This is an age-old discussion in the IT industry. Often it seems that it is made out to be an either/or scenario, or that one side is good and the other side is evil. Of course, the good or evil branding changes based on which side of the street you are looking at it from. The more savvy or experienced IT professionals have come to realize that based on your inventory size a blend of both sides is often the healthiest solution.
In the first 3-5 years of a product’s lifespan, the OEM coverage is almost always the right way to go. The OEM will supply you with essentials like firmware updates and software patches that can help improve the functionality of your hardware and also repair any glitches or code errors found while out in the field. As your hardware matures in years 5-8+, the need for these updates becomes less and less and the true question begins to shift to the useful lifespan of the product in your environment. This is where your company is looking at the ROI on the investment of the current hardware, the cost to acquire the new hardware that your OEM is showing you, the cost to maintain your existing hardware and any shortcomings in performance that may need to be addressed.
It is during this timeframe where a TPM shines brightest. A quality TPM will be able to help you make sounds decisions based not only on your existing hardware, but we will also look at system configurations, performance reports, and your expectations to help you make the most educated decisions possible. We can look at upgrades that can save you thousands and still help meet/exceed your performance expectations while minimizing space and also increasing capacities. We can also show you cost saving maintenance options that will allow you to greatly improve your ROI on your original purchases and also any upgrades that you may choose to entertain. Often, we can extend the usable lifetime of your hardware well beyond even your expectations. As an example, there are still large quantities of tape libraries in service that have been working tirelessly since the 1980’s! Quality maintenance and cleaning, timely upgrades and quality construction allow this to happen. We all know that technology never stops advancing. Yet these machines continue to meet the requirements of their owners 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, for 40+ years. The ROI on that hardware is tough to argue with.
A short answer to the topic question is every year during your existing maintenance coverage renewal coverage period. There will be times when a quality TPM will suggest you stay with your OEM coverage on some or all of your hardware, but as the time goes on, they will be able to work with you on blending the OEM and the TPM coverage providers to truly maximize your financial returns and to responsibly grow your system as your needs change. A hybrid approach will truly become a superior option. IT hardware support is not a one size fits all product. There are decisions to be made and we are here to help you work your way through the maze, all you need to do is reach out and ask.