In 2019, IBM sent businesses looking for a better plan for Power7 End of Service Life (ESL) support. Further, they announced that IBM Power8 would stop being marketed, and you can no longer order or get licensed upgrades. Businesses have the option to upgrade to IBM Power9, regardless of whether they are required. The reality is that IBM Power8, Power7, and older generation server systems are highly reliable and have a long useful life expectancy. I&O leaders looking to extend the lifecycle of these machines and reduce server maintenance costs should look at all available IBM server maintenance options.
Here are some questions we have compiled. server maintenance providers to help you evaluate support options available for IBM Power8 or earlier generation equipment
Are you able to offer significant cost savings over IBM’s maintenance rates on IBM Power Systems?
Make sure your maintenance costs are lower than OEM support by IBM. It is often the main reason why companies switch to third-party maintenance providers. Look to see if the independent Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) provider can provide at least 50% cost savings on IBM Power Server Maintenance.
Ask about discounts on hardware maintenance as well as software/operating-system maintenance. Software maintenance may offer savings when the hardware is at its End of Life. The operating system might also be EoL. You may be able to drop your software maintenance agreement or receive some support but not pay the high IBM cost for Operating System Updates. This type of service and consultation is available from potential TPM providers.
1.Are you able to use a dedicated IBM Power Systems Lab?
Each server family should have its own dedicated IBM Power Series Lab. It will allow the maintenance provider to conduct research, develop new technologies, and learn about the IBM hardware. It should cover all servers that the TPM provider supports, including Power8, Power7, Power6, Power5, Power4, and the RS6000/AS/400.
2.Have your engineers received hands-on training with IBM Power Systems?
Another reason maintenance providers should have a lab is to ensure that their engineers are trained in the real world. Before you sign up to support such an essential component of your infrastructure, ask your provider about the training they provide.
Ask if the maintenance of your IBM Power8 or below servers has Level 3 support by trained engineers. This infrastructure shouldn’t be left to anyone remotely or via dial-a tech support.
3.Are you able to provide a secure and tested remote monitoring system for IBM Power?
Verify that remote monitoring capabilities are available to the provider. The monitoring system must be tested and secured. Navigator Systems Remote Enterprise Monitoring (REM) offering gives clients an equivalent level of monitoring and triage to what they received from the OEM for remote hardware monitoring.
4. Are your contract terms flexible
It would help if you customized your service level agreements (SLAs) based on your business criticality and for each location. You should also be able to consolidate your maintenance on one contract with multiple OEMs. It means you can bundle maintenance for other brands like IBM, Dell EMC, and HPE.
5.Is it possible to extend the life cycle of IBM Power servers?
IBM and other manufacturers often declare older products ESL, meaning they will no longer support them. It is done to encourage customers to purchase the latest product. These products, especially the IBM Power Systems, are highly reliable and can be supported by trained and qualified engineers at TPM providers. The TPM provider you select should be able to help IBM Power8 as well as all previous generations. They must also demonstrate that they still support Power7, Power6, Power5, Power4/RS6000, and AS/400. Businesses are still using these older models, and the maintenance provider must show that they can significantly extend asset life.
6.Is there support and parts worldwide?
Access to parts is vital, especially when you are maintaining IBM Power Systems, which are ESL. Your maintenance provider will always have enough features available for your servers. Before each component is shipped to the client, it should be tested. These parts should be of the same quality that IBM would use and should be available globally within 2 hours of a customer site and ideally delivered from wholly-owned parts depots at regional and local levels.