Key Findings at Data Center Trends
53 percent already buy used or refurbished hardware
60 percent use third-party maintenance as a maintenance alternative
85 percent switch to multi-vendor strategy
Good equipment and reliable maintenance of the data center are indispensable for high productivity in a company. However, they are usually associated with considerable costs. In many cases, these costs significantly reduce profits. For this reason, more and more companies are deciding to break through the structures that have been common in this area for decades. A survey conducted by the Dimensional Research Institute has now substantiated this trend, which many observers of the industry have long been aware of, with reliable figures. The most important results of this study are presented in this article.
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92 percent of respondents deviate from the classic system
Until recently, it was common practice to equip the entire data center with products from a single vendor. These were, of course, new products. Maintenance was also carried out by a service directly at the manufacturer. This system offers some advantages for the users.
For example, it is very simple because all services come from one source. In addition, the companies in question expect high compatibility between the individual systems and high-quality maintenance that minimizes the risk of system failure.
However, these advantages also have considerable disadvantages. In particular, the costs are usually considerable. This already starts with the purchase. If a company limits itself to only one brand, it is difficult to compare different possibilities with each other. For example, it is not possible to select the cheapest device for each individual application, but only to compare the total costs. In addition, it is not always necessary to use virgin material. Used devices often also offer a performance that is completely sufficient for the corresponding tasks. Finally, it is possible to rely on a manufacturer-independent provider for maintenance. This, too, is usually associated with significant cost savings.
The survey, published by Dimensional Research in January 2016, focused on how often companies deviate from traditional data center equipment patterns. The authors interviewed 507 people who make decisions about data center equipment and maintenance in various companies around the world. The study concluded that 92 percent of the companies are breaking new ground in at least one of these areas.
Multi-Vendor: Turning away from focusing on one manufacturer
In particular, the restriction to a single manufacturer seems to be a thing of the past. 85 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they rely on multi-vendors in this area – i.e. suppliers who sell devices of different brands.
The proportion of decision-makers who consider the multi-vendor system to be advantageous is even higher – even if it is not always implemented. The proportion was 96 percent. The most important advantages were the optimization of expenses, greater flexibility and the avoidance of the lock-in effect, which leads to a high dependency on a single seller. The surveyed companies rely on different vendors, especially for storage systems (63%) and servers (62%). In the area of networks, the share is slightly lower at 56 percent.
Third-Party Maintenance: an unstoppable trend
In order to keep the availability of the data center as high as possible, it is important to conclude a maintenance contract. This always guarantees fast help in the event of an error. This minimizes downtime and the resulting losses. For a long time, companies have relied almost exclusively on the manufacturer’s services for this. They hoped this would provide them with reliable help with all their problems.
However, for many years there has been the possibility of commissioning a manufacturer-independent company to carry out maintenance. This is called Third-Party Maintance (TPM). The service is at least equal to the services of the manufacturer – in some areas even clearly superior. The biggest advantage is that the costs are significantly lower. Companies that opt for TPM can save up to 50 percent of maintenance costs.
The offers of these service providers are very comprehensive. Not only do they provide hardware maintenance, they also support complex systems such as networks. An example of a TPM provider is Hardware Maintenance.com. This company has very well trained technicians, its own spare parts warehouse and excellent logistics. This makes it possible to guarantee customers short repair times, which guarantees them a high level of security. A particular advantage is that Hardwarewartung.com can maintain even older systems without any problems. Since the spare parts stocks are replenished on time, it is possible to maintain the hardware long after the End of Life.
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The advantages of manufacturer-independent maintenance are also reflected in the survey results. 60 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they rely on the services of a vendor-independent provider for the maintenance of their data centers. Particularly when it comes to network management, companies like to be supported by a vendor-independent service. The share in this area is 36 percent. However, the figures for servers (35%) and data storage (32%) are also only slightly lower.
No end in sight for growth for TPM
Of the companies surveyed, 53 percent stated that the use of TPM providers has increased over the past year. 39 percent remained unchanged and only 8 percent reduced third-party maintenance. Next year, a further 45 percent of companies will leave their maintenance to a third-party maintenance specialist. 44 percent want to leave the status quo unchanged.
Not only the price speaks for the manufacturer-independent maintenance
The survey also investigated the reasons why more and more companies are opting for vendor-independent hardware maintenance services. The answers were mainly financial. At 57 percent, most companies cited the reduction in expenditure as a reason. In addition, 52 percent of those surveyed estimated the better support provided by third-party providers. In addition, 42 percent of respondents to the survey said that they had had good experience in this area and now rely more on vendor-independent vendors.
In addition, there are a number of other reasons which play a subordinate role. These include greater flexibility in the application of new technologies, such as cloud computing or virtualization. Some companies also appreciate the reduced dependence on a single vendor and the improved negotiating position when concluding a maintenance contract. Some respondents also said they would like to continue using their existing systems, even though they are no longer supported by the vendor. In this case, third-party maintenance is the only alternative.
Used hardware is becoming increasingly popular
In addition, the survey asked participants about the use of second hand hardware. Here, too, the results show that a considerable proportion of companies take advantage of this opportunity. The figure is 53 percent.
It plays an important role that new computer systems in more and more cases provide a significantly higher performance than actually necessary. Very often devices of the previous generation are completely sufficient – but much cheaper.
In addition, more and more companies are offering so-called refurbished hardware. This means that although it is a used device, it has undergone a general overhaul by a qualified specialist company. As a rule, a guarantee is even issued. This enables high cost savings while still ensuring functionality.
Continued strong growth potential available
Although a large proportion of the companies surveyed already deviate from the traditional models of hardware procurement and maintenance, traditional structures are still widespread. 55 percent of respondents said they continue to purchase service from a single source in at least one area of their data center. Particularly in the area of networks (40%), the proportion is comparatively high.
However, it can be seen that a clear change is emerging. 60 percent of those surveyed stated that in 2015 the use of non-traditional forms of hardware procurement or maintenance in their operations had increased. 54 percent of the participants also confirmed that a further increase in this area is planned for 2016.
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