In recent years, digitization and economic conditions have increased the pressure on IT. Not only more innovation is required, but also the reduction of IT costs. At the top of the list of the biggest expenses is the operation and maintenance of the network. Many companies rely on Cisco products to set up their networks. The devices work very reliably and usually perform all their tasks without any problems. However, Cisco is also one of the most expensive providers in the network technology market. Especially due to the strong partner structures and the aggressive growth strategy, Cisco has earned itself an almost incontestable position at the top of network products. Many companies are now struggling with the dilemma of having to reduce network costs on the one hand, while on the other having little room for negotiation in order to prevail against this giant.
In this article, we want to show you a way to reduce your ongoing network costs while keeping the risk as low as possible. We will guide you through an alternative to Cisco maintenance and tell you what to look out for. We’ll explain the term Third Party Mainenance (TPM) and teach you tips and tricks on how to distinguish the good from the bad.
Cisco Specialist at the Best Price
With decades of experience, we know what it takes to maintain your Cisco network components. Benefit not only from our experience, but also from our excellent prices. Get a quote now and compare for yourself.
The network: The control centre of the company
The network is playing an increasingly important role in most companies. Hardware such as printers or data storage devices are increasingly being deployed over the network, just like software on a server. In industry, more and more machines are also controlled via the network. Therefore, a functioning technology in this area is of great importance for a smooth production process. A network failure therefore leads to a situation in which more and more companies no longer have a working process running properly. High financial losses are the result.
Cisco: The market leader in the field of network technology
Cisco is not only one of the largest technology groups in the world, it is also the undisputed market leader in the field of network technology for commercial users. The reason for this is that Cisco’s products make it easy and reliable to set up a network. In this sensitive area in particular, many customers are prepared to bear the additional costs of this provider’s relatively expensive equipment. In return, they benefit from a reliable network that barely suffers any failures. The losses due to a network failure would be significantly higher in most cases.
Cost factor Maintenance Contract: Manufacturer maintenance directly with the Cisco partner
Since the network is one of the most sensitive areas in many companies, maintenance is also of great importance. Despite the high reliability of Cisco equipment, problems cannot be ruled out. Therefore, fast help is always required in this area in order to keep the damage as low as possible. In order to guarantee this, it is a good idea to conclude a network maintenance contract.
Most customers opt for maintenance directly from the manufacturer. This means that the Cisco partner from whom you purchased the equipment is responsible for maintenance. There are different offers. For example, the SMARTnet maintenance package is very popular.
Cisco Maintenance at a Glance
- Access to the Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Center): This means that your Cisco partner can open a so-called TAC case with Cisco. The TAC case is a precise error diagnosis that Cisco carries out itself and provides clear proposals for solutions. It is important to know that TAC support may only be contacted by the Cisco partner and not by the end customer. Very good Cisco partners, however, solve 98 percent of the errors without the help of the manufacturer.
- Access to the Troubleshooting Tools from Cisco.com. For this purpose, the partner creates a Cisco Connection Online (CCO) account for the customer, with which he has free access to the most important tools and knowledge databases at Cisco.
- Cisco Software Support.
- Cisco Hardware Support.
Each Cisco partner has a status assigned by the network group. It is therefore useful to briefly describe this system. The status fundamentally determines which conditions the partner receives from Cisco and can therefore also pass on to its customers. The Cisco partner achieves the various levels and specializations significantly through the turnover, the number of certified employees and the quality of the services. In principle, partners with Gold status almost always offer the highest quality services.
If you are setting up a network with Cisco equipment, you should be aware that this will also affect future maintenance. Maintenance is always done by the same partner you purchased the hardware from. Only if you are very dissatisfied with the services can you contact Cisco directly to request a change. However, the company will only agree if there are good reasons for doing so. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a partner with high status from the outset in order to benefit from reliable maintenance afterwards.
Reduce costs with the TPM Alternative
Maintenance by Cisco is usually very reliable, but it is relatively expensive. As a result, more and more users are choosing to hire a TPM provider. The costs are usually much lower. You can save up to 50 percent.
