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server warranty

Posted on 2013-11-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
When you purchase a physical server - in what format does the warranty come in? I.e. what will the warranty detail? I am new to server purchases but we are looking into warranty of all physical servers - can anyone elaborate on the risks of messing up your warranty or not having any warranty on your server? Sorry to sound naive but nothing I have been involved with before. Do you typically have warranty for the lifecycle of the server - i.e. if you anticipate it will be in operation for say 6 years, do you need cover for those 6 years.
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Question by:pma111
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by:strivoli
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Warranties usually cover the first 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the vendor, model, and so on. The Warranty isn't enough if the Server is classified as critical. Critical means that if it stops, your company "stops" as well. In these cases, A Service Maintenance Agreement is established with the vendor. This Service lasts as long as the Server runs and includes parts and labor as well as the SLA (time needed to repair the broken server).
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by:pma111
ID: 39668392
Is this a written document? I.e. if I ask our IT for evidence of warranty or service maintenance agreements - how long is left on them etc, in what format would they be able to provide that in?
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by:pma111
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And what does the service maintenance agreement do that warranty doesnt, if the server goes bang. What sort of annual costs are involved with say a single physical server?
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by:strivoli
ID: 39668495
Warranty usually covers the parts. If you have a HDD down they will send you a new one but it can take "X" days. The Service adds the labor and specifies how long they will take to repair. Both Warranty and Service are written documents.
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by:pma111
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So is the service maintenance agreement something you have with your internal IT or IT support, or the 3rd party who supplied the hardware?
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by:pma111
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And what is the risk in running server hardware no longer under warranty? How does having a service maintenance agreement mitigate the risk on the hardware no longer being under warranty? Can you explain?
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Mohammed Khawaja earned 167 total points
ID: 39668674
Risks are as follows:

1. Inability to restore services in a timely fashion (you will not be meeting your SLAs)
2. Inability to source replacement components (server cannot be brought back to life, disaster recovery might be required to get application/system running)
3. If proprietary hardware is used then you may be at the mercy of few niche service providers (i.e. for Digital Alpha hardware, only few vendors are available that can provide replacement hardware)
4. Replacement parts may be shipped from outside the country (will require customs clearance, brokerage fees, etc.)

A Service Maintenance Agreement will outline the level of service you will be getting (i.e. total system down will result in a service/technician on site in 4 hours, next day replacement parts, etc.).  A Service Maintenance Agreement will mitigate the risks by:

1. Establishing SLAs as per maintenance agreement terms/conditions
2. Guaranteed hardware replacement
3. Third-party taking ownership of ensuring hardware is up and running
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by:andyalder
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Warranty and maintenance are written agreements but rarely is there any paper involved, sometimes there's a written copy in the box but normally it just has the URL printed on it.

Manufacturer's warranty terms are written on their website and they generally use the date of manufacture plus give you a few extra months to allow for delivery and machines sitting in the channel. If  your server has sat on the shelf of the channel partner for a long time you would need your invoice to prove when it was bought. Maintenance agreements with 3rd parties are again electronic although there may be a PDF you can print out.

Be aware that the service may be subcontracted out in either instance, most manufacturers use 3rd party maintenance  companies to do the actual part swaps. Consumables may not be covered, that includes cache batteries and possible even NAND flash devices such as SSDs. You may opt for defective media retention if you don't want critical data leaving site on a faulty hard disk although you can always refuse to let the engineer take it off site and pay for it instead.

You can also pay an uplift for pro-active monitoring, that involves the vendor remotely monitoring the hardware through SNMP or some other protocol since it's not much good having redundant components but not knowing one has failed.
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