VxRail is a platform that offers highly efficient and seamlessly scalable solutions for deploying and managing virtualized enterprise workloads. These hyper-converged systems were jointly developed by Dell EMC and VMware in 2016 to help enterprises bridge the gap between computing demands and computing resource availability.

In the eight years since VxRail entered the market, the product has grown to assume the status of the premier hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution, thanks in part to its industry-wide adoption in data centers, edge computing environments, VDI, and hybrid cloud deployment, and its seamless integration with existing VMware solutions such as Vcentre. Vsphere, Horizon, and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF).

Today, VxRail plays a pivotal role in digital transformation initiatives of organizations across multiple sectors, ranging from IT to healthcare, research, and education. Yet, for all its benefits and applications, it comes with a caveat like most data center hardware – the End of Service Life (EOSL).

EOSL for VxRail systems signifies a date after which Dell EMC, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), would cease to provide official support services such as repair, patches, updates, and technical assistance for a particular VxRail model.

When VxRail inevitably reaches this end of service life, it tends to have significant implications for businesses running their IT operations on VxRail HCI systems. Management teams are forced to ponder their options, which are:

A) Upgrade all existing IT infrastructure to newer supported models or

B) Contact third-party maintenance providers for continuous support on EOSL VxRail systems.

In the following paragraphs, we take a look at how third-party maintenance services can offer a lifeline to help businesses extend the operational and performance lifespan of VxRail systems beyond their EOSL and avoid costly references that can wreak havoc on IT budgets.

Understanding VxRail and EOSL

End of service life (EOSL) is critical to the management of the hardware and software components of VxRail systems. When Dell EMC discontinues support for older models of VxRail, they do so for reasons bordering on system security, efficiency, performance, and scalability. These are all valid reasons that many IT-based organizations would appreciate the essentiality of. Nonetheless, because of the significance of OEM support to seamless VxRail deployment, businesses using these systems often face significant operational and security disruptions when models reach EOSL.

As of February 2024, the most popular VxRail models with imminent EOSL status include:

  • VxRail 60
  • VxRail G410/F
  • VxRail Q-chassis 1600PS12
  • VxRail Q-chassis 1200PS12
  • VxRail Q-chassis 1600PS
  • VxRail Q-chassis 1200PS
  • VxRail 240F
  • VxRail 200/F     
  • VxRail 160/F
  • VxRail 120/F
  • VxRail 280F
  • VxRail S470
  • VxRail V470
  • VxRail E460/F

The following models, on the other hand, have their EOSL dates set for April 30, 2028:

  • VxRail D560F
  • VxRail D560
  • VxRail S570
  • VxRail V570F
  • VxRail V570
  • VxRail E560N
  • VxRail E560F
  • VxRail E560
  • VxRail P570F
  • VxRail P570
  • VxRail G560F
  • VxRail G560

Challenges of EOSL for VxRail Owners

Upon VxRail systems reaching their EOSL, enterprises still owning functional hardware beyond this due date are confronted with multiple challenges on the financial, operational, and security end of business.

The most immediate fallout of EOSL is typically seen in system operations. Without OEM support, organizations using VxRail lose access to maintenance services and software updates, and their infrastructure is put at increased risk of failures and downtime.

The cessation of updates and patches from Dell EMC also exposes VxRail-powered organizations to cyberattacks and data breaches that put sensitive organisation and customer data at risk.

From a financial standpoint, the foremost concern for businesses using VxRail models approaching EOSL dates is the cost of hardware parts replacement. Upgrading older systems to newer models would consume substantial capital expenditure and divert critical resources away from other business initiatives.

The Role of Third-Party Maintenance in Extending VxRail Past EOSL Status

Third-party maintenance services play pivotal roles in alleviating the common EOSL challenges that VxRail-powered enterprises encounter. These service providers offer support and maintenance solutions that would otherwise be non-existent for VxRail systems with an EOSL status. Their services include system updates, technical guidance, troubleshooting options, and parts replacement for hardware.

Unlike OEM support, where manufacturers provide technical assistance on condition and at a specified price up until the EOSL date expires, TPM services provide a support structure focused on extending VxRail system life beyond EOSL.

The benefits of engaging third-party maintenance for VxRail systems that have reached their end of service life are manifold; these include:

  • Customized Service Level Agreements

Understanding the uniqueness of every client system demands in complex VxRail environments, TPM service providers offer custom service level agreements (SLAs) that are tailored to the business operations requirements. These include prioritizing certain support services and maintaining flexible maintenance schedules.

  • Cost Savings

Cost-saving strategies for EOSL infrastructure don’t get better than with third-party maintenance. TPM services cost significantly less when compared to the fixed support subscription contracts OEMs offer.