However, some caution is required. In contrast to pure hardware maintenance, network maintenance is much more complicated. With a data storage device, for example, it is quite easy to detect and replace a defective hard disk. In a network, however, the problems are often very diffuse. For example, the transmission speed may decrease or individual services of the network may occasionally fail. In this case it is not enough to simply exchange a router or a switch. However, an in-depth analysis is required. Not all third-party vendors have enough qualified personnel to perform high-quality Cisco maintenance.
The criteria for a reliable service by a third party provider
Nevertheless, there are some third-party providers that offer high-quality network maintenance and are significantly cheaper than the network giant’s partners. However, the service provider for Cisco maintenance must meet a number of criteria in order to carry out maintenance reliably.
On the one hand, it is important that the technicians are very well qualified and experienced. This is because there is no protection from Cisco. If the maintenance service provider is unable to rectify the error, it remains in place. In addition, it is necessary for the third-party provider to have access to CCO. This is indispensable for the recognition of the problems. If the service provider in question is not a Cisco partner itself, there is only one option: at least one employee must have the CCIE certificate. This is the highest certification that Cisco issues. It is only valid for three years and must therefore be renewed again and again. Only this certificate provides access to the CCO system for companies that are not Cisco partners. This is especially important for software-related problems. The CCO account enables technicians to download and install programs to correct the relevant errors. However, it is important to note that bug fixes and updates are only free of charge within the release you originally purchased. If you want to upgrade to the next major release with new features, you will have to pay a fee.
One of the few maintenance providers that meets these criteria is hardwarewartung.com. It employs several experienced CCIE-certified technicians. They have the necessary know-how and access to CCO. Therefore hardwarewartung.com can solve almost all problems with your network. Should an error nevertheless occur that cannot be rectified, this service provider uses Cisco’s TAC service at his own expense. However, due to the qualified technicians, this is not necessary in 98 percent of orders. However, you can be completely reassured by the additional security, as your problems will always be solved.
Hardwarewartung.com: All Benefits at a Glance
Manufacturer-independent hardware maintenance throughout Europe
Save up to 50 percent of SMARTnet cost and Maintenance costs for the same or better service
Access to CCO and TAC support
Cisco router and switch maintenance well beyond the end of life period.
Around the clock spare parts availability through our own warehouse and logistics
24 x 7 Service hours
Our response time is up to two hours
Call-to-Repair in up to 4 hours
Hardware Maintenance: Here the TPM providers are clearly superior, even for older networks.
As far as pure hardware maintenance is concerned, a third-party provider is almost always superior to the manufacturer’s maintenance contracts. The service is not only cheaper, but also significantly better because it is the core business of the maintenance provider. While Cisco only supports older devices for a relatively short period of time, other maintenance companies set up their own warehouse for the required spare parts. As a result, they can still repair the corresponding routers and switches long after the end of life. For this reason, this service is particularly suitable for companies that set up their network several years ago.
Conclusion: good savings through TPM
Die Kosten für Wartungsangebote bei einem TPM-Anbieter sind fast immer deutlich geringer als bei einem Cisco-Partner. Der Wechsel bietet daher eine gute Möglichkeit, um die Kosten für den Betrieb des Netzwerks zu reduzieren. Allerdings ist bei der Auswahl des Anbieters Vorsicht geboten. Nicht immer sind die Wartungsdienste eines TPM-Anbieters ausreichend, um einen zuverlässigen Betrieb zu gewährleisten. Wenn Sie sich jedoch an ein Unternehmen wie hardwarewartung.com wenden, profitieren Sie nicht nur von einem günstigen Preis, sondern auch von einem ausgezeichneten Service. Hinsichtlich des Troubleshootings und der Softwarewartung ist das Angebot hierbei den Diensten eines Cisco-Partners ebenbürtig. Im Bereich der Hardwarewartung profitieren Sie sogar von deutlich besseren Möglichkeiten. So können Sie die Kosten in Ihrem Unternehmen reduzieren und genießen dennoch einen zuverlässigen Service für die Wartung Ihres Netzwerks.