Third-Party Maintenance FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ReluTech’s prices are derived from determining the likely cost of a contract over time. We provide fair prices that are designed to help customers maximize the useful life of their systems. Ultimately, the question becomes, “Why are OEM prices so high?” The answer is that most OEMs artificially inflate the price of maintenance renewals so that you will have an incentive to refresh to the latest generation of technology. This is why our price is usually 40-80% less than theirs.
We provide service level agreements (SLAs) that customers are already used to, plus a few more to increase flexibility. We offer 24x7x4, 9x5xNBD, remote-only, and customized SLAs.
Since ReluTech is also a stocking wholesaler of pre-owned and new surplus equipment from the major OEMs, we can supply properly tested equipment and spare parts needed to service various systems.
Once a customer places a ticket (or if an automated alert sends notification of a failure), the helpdesk will either dispatch the appropriate part and/or field technician or escalate the issue one time to the appropriate engineer for troubleshooting. In many cases, the helpdesk will request logs prior to dispatch in order to ensure proper resolution. Customers may open support tickets by calling or emailing the 24-hour helpdesk.
Absolutely not. While manufacturers often do this, we do not. ReluTech only needs to ensure that a system is functioning properly prior to putting it under support.
ReluTech supports systems across the globe, and we can provide 24x7x4 coverage for every major North American market. If your equipment is located within 100 miles of a major North American city, we can service it. For certain remote areas that are more than 100 miles from a major city, ReluTech may only be able to provide next-business-day service, but it is best to check your account executive to see what level(s) of coverage we can provide.
For many storage arrays, ReluTech is able to use the native email alerting features to redirect call-home alerts. This is done as a best practice at no charge. For equipment that doesn’t have a call-home feature, we offer a monitoring add-on option (at an additional cost) using a third-party software. Consult your account executive for options here.
Spare parts are kept at local depots or, in some cases with the customer’s permission, on site with the customer.
In almost all cases, yes! A select few systems are complex enough that we request you leave the replacements up to the field technicians. For the vast majority of systems, though, we are happy to deliver replacement parts so that you can perform the simple replacement. Many customers prefer this method, because it cuts down on planning time, coordination, and having to plan around data center access times.
ReluTech believes that maintenance contracts are critical to protecting IT infrastructure, but we also believe this should not come with an overwhelming price tag that prevents you from investing in more strategic initiatives. Many of our competitors have the same philosophy. We are different, though…
Because ReluTech offers expert engineering resources who understand the OS (and usually the advanced software suites) within a product line, you will have access to a certain level of software support/troubleshooting. Software updates, on the other hand, are intellectual property of the OEM (please see next FAQ for a full explanation).
As a general rule, third-party maintenance providers are not permitted to provide software patches or updates, as they are intellectual property of the manufacturer. (There are a few notable exceptions in which we can legally acquire software, so consult your account executive if there’s a specific system or product line you’re curious about.) Since software updates are proprietary, third-party support may not make sense in all situations, particularly those in which compliance or internal policy dictate that you have ongoing access to the newest OS versions. Most organizations, however, choose TPM despite this limitation for the following reasons:
- The OS is stable. By the time the initial manufacturer warranty expires, a storage, server, or networking platform is usually at least 4-5 years, meaning the OS has stabilized. This is because the vast majority of bugs are found and resolved within the first 2-3 years of a platform’s release (the same can arguably be said for any meaningful updates the OEM releases for a platform as well). This is why many customers upgrade once or twice a year in the first few years of ownership but slow that pace dramatically as the system gets older.
- The customer is not adding any new applications. When it comes to shared storage, one software-related concern may be that you bring on an application that doesn’t play well with your semi-outdated OS iteration. This is an unlikely scenario in the first place, but most of our customers have a fairly static purpose for any storage that is 3+ years old, and they’re simply trying to extend its useful life by a few years.
- Updates are available until your OEM support contract expires. As a customer, you can protect yourself to a certain extent by downloading any patches or updates that are available to you prior to going off OEM support—even if you choose to apply them at a later time. For the most part, our customers who do this never choose to apply the update, but they see it as one more precautionary best practice.
- The OEM has moved on. Remember how the OEM is overcharging for maintenance renewals because it is pushing you to refresh prematurely to the latest/greatest generation? In many cases, the OEM has shifted its engineering focus away from the legacy platform you are using in favor of the new product line it wants you to buy. If this is the situation, how impactful do you expect updates to your legacy product line to be?
- The cost savings are enormous. We understand that there is usually some perceived level of risk associated with losing the ability to update software. What is that worth, though? ReluTech supports hundreds of customers and thousands of systems, and we have never encountered a situation in which a customer cannot operate a system because a software update was unavailable. We encourage all of our potential customers to compare our renewal pricing to the OEM’s, consider how much risk is really involved, and perform a basic risk-reward analysis to decide for themselves if TPM is a wise decision. More often than not, we believe it will be.