  • Extended Hardware Lifespan

TPM helps businesses forego the need for expensive hardware upgrades and replacements by providing maintenance and support services that extend the usable life of VxRail systems beyond their EOSL.

Besides these benefits, TPM providers are also adept at handling common VxRail issues relating to Trusted Platform Modules (TPM), virtualization, network configuration, and infrastructure expansion.

Evaluating Your Third-Party Maintenance Provider

Maintaining the security, longevity, and operational efficiency of enterprise VxRail systems beyond their EOSL date is highly dependent on choosing the right third-party maintenance provider. During this selection process, there are a few factors enterprises must consider to ensure they are getting the most effective VxRail EOSL solutions:

1. Vendor Expertise

VxRail TPM providers must be technically adept in hyper-converged infrastructures. The ideal vendor should have a proven track record of resolving complex issues and improving the performance of VxRail systems.

2. Service Level Agreements

When picking a TPM provider, enterprises should look into the key components of their service level agreements, such as uptime guarantees and response times, to ensure they align with organizational operation requirements.

3. Cost

Cost savings is an important benefit of TPM over OEM support. However, it shouldn’t come at the expense of service quality or system security. Enterprises should check TPM vendor track records of support provisioning before handing over delicate maintenance or repair tasks.

4. Customer Support

Assess the support channels of the TPM provider (phone and e-mail) to confirm their response times and the service provider’s capabilities to deliver 24/7 support.

Questions To Ask Potential TPM Providers

  1. What is your experience with VxRail systems? This information will help you understand their experience level and gauge their ability to manage your infrastructure needs.
  2. Can you provide references or case studies from similar clients? Gaining insights into the provider’s capabilities and the satisfaction levels of their past clients through references can help give an outlook of what support from such vendors will look like.
  3. What is included in your SLAs, and how are they enforced? Clarifying the details highlighted in SLAs will help you understand the scope of the provider’s services and any guarantees they offer.
  4. How do you ensure data security and compliance with regulations? Given the importance of data protection, knowing the vendor’s processes for ensuring data security and regulatory compliance is indispensable.

Asking these questions is essential when choosing a third-party maintenance provider, as they confirm the vendor of choice possesses the requisite experience in VxRail systems needed to efficiently diagnose and resolve system issues as they arise. This puts enterprises in a strong position to receive unbridled customer support and strategic advice on system optimization, expansion, or futureproofing.

Preparing VxRail Systems for Third Party Maintenance

To execute a seamless transition from OEM support to TPM services without impacting system performance or business operations, enterprises using VxRail systems must prepare for the shift well in advance of EOSL dates. Approaches to consider during this preparation phase include:

  • Conducting an Assessment of Current VxRail Infrastructure

This includes the comprehensive documentation of hardware and software configurations, specific workloads, and custom integrations that may be running on enterprise systems. Building this baseline understanding helps TPM providers tailor their services to meet your enterprise needs.

  • Understanding Your Support Requirements

For many enterprises, certain support requirements are non-negotiable. As such, before transitioning to TPM solutions, support needs such as hardware replacement policies, response times, and security compliance requirements should be ironed out before signing with a TPM vendor if onsite service is necessary.

 Best Practises for Working with A TPM Provider

  • Early And Open Communication

Starting early maintenance discussions with a TPM provider well before OEM support expires allows you both an engagement period to address any complexities that may arise from your VxRail infrastructure.

  • Clearly Defined Service Scope

Service Level Agreements should clearly outline the range of services the TPM vendor will provide; this ensures both parties are on the same page regarding operations.

  • Plan For a Transition

Transitioning plans should give room for an onboarding period to help TPM crews understand how an organization’s VxRail systems functions.

  • Prioritise Data Security and Compliance

Discuss ahead with TPM providers how they handle sensitive information and ensure they’re in compliance with data security regulations affecting your industry before trusting them with your infrastructure support.

Key Takeaway

Third-party maintenance (TPM) is a great solution for keeping VxRail systems beyond the End of Service Life (EOSL) by combining cost-cutting and customized service level agreements (SLAs). These benefits underscore the significance of TPM in tackling EOSL challenges and make it possible for enterprises to continue to rely on their VxRail architecture for their core operations without having to carry out costly upgrades or replacements. With VxRail systems becoming an essential element of digital transformation initiatives across different business sectors, the importance of strategic planning cannot be overemphasized.

IT teams should evaluate their current VxRail systems and consider the advantages of partnering with a TPM provider such as ReluTech. ReluTech provides IT support services that can help organizations identify a customized support plan that aligns with their operations, hence ensuring their VxRail systems remain reliable and robust assets. Contact ReluTech today to get a custom assessment of your VxRail infrastructure and explore how ReluTech TPM crews can extend its performance and lifespan beyond its EOSL.