Tidbits For EMC, Dell, or NetApp Shops Considering Third-Party Maintenance

I’ve gotten quite a few questions over the years when it comes to third-party maintenance (aka post-warranty support). While many of the general themes seem to emerge over and over again, these questions often tend to be technology specific, and we know the technology itself does change to meet new challenges. So in the spirit of transparency, here’s what I’m hearing these days with regard to some of the storage technologies we support, along with a few things to be thinking about if you’re a potential consumer of post-warranty support.

  1. EMC VNX – As EMC deals with an acquisition and attempts to move customers to VNX2 or XtremIO, we continue to see lots of customers looking for options to extend the life of their first-generation VNX systems. Quite frankly, the fact that the technology behind VNX is essentially a combination of CLARiiON and Celerra makes it relatively easy for third parties to support—if their engineers understand the intricacies of both.

  2. EMC Data Domain – I’ve spoken with a few customers who are a little irritated over EMC’s end-of-life policies, complex and expensive licensing, and of course rising maintenance costs with Data Domain. Some of those customers are considering alternative backup/dedup technologies like ExaGrid or even a cloud alternative. However, the process of deciding on a new backup technology can take a long time, as can the process of implementing it. That said, keep in mind that companies like ReluTech can be more flexible and offer support contracts that are less than 1 year in duration, meaning you don’t have to feel rushed to make that decision or migrate entirely off of your Data Domain before EMC support expires.

  3. EMC VMAX – We can support it! Until recently, EMC’s untouchable SymmWin software made third-party VMAX support impossible. However, you can now get monitoring on your VMAX without using SymmWin, meaning you can save around $100,000 vs. EMC support costs. Obviously, you may have a healthy skepticism toward putting an enterprise system like VMAX under support with a third party, but it’s worth a discussion if EMC is attempting to strong-arm you into a refresh.

  4. Dell EqualLogic – Nice product. Easy to use. Almost as easy to maintain with competent technicians.

  5. Dell Compellent – Compellent isn’t quite the slam dunk that a VNX or NetApp is, but it can be done in certain circumstances. Dell’s acquisition of Compellent made for two distinct generations of product with very different firmware, meaning your maintenance provider needs to understand these differences thoroughly to keep you from getting in a bind. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation about it, but make sure the person on the other end understands your specific system before pulling the trigger.

  6. NetApp – It’s all about 7-Mode vs. CDOT. Technically, we can support both, but you probably don’t want to put one system from a CDOT Cluster under our support while others remain with NetApp. This is because you’ll no longer have access to OS upgrades for that one system. However, if your Filer is in 7-Mode and you have no plans to move to CDOT, you can feel safe in moving to third-party maintenance (and saving 40-70% in doing so) because NetApp has apparently stopped releasing updates for 7-Mode.

December is right around the corner, and one thing stands to reason. If December is the biggest month for IT sales (and it is), then it would have to be the biggest month for maintenance renewals. If you feel like you’re getting squeezed, strong-armed, or misled by your VAR or OEM in their attempt to push you to a newer technology, we’d love to have a discussion with you about where our maintenance could make sense.

Get in touch with a maintenance expert here.