Vendors and partners are aligned to you for one thing only; to make money from your data storage and backup requirements. We have worked within many companies in the storage industry, across different verticals and across the spectrum from vendors, distribution, channel partners, system integrators and end-users. All, except for the latter, are interested in one thing, making money off the end-users.
All data storage vendors are, naturally, sales driven and therefore even if their current offering might not be an exact best fit for your requirements, you will continue to use it because it works to a certain extent and because of the relationship in place.
Ideally, you need a partner that will provide you with a good fit for your requirements, deliver good service levels, increase or maintain your availability and deliver a high level of quality. This is the same as buying a new car, and when that car starts to become too expensive to maintain, you buy a new car. Simple as that.
Storage vendors have a 3-4 year cycle on hardware and companies will write off this asset over this period. Software support is usually done on a year-by-year basis, however in terms of enterprise licensing could be done over longer periods depending on the vendor and size of the environments. Ongoing professional services will either be done on a daily rate or encompassed as part of a project/solution.
Business partners often are the buffer between the vendor and end user and usually have better skills and are quicker to react to projects, consultancy and support issues. The best partners in the market are vendor agnostic, therefore offering an objective view point and are focused on making sure the right technology choice for each business requirement is met.
These are few and far between, as most are vendor aligned.
Ideally the best storage partners should provide a yearly contract which includes the following:-
* completely technology independent.
* highly experienced team with vast market knowledge.
They would offer:-
* quarterly review of storage estate
* current cost of ownership report
* running costs of current data storage and backup footprint (analysis based on TB/per person)
* strategy outlined and aligned with necessary budget
* discuss new roadmaps, proactive technology updates and potential cost savings within environment.
* provide additional services through project management, implementation or support services at a fixed price for the year.
* handle partner and vendor relationships to increase discounts and offerings.
However most companies settle for the following:-
* hardware vendor tie in based on a long term contract with an agreed increase of incremental costs.
* multi-vendor relationships which are time consuming to manage.
* preferred supplier lists which do not change and the same service levels are provided without much value add.
* partners and vendors provide a minimum level of consultancy on projects and charge for consultancy at a premium.
* customer led fact finding and POC’s for the right technologies.
* every engagement or additional product feature has exorbitant costs associated.
* Strategy is not thought through and storage expenditure is sporadic which is costly as good discounts are not achieved.
In times where companies want to make as many savings as possible, we would always suggest you review your current data storage partner/vendor to make sure you are getting the best value from their services.