White Papers

Expert Global Data Center Support

Excerpt: “The ‘simple fix’ is getting harder and harder to make a reality. Data centers at most company locations, carry server, storage and network product hardware from many manufacturers. This means hardware support contracts from many providers, all with different terms, pricing, policies help desk and delivery service levels. To categorize this as a complex issue, is treating it lightly, because if not careful, you could pay far too much and spend critical management time ensuring others make the grade”.

Managing your data center support to the metrics that will make your organization successful can be a daunting task.  This whitepaper provides some insight into keeping your eye on key areas can make a difference as you evaluate, plan and execute.

Managing IT Lifecycle:  Managed Services

Excerpt: “The secret, of course, is in finding ‘the right partner’ for PMO development from the beginning. While this can be a function of a number of variables, such as corporate culture, breadth of expertise, expected time of engagement, and quoted costs, the first step lies in identifying the best use of the resources you currently have, and then comparing managed service providers on the basis of the priority projects they either allow you to focus on apart from PMO, or equip you to focus on when you otherwise couldn’t without them”.

Is it time to consider how your organization staffs data center activities for support or ongoing activity?  What makes sense for your situation?  This whitepaper provides some insight into common areas of change that must be addressed to get the results you are after.

Transition Support

Excerpt: “Whether due to increasing costs, service missteps, product incompatibility or for a host of other reasons, you are considering a change to a different data center hardware maintenance provider. This entails careful analysis and most likely a bid process or other request for proposals from qualified providers, a list that may be long if research into possible providers has been thorough.  It’s time to pay attention to details and come away with your best options.  Let’s get started”.

So you’ve made some changes in the data center and now its time to make sure that you implement them as planned.  What are the areas that must be managed and how can you stay on top of things that could throw you off the tracks?  This whitepaper provides some guidance and raises issues you need to consider in any transition.

Maintenance and Server Consolidation

Excerpt: “It’s worth calling special attention to the fact that according to the Uptime Institute, the potential savings in hardware maintenance costs are estimated to be three times greater than the savings in energy costs, even though energy savings are the reason most often given as the driver of consolidation projects…”

Server consolidation projects come in all shapes and sizes, but they share some common features. Whether driven by increased virtualization, cloud migration or hardware upgrades, server consolidation can dramatically impact support contracts and warranty coverage. This white paper examines some of these often-overlooked considerations, to help businesses take advantage of maintenance cycles without being hampered by OEM or other external upgrade pressures.

4 Common Causes of Maintenance Overspending

Excerpt: “Businesses routinely overspend anywhere from 20% to 40% or more on annual hardware maintenance by failing to completely address at least 4 common issues that increase hardware maintenance costs. These 4 issues are within the grasp of most organizations to improve or completely correct on their own, without depending on a specific vendor, tool, or provider to rescue them, and the solutions require no specialized knowledge beyond normal IT skill sets…”

This white paper developed from a popular 2013 blog series investigating four broad areas where a set-it-and-forget-it attitude creates hard costs and reduces overall IT effectiveness: imperfect asset management issues, unnecessary retention policies following server consolidations/virtualization, failing to optimize warranty subscriptions such as SMARTnet, and mismatched service levels. Each issue is considered in some depth with various solutions across multiple IT and management roles.

Comparing OEM and Independent Hardware Maintenance

Excerpt: “An OEM might urge upgrades to the point that hardware is swapped out long before any objective benefits reach fruition. Beyond that, OEM technicians may bear a significant amount of pressure to drive sales, to the point that some of them may even have a sales quota…”

Despite representing a multi-billion-dollar global market, not everyone is familiar with what independent hardware maintenance is. The main advantages of third party maintenance consolidation are presented, as well as a few of the factors that commonly place OEMs in conflict with their hardware customers when it comes to servicing aging models and declaring systems to be end of service life.

Ten Questions You Must Ask When Selecting a Hardware Maintenance Provider

Excerpt:”The answers received will determine the best fit for the datacenter based on real priorities – which may be budget, high service levels, speed, ease of use, or other factors – rather than accepting a one-size-fits-all solution that has the potential to score poorly in all such categories…”

Developed in tandem with our February 2014 webinar series, this white paper suggests ten specific questions to ask prospective hardware maintenance service providers in the course of negotiations prior to renewing service contracts. By applying them consistently across RFPs, IT stakeholders can objectively compare providers with metrics tailored to the individual business. These questions can help drive lower costs in the present as well as identifying best-fit providers for the future.

Better Management of Available IT Talent

Excerpt:” And worse, by favoring steady state over innovation, the stability and predictability of systems is illusory because marketplaces themselves are not predictable or particularly stable over time..”

Human resources are the third leg of the IT stool along with Hardware and Software. This white paper investigates how to push necessary but laborious maintenance tasks onto a broad spectrum multivendor service provider in order to relieve pressure and improve morale for skilled IT personnel, and to free up human resources to use in more creative and profitable business objectives. It investigates the balance between maintenance and innovation from a hardware and personnel perspective, rather than limiting it to a software-only issue.

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