array 7/1/2016
Sun Netra T2000 – 4 Core 4/1/2016

When you have Sun or StorageTek hardware that has past EoSL dates, don’t forget that you need not pay expensive Oracle support pricing for these post warranty assets. Instead, look to independent support and what is known as Third-Party Maintenance. Savings of 50% or more are quite common.

Feel free to bookmark the EoSL Resource Library we’ve created at SSCS; or more specifically, the Sun EoSL Resource Library is also very helpful. If you discover specific assets which we haven’t listed in these resource centers, please alert us and we will promptly address.

Unfamiliar with the TPM (Third Party Maintenance) industry? Here are two helpful white papers we published this recent summer:

1. “Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies are Now Using Independent Hardware Support”
2. “Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


Damon Yee, Sun/Oracle Support Specialist, SSCS

This is Damon’s 8th year with SSCS. Prior to joining the company, Damon was an SSE with Sun Microsystems for 10+ years, a senior FE with Digital Equipment (DEC) for 5 years and a senior customer engineer with Wang Laboratories for 5 years. In all, he has 30 years of experience in hardware break/fix maintenance and systems troubleshooting activities. Damon has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology from City University of New York City College.

In his spare time, Damon likes to stay very active in hobbies including bicycling, home computer repairs and auto repair. Earlier in his career, he regularly participated in amateur bicycle racing.

By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

If you’re growing weary of tracking EoSL dates for your owned hardware assets, and doing so from individual OEM websites, you should know there’s a much easier solution – without the burdensome digging. Several independent support companies have EoL tracking details at their website, including SSCS. 

There are three HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) storage models heading toward EoSL in the next 12 months:

HDS Model  End of Support Life Date 
AMD 2500  9/30/2017 
AMD 2100 9/30/2018 
AMD 2300 9/30/2018 

 

Should you have any Hitachi hardware assets approaching EoS, don’t forget that you need not pay expensive Hitachi support pricing for post warranty assets. Instead, look to independent support. Savings of 50% or more often capture the interest, but it’s the remarkable service that keeps clients around for 10+ years.

Feel free to bookmark the EoSL Resource Library we’ve created at SSCS; or more specifically, the HDS EoSL Resource Library is also very helpful. If you discover specific assets which we haven’t listed in these resource centers, please alert us and we will promptly address.

Unfamiliar with the TPM (Third Party Maintenance) industry? Here are two educational white papers:

1. “Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies are Now Using Independent Hardware Support”
2. “Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

This year will be Mark’s 23rd year with SSCS Global IT Services. Beginning in sales, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing, now responsible for all global sales activities, brand recognition, inbound/outbound marketing and primary messaging. In his previous employment in management with Ritz Carlton, Mark was highly influenced by their industry-leading customer service program, as influenced by the standards of the Malcolm Baldridge quality awards.

In his spare time, Mark is engaged is numerous activities with his daughter, plays the bass guitar and is a vocalist with a band and his church choir.

By John Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

Overwhelmed with tracking which assets are approaching EoL (End of Life) or EoSL (End of Service Life)? Several independent hardware support companies already track this data for you and do so much more logically than what is provided by the OEM. Several independent support companies have EoL tracking resources at their website, including SSCS.

There are several EMC storage models heading toward EoSL in the next 12 months. I’m hoping this quick-check list is helpful to you and your team:

EMC EoSL from September 2017 through July 2018

EMC Model EMC of Support Life Date
Symmetrix DMX-4 9/30/2017
Symmetrix DMX-4 950 9/30/2017
Symmetrix VMAX 10K 9/30/2017
Symmetrix VMAX SE 9/30/2017
Symmetrix VMAXe 9/30/2017
Isilon 108NL 10/31/2017
Isilon 36NL 10/31/2017
Isilon 72NL 10/31/2017
Isilon IQ36000x 10/31/2017
Isilon IQ72000x 10/31/2017
Isilon IQ12000x 12/31/2017
Isilon IQ5000S-SSD 12/31/2017
Isilon IQ32000x-SSD 12/31/2017
RecoverPoint Gen4 1/31/2018
Avamar Data Store Gen4 3/31/2018
Connectrix – Brocade AP-7600B 3/31/2018
File Management Appliance Gen 7 3/31/2018
Connectrix – Brocade DS-5100B (4G Switch) 4/30/2018
Connectrix – Brocade DS-5100B-8G (8G Switch) 4/30/2018
Connectrix – Brocade DS-5100B-EP 4/30/2018
Connectrix – Cisco MDS-PBF-4LR 4/30/2018
Connectrix – Brocade MP-8000B 5/31/2018
Connectrix – Cisco MDS-PBF-24-8G 7/31/2018
Connectrix – Cisco MDS-PBF-44-8G 7/31/2018
Connectrix – Cisco MDS-PBF-48-8G 7/31/2018

 

Should you have any assets approaching end of support, don’t forget that you need not pay expensive EMC support pricing once these assets go off warranty. Instead, look to independent support – both for the savings and the remarkable service. Often called Third-Party Maintenance (TPM), this industry of independent support companies can be an amazing resource.

Feel free to bookmark the EoSL Resource Library we’ve created at SSCS; or more specifically, the EMC EoSL Resource Library is also very helpful. If you discover specific assets which we haven’t listed in these resource centers, please alert us and we will promptly address.

New to the TPM industry? Here are a few helpful white papers:

1. “Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies are Now Using Independent Hardware Support”
2. “Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


John “JK” Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

This year will be John’s 29th year with SSCS Global IT Services. A graduate of University of Houston, Clear Lake, most of John’s field service career has been with SSCS. Having several years of experience in direct field service and break/fix maintenance for multiple OEMs and platforms, John was promoted to Global Service Director eight years ago. All global field support and OEM subject matter expertise reports up to him.

