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.

By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

Although it can be burdensome to continually track which assets are approaching EoL (End of Life) or EoSL (End of Service Life), several independent hardware support companies will actually track this data for you. Several have resources at their website, organized by OEM.  

Since there are several servers and storage items heading toward EoSL in the next 12 months, the purpose of this article is to provide you a simple quick-check:

HP Model  End of Support Life Date 
3PAR T400  10/31/2017 
HP ProLiant BL465c G7 Blade  12/31/2017 
HP ProLiant BL490c G7 Blade  12/31/2017 
HP ProLiant BL460c G7 Blade  2/28/2018 
HP Lefthand P4300 G2  4/30/2018 
HP Lefthand P4500 G2  4/30/2018 
HP ProLiant DL360 G7  4/30/2018 
HP ProLiant DL380 G7  4/30/2018 
HP ProLiant DL385 G7  4/30/2018 
HP ProLiant ML350 G6  7/31/2018 

 

Should you have any assets approaching end of support, don’t forget that you do not need to pay expensive HP support pricing once these assets go off warranty. Additionally, once HP makes these announcements (a sales strategy), this should be a “red flag” that you’re about to be pushed into a tech refresh. You need not be tied to the OEM’s schedules, EoSL announcements or tech refresh strategies. 

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 incredible resource to your company, responsive to you and your needs – not demanding your reaction, as the OEM will do. 

Feel free to bookmark the EoSL Resource Library we’ve created at SSCS; or more specifically, the HP 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 understanding the TPM industry? Here are a few white papers that can help:

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?”
3. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
4. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”


#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

OEM refresh strategies are not new, nor is the annoyance that many data center decision makers have with these self-serving sales tactics. Growing weary is normal, but those that have grown enraged have begun to deploy strategies that are rooted in greater logic, savings, service quality – AND actually, build greater leverage into their relationship with the OEM.

Typically a public company, the OEM is driven to please the financial interests of the stakeholder and failure is not an option. Development, expert staffing and promotion are very expensive. While your hardware assets are under warranty, these costs are passed along to companies that buy the new technology and these same costs are somewhat “amortized” across the warranty of those products, with profit margins consistent to the requirements of the board of directors and shareholders.

The very “essence” of the support you receive from an OEM is getting you to pay for great technology and keeping you as a customer. Building and deploying leading-edge technology is expensive and it must be recouped somewhere – some comes from the initial capital expense, but more comes from the support expense during that warranty period.

Here’s something to think about: At times, as you might imagine, you are paying MORE than your fair share of the cost to develop new IBM products. You may even be paying for infrastructure and strategies that limit your options, or force you to accept the next IBM tech refresh.Post Warranty Assets Choices

In any business procurement scenario, have you noticed what happens to your vendor negotiating leverage when you introduce competition – even for a segment of the business being done? Why not think this way about your post warranty IBM assets?

If your data center environment includes IBM servers and IBM storage, you may or may not have considered the support costs of your post warranty hardware assets. Certainly, IBM hardware assets have a support cost associated with each serial number. Paying IBM to support those older assets is NOT THE WISE USE of limited budget dollars. Most OEMs will increase their support costs once assets are post warranty – to drive you toward the refresh. And, those monthly costs increase more and more, the older those assets become.

40-60% savings from the price offered by IBM is normal when using a TPM. In cases where you’ve never before considered TPM, savings of up to 70% are not out-of-the-ordinary. In our industry, most TPMs can easily maintain all post-warranty IBM hardware your company has deployed: IBM BladeCenter, iSeries, pSeries, zSeries, Storwize, Power, System Storage, TotalStorage, XIV and IBM/Lenovo xSeries.

New to understanding the TPM industry? Here are a few white papers that can help:

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?”
3. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
4. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”


#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

If your enterprise IT infrastructure includes Dell servers and storage, perhaps you’ve already considered extending Dell server or Dell storage lifecycles to impact your OpEx (operating expense) and strategically delay your CapEx (capital expense) investments to refresh your technology. Or, perhaps you haven’t had the bandwidth to think about it, based upon departmental priorities. Either way, we would highly suggest a more engaged level of exploration.

Brand new hardware is expensive – simply put. And, sometimes your business drivers really do necessitate the investment. Speed, capacity and other factors may be vital to running the latest applications that promise to give your company a competitive edge. In such instances, refreshing to “shiny new” is often valid and worthy of the dilution to your overall IT budgets.

However, in other instances, you may not be making dramatic changes to your applications, but your older servers and storage are simply getting too old to operate effectively. Here’s where the depth of your choices may not have seemed so clear:

  1. You can choose “shiny new” and run mature applications on assets that offer more horsepower than necessary. And, then try to run your business on very lean budgets the next few years.
  2. Or, you can upgrade to newer, but not “shiny new,” saving on both CapEx and OpEx by choosing an independent hardware support provider. Remember how you used to “do more, with less” budget in college – making choices rooted in value?

