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Five Things You Need to Know About Hardware Maintenance and Mission-Critical IT Infrastructure Management

Five Things You Need to Know About Hardware Maintenance and Mission-Critical IT Infrastructure Management

Your data center infrastructure is mission critical and needs to be managed using best practices. Here are five critical areas you need to focus on:

What and where are your mission-critical IT infrastructure assets?

Simple as it sounds, keeping an up-to-date asset inventory of critical IT data center and remote location assets is anything but. In larger enterprises, asset management software is typically deployed to track valuable IT assets; however, many smaller organizations rely on manual inventory lists that are hard to maintain and quickly become outdated or forgotten as IT asset management responsibilities are reassigned within IT support departments. If you don’t know what you have deployed, it can be challenging to maintain operational budget compliance, pass internal and external audits, and identify hardware maintenance schedules or end-of-life infrastructure, which increases your risk profile.

Quest’s KACE asset management and end-point deployment software tool offers a good value for small to medium-sized businesses. More info at: https://www.quest.com/kace/

Are your mission-critical IT assets currently under some type of support agreement, either through the OEM’s warranty or extended warranty agreements?

There are three parts to this question. One is licensing compliance. The second is firmware and software revision control, and the third is when the support and licensing agreements are to be renewed. It's important to engage all stakeholders within the enterprise in an annual review to ensure that systems meet current and future growth and performance requirements. Decisions regarding system refresh, performance tuning and planning for future growth should be encouraged at these times.

Dell’s DPACK, a free, memory-resident performance gathering tool is an excellent solution for reporting all physical and virtual systems performance and resource utilization. More info at: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/learn/dpack

Is there an opportunity to enhance mission-critical IT infrastructure?

Many IT organizations are asked to continue to support workload and user growth with little to no increase in operating and capital budgets (sound familiar?) This can force a “set and forget” practice of installing and configuring IT resources initially, then moving on to other priority projects, having no choice but to leave the old resource configurations in place until retirement. What many IT department leaders may not realize is that with some relatively inexpensive software tools, it is possible to put a “dollars and cents” figure to this practice.

Quest’s vFoglight is a tool that applies value to each resource, and can identify savings that are available, based on recommended reconfigurations. More info at: https://www.quest.com/foglight/

Are internal infrastructure support resources being utilized properly?

In today’s heterogeneous computing, storage and networking environments, it is challenging to maintain the necessary depth of certifications and knowledge within the organization’s support structure. For this reason, third-party maintenance options from trusted partners, such as user groups and online forums — or, if budgets permit, professional services available from independent support and service organizations like Abtech Technologies — are critical to maintaining your infrastructure. More info at: www.abtechtechnologies.com

Should you engage an independent (multi-vendor) IT infrastructure support partner?

The answer here is…why not try? Tap your professional network and ask your associates at other companies who they've used for hardware maintenance in the past, and how they rate the experience. Select one or two recommendations for potential support partners and engage them in discussions regarding your environment, goals and objective (such as performance vs. cost, high availability vs. hardware costs, etc.) Check their client references and speak with not only the account reps, but also the customer engineers, both local and remote.

Randy Henniger is a Senior Support Specialist at Abtech Technologies, based in Carlsbad, CA. Randy has more than 30 years of experience in enterprise solutions and services with IBM, Dell/EMC, HP, Western Digital and Data Switch. Abtech Technologies is an independent IT support and services company with thousands of clients and support centers around the U.S. More info at: www.abtechtechnologies.com.

The Cost Benefits of Investing in a Third Party IT Maintenance Services

Working with a third-party ensures your company gets unmatched support in your system upgrades and updates and lets you relax knowing that anything or any issue related to IT that will arise will get the significant attention needed at no extra cost. With 24-hour monitoring services and flexible alternatives offered by third-party firms, the cost benefits enjoyed by the organization are huge. Contact us now for more information.

When is it Appropriate to Move From OEM Support to Third-Party Maintenance?

No doubt you've had considerable experience with OEM support ending on your IT equipment over the years. If you're experiencing this for the first time, it might incite a bit of minor panic since you've perhaps relied on this support for a while. Original equipment manufacturers frequently want to move on from legacy support because they want to build their own future.

In many ways, OEM support ending after two or more years is a symbiotic process, if by force. They're essentially weaning you off OEM support reliance so you can benefit from third-party maintenance.

Going with a third-party maintenance plan isn't a bad transition for various reasons, though you'll want to know when it's appropriate. It's better to transition before your OEM support ends so you won't have to scramble to find something suitable.

Declining Value in OEM Support Agreements

For some IT equipment, it's sometimes possible to enter a longer OEM support agreement than others. Often, they'll allow you to enjoy several years of support and then extend to a limited point through contract renewals.

Maybe you're doing this now. Regardless, it's worth noting as each year ensues, you're receiving less support value. Since many IT manufacturers want to move forward to provide new technologies you'll want to buy, they don't waste time with an entire decade or more of support privileges.

When you start losing OEM support value, it could place you in jeopardy if you have a serious IT issue arise. An emergency might come up and you'll realize the 24/7 support you once enjoyed is now extremely limited or non-existent.

If you find yourself in a tech emergency on a weekend or holiday, you're basically left on your own to find technical help.

This is why you're better off switching to third-party maintenance before your OEM support starts to degrade in quality.

The Growth of Third-Party Maintenance

Dissatisfaction with OEM support is one of the main reasons companies switch to third-party maintenance recently. According to statistics, 75% of companies make this switch because OEM support didn't help with changing business requirements.

Data like this shows why maintenance from outside sources has rapid growth in IT departments worldwide.

When you find a new maintenance team, you're going to discover they give you far more benefits than if sticking long-term with the OEM process.

Costs and Customization

It's going to cost less hiring a third-party maintenance company because you're basically outsourcing much of the technical help. They already have a dedicated team that's going to monitor your IT equipment and even provide remote support when needed. In many cases, this means using pre-owned equipment, despite many businesses preferring this to save money.

You're also giving yourself far more freedom. OEM support systems frequently prevent you from using your network for the entirety of its useful life. Now you can, including adding things to it the original manufacturer didn't allow.

Better IT Management

Keep in mind you're going to receive excellent IT management going through a third-party source. Many of these maintenance companies offer IT advisors, something you wouldn't find with the OEM.

Through your advisor, they'll guide you through any upgrades you want to do, the best equipment to use, and how much money you should spend.

With the new trend being decoupling hardware and software to extend the tech life cycle, a new IT paradigm is already here. Keeping costs under control is obviously a major hurdle for all companies. Now you can stop playing risk, especially when relying on security technology.

Visit us at Abtech Technologies to ask about our security products to augment business continuity and compliance.