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What is Third Party Maintenance in Data Centers?

What is Third Party Maintenance?

Maintaining infrastructure is paramount to ensuring seamless operations and optimal performance in your data center. However, traditional maintenance contracts provided by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can be costly and restrictive, leading many organizations to seek alternatives. Enter third party maintenance (TPM) – a burgeoning industry offering a cost-effective and flexible solution to data center maintenance needs. Let’s look into the world of third-party maintenance, exploring its definition, benefits, challenges, and best practices.

Understanding Third-Party Maintenance

Third-party maintenance (TPM) refers to the practice of outsourcing maintenance services for IT infrastructure, such as servers, storage devices, and networking equipment, to independent service providers rather than relying solely on OEM support contracts. These independent providers offer a range of services, including hardware maintenance, support, and upgrades, often at a fraction of the cost charged by OEMs.

Benefits of Third-Party Maintenance

  1. Cost Savings: TPM offers significant cost benefits, making it a valuable investment for businesses. Third-party maintenance providers typically offer services at significantly lower rates compared to OEMs, allowing organizations to reduce their operational expenses without compromising on service quality.
  2. Flexibility and Customization: TPM agreements are known for their flexibility, allowing organizations to tailor maintenance services to their specific needs. This flexibility enables businesses to choose the level of support required and customize service contracts according to their budget and operational requirements.
  3. Extended Product Lifespan: TPM providers often support hardware beyond the end-of-life (EOL) and end-of-service-life (EOSL) dates set by OEMs. This allows companies to extend the lifespan of their IT equipment and avoid expensive upgrades or replacements, leading to additional savings.
  4. Multi-vender Agnostic: Unlike OEMs, third-party maintenance providers are vendor-neutral, meaning they can support a wide range of hardware from various manufacturers. This vendor-agnostic approach gives organizations the freedom to mix and match hardware vendors without being tied to proprietary support contracts.
  5. Coterminous Contracts: Aligns timelines for convenient and simultaneous expiration, streamlining renewals efficiently.

When Does Third-Party Support Come In To Play?

When Does Third Party Maintenance Come Into Play

0-3 Years: OEM Support: Support from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is typically readily accessible. Hardware support may come bundled with new equipment purchases or be available as a separate option. Opting for OEM hardware support can be advantageous, especially when new technology is introduced, as third-party maintenance (TPM) providers might face challenges in sourcing parts and delivering the required level of technical assistance for cutting-edge technology. However, for newer devices that share similarities with previous generations, TPM support could also be a viable option.

3-5 Years: OEM and TPM: Parts are readily accessible, and the technology has gained widespread familiarity. It’s likely that your devices have encountered minimal issues, making the cost of OEM support significantly higher than the expense of equipment repairs. Third-party maintenance support emerges as an attractive option during this stage, particularly for those seeking more budget-friendly support alternatives.

5-7 Years: TPM / Limited OEM Support: End-of-Life (EOL) and End-of-Service-Life (EOSL) dates become significant, as OEMs frequently begin announcing the cessation of service. If you’re not yet prepared for a hardware refresh, you’ll need to explore alternative options for hardware support. Fortunately, parts are abundant on the secondary market at this juncture, facilitating TPM providers’ ability to offer support. While OEM support may still be accessible during this timeframe, it typically comes at a premium cost.

7+ Years: TPM Support: While devices may retain some stability, occurrences of failures are becoming more frequent, potentially leading to unexpected downtime. At this stage of the equipment life cycle, OEM support is unlikely to be available as an option. Fortunately, TPM providers typically excel in supporting older equipment without difficulty. In fact, Pre Rack IT has successfully supported devices that are 15+ years old without encountering any issues.


Third-party maintenance offers a compelling alternative to OEM support contracts, providing cost-effective, flexible, and vendor-neutral solutions for data center maintenance. By understanding the benefits, challenges, and best practices associated with TPM, organizations can make informed decisions that optimize their IT infrastructure’s performance and longevity while minimizing operational costs. As the demand for efficient and affordable maintenance solutions continues to rise, third-party maintenance is poised to play an increasingly integral role in the data center landscape.