Holding off capital expenses certainly helps address other needy budgets; however, there is additional value to your negotiating leverage by not refreshing in the same time windows as the OEM would prefer. When the latest technology becomes first available, pricing is not the same (much higher) than it is one year later. Moreover, let your industry peers and competitors deal with “early adopter” headaches often seen in first year operations. When you don’t do all the OEM suggests, you get their attention AND you’ll see better pricing, better bundled packages, etc.Shiny New Assest

Dell makes a great product – solidly built servers and storage. More so, they are far less prone to playing the anti-competition games as are the other OEMs. There, most definitely, is reason to be loyal to them. But, in those times when you need to do “more with less,” the depth of your loyalty does not need to mirror their definitions of a great relationship.

In the independent hardware support space (also, known as Third-Party Maintenance or “TPM”), support savings on post warranty assets run 40-60% off the pricing offered by Dell.

Certainly too, if you’re getting serious about hardware lifecycle extension strategies, most OEMs will increase their monthly support costs for post warranty assets. You’ve seen this. There is less overall value in having each OEM maintain the post warranty assets that they created…than it is to move all OEM post warranty assets to an independent that specializes in multi-vendor support.

Looking specifically to Dell servers and Dell storage support, most TPMs can easily maintain all the Dell assets your company has deployed: Dell EqualLogic, Dell PowerVault, Dell EMC devices, Dell Compellent, Dell PowerEdge, Dell PowerConnect. Assuming it’s post warranty, you name it, we likely can maintain it.

Note: In a recent Gartner publication, the analyst stated, “Currently, Gartner estimates there are more than 10 million data center/network devices under TPM, and 71% of very-large enterprise customers leveraged a TPM for support of some devices in 2016 [ID G00327263].” If 71% are using TPM and extending hardware lifecycles, why aren’t you?

New to understanding the TPM industry? No problem! Here are a few white papers that can help you better understand the remarkable value of this unique industry:

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?”
3. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
4. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”


#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

Data storage technology is just plain cool. And, the tech advancements in the last ten years has just made the world of storage technology even more cool. Both speed and capacity improvements are not only exciting but can deeply help business – like never before. These technologies allow one to dream of great possibilities and, potentially, deploy industry-changing ideas in their industry vertical.

Here’s where many companies are beginning to feel the rub: They want to invest in these new technologies, but feel deeply limited in their budget flexibility and simply do not have the executive buy-in to invest. “Budgets grew again this year by a few percentage points, but it would appear there is no way to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ so the new tech investment is possible.” It’s quite common to hear this lamented in discovery calls.

One of the most credible ways of raising lots of capital quickly is to take a “re-considered” approach to OpEx – specifically, hardware support budgets. More particularly, hardware support budgets for ANYTHING that is post warranty.

While trends within the storage sector are causing people to hold onto storage hardware for 5+ years (even 10 years, at times) due to stability and reliability, more storage assets than ever are post warranty. And, if something is post-warranty, why not consider alternative hardware support models other than what the OEM would lead you toward. Some of us refer to those strategies as the “OEM Refresh Treadmill” and that phrase likely resonates with your experience. Think it’s possible to build a better treadmill?

OEM Refresh Treadmill

Throughout the world, there is a rapidly growing independent support industry that has grown greatly in credibility over the last five years – even though several providers are more than 20 years old. For decades, this industry has been referred to as “Third-Party Maintenance (TPM).” Many of us in this industry really dislike that name because it does not directly address the real value propositions we offer to those who are more and more extending lifecycles of their SAN arrays, tape libraries, etc.

If you were to aggregate all your post warranty storage into one list, with annual OEM support costs itemized, this list would help you to garner support pricing from a few respected third party maintainers. On average, you’ll see aggregate annual support costs run 50-60% less than OEM pricing. Very old systems will see 70% savings because of OEM pricing models to fiscally force the tech refresh. But, even four-year-old storage assets will see significant cost reductions.

Over the years, we have witnessed hundreds/thousands of instances when a new client chose our company to support post warranty storage so they could drive savings necessary to conduct a capital expense for the latest awesome technology. It’s especially rewarding when the number of assets included permits the fiscal relief necessary to make the purchase – but far more savings than they expected, or even required.

In lieu of that OEM tech refresh treadmill that is hugely expensive, why not embrace a “TPM Treadmill” that allows you to buy the NEW cool stuff every few years. Quite frankly, once post-warranty is reached, the savings you’re seeking start to pile up exponentially. When “treadmills” were meant to be healthy, why not welcome a better model that directly serves your interests?

New to understanding the TPM industry? Here are four 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?”
3. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Enterprise Trends in Hardware Lifecycle Extension Strategies”
4. “CIO/CTO Evidence: Financial Impacts from Hardware Support Strategy Remodeling”


#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.