Hardware maintenance is easily one of the most important parts of maintaining the servers and networks that run your business. Keeping that hardware secure and functional is an important job. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive.
Thankfully there’s a way to cut costs on your hardware maintenance contract without sacrificing the service itself. The key lies in a handful of simple tips that you can put into action to reduce your costs. Follow these five easy tips can cut costs anywhere from 20 to 70 percent, without sacrificing the service you need. In fact, in many cases it can help extend the life of older hardware systems and reduce the need for expensive upgrades.
Tip Number One: Audit Your Hardware
One easy way to cut costs is to do an in-depth audit of your hardware. What you’re looking for specifically is any hardware that you no longer use. Sometimes a piece of discontinued hardware will still be covered in your service contract, even if you no longer use it. Removing these pieces of hardware from your maintenance contract will lower the cost of the contract.
Another important reason to audit your hardware is that you may discover important hardware that isn’t covered, or that has recently run out of warranty. It’s just as important to add these to your contract as it is to remove discontinued equipment. If possible, schedule an audit of your hardware and your maintenance contract annually.
Tip Number Two: What Hardware Needs Maintenance?
Specifically, divide your hardware into two categories: high priority and normal. Any equipment on the high priority list should get the best service coverage possible within your contract. This includes servers that need to be up and running 100 percent of the time. In most cases, it will be a small fraction of your hardware infrastructure that needs to be on the high priority list.
Anything on the normal priority list can have a lower level of service in your maintenance contract. If you can afford a little downtime in relatively unused backup servers, you don’t need to have 24/7 protection on them. Most of the time, the majority of your equipment will fall into this category. Moving items off the high priority list and downgrading their service helps save money.
Tip Number Three: Stock Spares
There are a number of small hardware items that most service contracts cover, but don’t need to. Monitors, disk drives and other small devices are very easily replaceable by nearly anyone on staff. You don’t need an expensive warranty and a service call just to swap a few plugs — as long as you have a spare. Plus, a handful of spares in storage work as adequate backup against the potential failure of dozens of devices, which is a huge expense in a service contract. Plus, if none of the drives fail over the course of a year there is not cost to keeping them for the next replacement need.
Tip Number Four: Watch Older Hardware
As hardware life cycles become shorter and shorter, OEMs tend to discontinu their service – or worse, raise the rates over time until you’re spending far more than you need to. Instead of upgrading this older hardware, which most of the time works just fine, you can look into a hardware service contract from a third party maintenance provider. These providers know how to service your old hardware and keep it living long past the days the OEM would service it. It cuts costs as well.
Tip Number Five: Don’t Wait for Warranties
You don’t need to wait for a warranty to run out before you switch to a hardware maintenance company. You can just as easily switch all of your hardware contracts over now, and potentially find thousands of dollars in savings a year. There are dedicated hardware maintenance companies with both the expertise and the low rates necessary to make them a perfect fit for your business. They can even cover multiple different brands of hardware at once, eliminating the need for multiple service contracts.
Joel Nimar is the President of Pyramid Technology Services, a company specializing hardware maintenance services designed to meet specific requirements in midrange systems, networking and storage environments.