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Why every IT manager should consider third-party data center maintenance

Third Party Maintenance
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The majority of today’s businesses would not be able to operate without their data centers. Thus, it’s surprising to hear that IT managers report lacking in resources needed to keep an eye on the data centers and tackle any issues at their inception.

Many fail to address problems on time, resulting in expensive downtime and a tarnished brand image among their customers. 

To make matters even more complicated, businesses are forced into keeping a mixed breed of servers for their data centers, with some being in physical, and other in virtual locations. 

These things make long-term data center support a challenge, but some companies have tackled the problem, head-on.

In-house or not

A new Technogroup study has shown that more than half of IT managers run their IT systems in their own data centers, in-house. A fifth is trying to go with the best of both worlds, running their systems from both in-house data centers and external ones. The dark horse in this race - co-location - is only being used by 4% of the respondents, right now.

The report also found that half of IT managers operate their data centers with the help of an in-house IT department. A fifth (21%) employ an external partner to help their in-house team, while 17% use nothing but third-party service providers.

Third-party service providers to the rescue

Independent third-party service providers, who began their road to fame by managing legacy equipment only, have become an indispensable part of data center management for many. The report states that a third of IT managers are now planning on outsourcing standard tasks, to free up the time for more creative, and business-critical operations. 

These partners are capable of reducing downtime, securing the virtual premises, and as such, ensuring business continuity. At the same time, firms free up valuable time to grow and improve their business.

Advantages of outsourcing data center maintenance

Earlier in this article, we’ve mentioned the core benefits - third-party service providers are vendor-agnostic and help IT managers focus on what’s important. But there are other benefits to third-party maintenance providers which may not be that obvious at first:

  • Less confusion with fewer points of contact
  • Great Return on Investment (RoI)
  • Technical support, regardless of the manufacturer

Less confusion and fewer points of contact

When it comes to both hardware and software, businesses are rarely locked into a single vendor. Instead, they cherry-pick the best of the best for their business, and their particular use case. 

Technogroup’s study has found that almost four in five (78%) of firms with data centers use multiple Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Almost a third (31%) use up to five different OEMs, while half (47%) use up to seven. 

The caveat here is that should anything break down, businesses need to take it up with numerous service contracts that all have different prices and different MOs, not to mention administration and paperwork. 

When a piece of equipment breaks down, does the IT manager know exactly who to reach out to? How fast can that team respond? This can turn into a key question, especially if that specific piece of equipment is essential for the business.

By deploying third-party maintenance, the number of required points of contact (PoC) drops down to just one, streamlining the process and causing less confusion. As a matter of fact, almost three in four (71%) see fewer PoCs as super valuable.

Great ROI

Most businesses nowadays operate on technological solutions, and as such, maintaining the good health of the gear becomes pivotal. The sad reality is that this is rarely reflected in the organization’s IT budget, as maintenance is often the least of people’s concerns. 

Businesses that don’t care for their equipment often have to handle service interruptions, downtime, and even extra costs incurred by the need to replace broken gear. 

There’s plenty of money to be lost here, as well. The Technogroup report says businesses can save anywhere between 50% and 70% in hardware maintenance, by simply deploying third-party service providers. 

They also cut down on the time needed to fix, and maintain their gear. That, in turn, further saves around 20% of their budget. For a handful of the report’s respondents (7%), savings go up to 50%. 

Technical support, regardless of the manufacturer

Here are a few ugly truths about OEM maintenance providers: they understand their product very well, and are capable of making it work flawlessly - in the perfect environment, just as the OEM envisioned it. 

However, a piece of hardware is rarely added to the perfect environment. Every organization is different, and every organization uses different gear. When that gear interacts with one another, the problems and complications that could arise, may not be something OEM maintenance providers know or have experience with.

This brings us to the second ugly truth - they will rather try and sell the business a new product, than bother making the old one work again. Not only is this costly for many firms, but it also doesn’t guarantee the problems will be fixed. 

Instead, what they’re doing here is putting a fresh coat of paint on (potentially) cracked foundations. 

With proper maintenance, a piece of hardware can last a lot longer than you think. That leaves up plenty of funds to be spent elsewhere. 

All of these things add up to the key conclusion - having proper hardware and software support is essential for the health and longevity of a business. IT managers should keep in mind not just the cost of a third-party maintenance provider, but also the quality of service, as well as their business’ overall goal. Third-party maintenance providers can take them a few steps closer to that goal.