Negotiating for support


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You'll almost always get a better price for maintenance and support if you negotiate service contracts separately from the price of new arrays.

Storage support contracts are optional and their prices are negotiable. But most storage vendors, especially major vendors, insist otherwise and will usually roll the price of support into the price of the new equipment. Organizations that negotiate storage support contracts separately from the purchase price can lower their acquisition costs, get better service terms or both.

The price of storage support is a touchy subject. Third-party support companies that compete with vendors for storage service contracts are reluctant to discuss discounting for fear of losing their vendor certification. And many users remain mum on the topic amid concerns that a vendor might not be as responsive when they have an urgent service need.

"We have 21 storage arrays. If we paid 15% to 30% per year for service and maintenance on each array, it wouldn't be long before the cost of service and maintenance outstripped the cost of the array," says Jeff Stein, senior engineer at InteleNet Communications Inc., a managed hosting provider in Irvine, CA. Stein's company has never bought a storage support contract.

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This was first published in May 2007

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