In addition to his deep levels of interest in data center support best practices, John is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, committed to non-profit groups dedicated to habitat protections and enhancement. He is also an avid fan of all sports, with a great appreciation for golf.

By John Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

Tired of tracking which assets are approaching EoL (End of Life) or EoSL (End of Service Life)? Yeah, ITAM best practices can be burdensome to teams with limited staffing resources. Know that several hardware support providers already track this data for you and provide the information much more simply than the OEM offers. Several independent support companies have EoL tracking details at their website, including SSCS.

There are several NetApp storage models heading toward EoSL in the next 18 months. Here’s a quick-check table to help:

NetApp EoSL from September 2017 through December 2018

NetApp Model End of Support Life Date 
FAS2040 12/31/2017
FAS3210 12/31/2018
FAS3240 12/31/2018
FAS3270 12/31/2018
FAS6210 12/31/2018
FAS6240 12/31/2018
FAS6280 12/31/2018

 

Should you have any NetApp assets approaching EoS, don’t forget that you need not pay expensive NetApp support pricing for post warranty assets. Instead, look to independent support – both for the savings and the remarkable service. Often called Third-Party Maintenance (TPM), independent support firms, like SSCS, can be a tremendous resource.

Feel free to bookmark the EoSL Resource Library we’ve created at SSCS; or more specifically, the NetApp EoSL Resource Library is also very helpful. If you discover specific assets which we haven’t listed in these resource centers, please alert us and we will promptly address.

Not quite familiar with the TPM industry? Here are a few helpful white papers:

1. “Understand Why 71% of Fortune 100 Companies are Now Using Independent Hardware Support”
2. “Still Unfamiliar with the Benefits of Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?”


#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


John “JK” Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

This year will be John’s 29th year with SSCS Global IT Services. A graduate of University of Houston, Clear Lake, most of John’s field service career has been with SSCS. Having several years of experience in direct field service and break/fix maintenance for multiple OEMs and platforms, John was promoted to Global Service Director eight years ago. All global field support and OEM subject matter expertise reports up to him.

In addition to his deep levels of interest in data center support best practices, John is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, committed to non-profit groups dedicated to habitat protections and enhancement. He is also an avid fan of all sports, with a great appreciation for golf.

By John Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

Is this your first time project managing a server or storage device relocation? This blog is intended to help you understand the five most important items to consider in any data center hardware relocation.

1. Providing Advance Notice to All Direct Team Members & Affected Parties: Make sure that all key players are aware of your scheduled “move” not less than 30 days (ideally 60 days) in advance. Various parties will need to be prepared for production delays/downtime, cabling changes, power and cooling changes, etc. Your move will go without a hitch if you communicate well in advance, allowing internal and external teams to help you minimize the chance of any unpleasant surprises. This advance notice should include transparency into the primary elements of your plan: Who, what, when, why, where and how. Doing so will encourage others to offer better practice alternatives to anything you may not have considered.

2. Power Down Testing: Ideally, your pre-move planning will also include a full power-down of all systems being moved. Occasionally, devices and components that have not been powered off for some time will be problematic or fail completely on the subsequent power-up. It is generally greatly preferred to experience this, and solve the issues prior to the physical move. This pre-event measure is a proactive way of finding disk drives and other components that simply will not survive a shutdown.

3. Use a Team of Hardware Experts for any Relocations: There are hundreds of companies that offer server moves, but have no concept of power down protocols, nor will they accept any accountability for the post-move return to full operation. Even if your team is available to handle the de-installation and re-integration, you might consider the benefit if hiring dedicated experts that know the hardware, its sensitivity and will accept and embrace accountability. Not all who advertise as relocation providers have the on-staff expertise to respect your hardware as a “mission critical” business tool. Saving a few dollars will never be a viable defense for any damaged systems or catastrophic start-up failures.

Server Relocation or Storage Move4. Understand Risks of “Do It Yourself” Hardware Relocations: While this may sound comical to many, don’t let your team use pick-up trucks (such stories have been heard as recently as June 2017) and a lot of “muscle.” Any DIY plan must include important dialogue. Your team may have the power down/up expertise, but you must lead very open discussions that include: (a.) What will be done to prevent shifting during the move or hardware bouncing from hitting bumps. (b.) What will be done to protect those important business tools from weather or temperature changes. (c.) What will be used to physically move the hardware into and out of transport vehicles so no one on your team is physically hurt in the process. Workers Comp claims will definitely capture the unpleasant attention of senior management.

5. Make Certain Management Knows Your Plans and Rationale: Although this reads very similar to the first recommendation, we cannot enough emphasize “CYA” with company leaders/executives. In any equipment relocation, your reputation can go from hero to scapegoat in minutes. If your supervisor and his/her supervisor are fully aware of your plan, your logic and your timing, any burdens that arise are shared between you. You want them to “have your back” no matter how the project goes. They should also appreciate the logic you have about why you’re involving hardware professionals, as opposed to inexpensive widget movers.

If you’d like to have a thorough consultation about hardware relocations, we would be pleased to share additional “best practices.” You can contact us by completing an inquiry form, by clicking here.

#TPMExpert #ExpertTPM


John “JK” Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

This year will be John’s 29th year with SSCS Global IT Services. A graduate of University of Houston, Clear Lake, most of John’s field service career has been with SSCS. Having several years of experience in direct field service and break/fix maintenance for multiple OEMs and platforms, John was promoted to Global Service Director eight years ago. All global field support and OEM subject matter expertise reports up to him.

In addition to his deep levels of interest in data center support best practices, John is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, committed to non-profit groups dedicated to habitat protections and enhancement. He is also an avid fan of all sports, with a great appreciation for golf.