SUMMARY: 3rd party Sun Maintenance providers

From: <Karl.Rossing_at_Federated.CA>
Date: Fri Apr 22 2005 - 15:29:47 EDT
My original query, summary below

> I'm interested in find out your opinions on 3rd party sun maintenance 
> providers such as carefactor.
> I'm trying to gauge what services we would end up loosing compared to
> our Silver Sun Spectrum contracts.

This is what i learned

1) Make sure you know what your getting into.
2) Make sure external attached devices are included. Sun includes this, 
but 3rd parties sometimes don't
3) 3rd party maintenance comes down to the competence of the providers 
presence in your area
4) You will loose your premium sunsolve access to patches
5) I'd expect that you would loose your Solaris upgrade media kits eg: 8 
to 10
6) Consider moving your older Sun hardware to 3rd parties. Keep the newer 
hardware on SUN Spectrum maintenance.
7) You can always do your own maintenance with an onsite parts box.

Email replies are below.


Tobias N
I know nothing about carefactor but akibia
late or incomplete delivery
less know how
lot of trouble in front of back-delivery
  (in the last days they need 3 tries to get an v880 back,
    little car, less people to carry, no transportation material)
We use akibia only for Hardware maintenance to get parts we need
Ric A
We use IBM where I work to provide Sun maintenance.  They were much
more willing to work with us and support non-Sun internal bits (like
RAM and Disks).  Sun said they would only support Sun branded parts.
I have very good experience with Akibia.
David F
SunSolve just changed their terms so that people not on Spectrum
contracts have less access to SunSolve than before. 
Matt N
I currently have a Platinum level service account with Marathon Int. They 
come with my highest recommendation. I have worked with CareFactor and 
Terix before and out of the 3x of them i would recommend Marathon Int. 
Going threw a service issue with Marathon Int. Is like walking into a 
first class hotel.
Mike S
You do loose the access to constant info, essentially most these guys hire
ex sun guys, but things change, you do loose access to the latest fixes.
Essentially I think
a competent in house staff will do as good a job as a 3rd party staff.
Iain M
One quick point - we moved a pile of kit (not our decision - bean counters 
did it) and we jumped in two footed, then found out that they didn't 
support any externally attached devices.  So all our tapes, disks and SCSI 
arrays suddenly became un-supported!!!!

Moral of the story - make sure that you compare like with like before 
signing a year long contract :-)

Any short term monetary gains may come back and bite you in the future!!!!
John C
The 3rd party support companies are often the same groups that Sun 
outsources its field support to anyways, but now you can save 30-70% over 
the Sun-branded support by using them directly. In many cases, the same 
tech still comes on-site, it's just that he grabs the Acme Support ID 
badge out of his glove box instead of his Sun Support ID badge before he 
enters your lobby.
For some hosts (or all) you might consider dropping support altogether and 
self-insure by purchasing some extra hardware components from eBay or 
refurbished hardware vendors. You could pick up a few extra disks or I/O 
cards that are likely to fail, or depending on the age of the equipment, 
you may be able to duplicate entire hosts pretty cheap. Keep the hardware 
on-site and use as needed.
As for selecting a specific provider, look very closely at the 
organization before signing up. Some are primarily PC-focused vendors who 
figure they can add the Sun product line, sell the support, and be able to 
source the parts (usually grey market) on an as-needed basis. Do you 
require expert Solaris and software support, or do you usually call 
support when you've narrowed it down to a hardware issue? Many third party 
providers don't have strong (or any) Solaris expertise on staff. Overall, 
you need to check 'em out, visit their call center, see their warehouse, 
talk to some of their engineers directly, ask for (and check!) references 
with similar environments to yours.
I'm not trying to toss FUD around. There are some good, solid third party 
maintenance providers out there and I'm a big fan of cutting costs. You 
may consider splitting your servers between different plans. Sun has 
historically priced support on older hardware at penalizing levels to prod 
folks along the buy-new-hardware path. Consider moving your older hosts to 
third party and keeping the new hosts on Sun official.
Matt M
                 The biggest thing I think would be access to the contract 
of Sunsolve which includes in-depth articles that non-support people
have, and automatic updates of the o.s./apps that you have under the
spectrum support. 
                 For myself, I am comfortable to install warranty parts on 
own, so a third party would not benefit me. When out of
warranty/support, there are plenty of third parties who sell sun parts
reasonable inexpensive.
                 The only benefit, I could see by going to a third party 
would be
the labor to install parts during and after warranty.
James C

Karl - I would recommend larger outfits like Terix, IBM or Fujitsu over 
Carefactor.  The larger outfits have coverage, SLAs and economies of scale 
(that translate into better pricing for you) at least as good if not 
better than Sun. 

We have a Terix relationship and I can certainly make an introduction of 
you want me too. 
sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Fri Apr 22 15:30:11 2005

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