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We are considering moving from Dell to Supermicro servers. The main concern from management is what to do with maintenance. What do you guys do for same day onsite service maintenance plans?

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A year later... I'm curious as to how the migration went. –  ewwhite Nov 4 '12 at 21:22
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up vote 15 down vote accepted

Have your own collection of spare parts, tools, and people who know how to use them. Relying on any third party for time-critical support is a fast road to stress, pain, and suffering.

You may think that you have an agreement with a service provider, but I can guarantee you that it is neither as iron-clad as you might think, nor does it have sufficient compensation to cover the loss of goodwill you will suffer, and your own costs in crediting SLAs with your own customers.

My former employer, who does this particular aspect of their business very well, has formerly been a Supermicro customer, and is now a Dell customer. In both cases, they kept their own complete stock of spares, including all the necessary parts as well as entire chassis. They have never had cause to regret this plan.

If you worry that this is an undue cost, consider that you can offset the costs of your local stockpile by getting rid of the gold-plated 4-hour onsite warranty with added vitamins and minerals, and just go with a lower grade support contract.

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+1 As many of us have learned the hard way, even fast turn-around service agreements have escape clauses to cover them for failing to deliver on what we thought was promised. –  John Gardeniers Aug 7 '11 at 22:12
    
+1 I'm a fan of SuperMicro products: they're well designed, high quality and good prices; but they have no responsibility on my success or failure. they sell me boxes, and that's it. It's my job to make sure that I can fix anything that can go wrong. Besides, having a full set of spares is both faster and far cheaper than any dependable service from Dell, HP or IBM. –  Javier Aug 8 '11 at 0:40
    
Strangely enough, my prior employer switched from Supermicro to Dell on (largely) the basis of price. Probably a different market, though (.au is stupidly expensive for any computer hardware). The economics of local spare parts is largely so good because it is, in fact, impossible to get dependable service from any hardware vendor. –  womble Aug 8 '11 at 4:34
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