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A smarter and less expensive way to maintain data centers

Data Center

With rising energy costs and bandwidth demands, reducing a data center’s operating expenses (OpEx) to more predictable and controllable levels is imperative. For 2023 and beyond, there is a power-efficient data center solution that tackles the economic and managerial sides of the equation: third-party maintenance.

This strategy represents an effective way to minimize overhead expenses without sacrificing services or endangering new initiatives. Due to their tailored pricing models for support and maintenance, TPM providers can save anywhere between 50% to 80% of “traditional” OpEx budgets without disrupting ongoing operations.

As expected, such a modus operandi doesn’t sit well with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who rely on renewable support and maintenance contracts for much of their annual revenues.

One of the most frequent pro-OEM arguments is the necessity of regular software updates, possible only through vendor maintenance. The reality is a bit different, though, as the sheer volume of updates significantly reduces as hardware gets older. It’s a fact that thousands of companies around the globe (many of whom are among the top valued by market capitalization) have long recognized, moving away from OEM support and into TPM waters without any hiccups. 

To bolster its claim, TPM is also Gartner-approved, recognizing it as an official alternative supply category since 2016 for its massive cost-saving potential.

Steps to smart adoption

The true secret to reducing OpEx and transitioning to TPM without missing a step in day-to-day operations is careful due diligence before shortlisting specific vendors. Prior to narrowing down potential partners, thorough background checks will substantially aid your cost-saving goals and, more importantly, ensure that service quality will not be compromised throughout the changeover.

There are three key steps you should take:

  1. Pinpoint TPM providers with comparable or superior global service to what you presently have

Not every TPM is created equal, and every OEM will be the first to let you know about the dangers of making the switch. Among the more common ones is the absence of in-depth technical knowledge that only comes with proprietary hardware. 

In truth, specialized experts for maintaining printers, servers, networks, and others have been in existence and functioning within the data center for years. TPM represents a reliable method that combines maintainers' talents and technical skills with an understanding of multiple infrastructure components in a data center, thus outperforming an OEM's specific brand capabilities.

It’s essential to look for TPM providers with:

  • 24/7 availability for your entire infrastructure, including multiple locations
  • Support for all the major original equipment vendors

You want to ask comprehensive questions about their help desk capabilities and the possibility of having a central point of contact for all IT issues. This is an opportunity to be more organized and efficient with a singular ticketing system - one that saves time through workflows that prioritize service requests and resolve them quickly.

Ideally, you also want a partner who has a proven worldwide track of operations, as this likely proves (at least, on paper) they have higher-ranking staff capacity than that of an OEM.

  1. Check stocking levels

Another important facet of TPM service is identifying the stock holding volume in case you require replacement components fast. Due to their extensive inventory, TPM providers frequently dispatch replacement parts more quickly than if ordered directly from manufacturers.

Once you establish their surplus catalog is satisfactory, verify that every asset has undergone meticulous tests prior to shipment to prevent on-site failures and bottlenecked operations within the company.

You’ll also need to check for a lifetime warranty: if it exists, what it entails, if it’s limited for specific equipment, what are the provider’s obligations during the warranty period, and so on.

  1. Grant the TPM provider access for a tailored plan

It’s not unusual for highly regarded TPM companies to do much of the heavy lifting for you in terms of creating a custom plan according to your needs.

Your part is to map out hardware priorities to understand the full extent of related service levels. From there on, shortlisted TPMs should be granted access to your data center so they can take a holistic approach. As a result of their analysis, they will provide quotes for support and maintenance savings once resources and processes are prioritized according to their importance to the business. 

In addition, they will set up the necessary SLAs and provide transparent and easily understandable estimations that demonstrate yearly OpEx savings, as well as specific advice on how to proceed.

Those would be three key stages to wise integration of TPM in your organization. In a nutshell, by outsourcing data center infrastructure and management, you can drastically reduce the time, resources, and requirements associated with the data center - provided you find the right fit.