First Class Storage Support: Is It Really Necessary?

By kennethn on Jun 01 in Blog.

First Class Storage Support: Is It Really Necessary?

Support, it’s something that no IT Professional wants to deal with, but in our careers it seems like something we wind up utilizing far too often. Whether it’s with your servers, storage, BIOS, switches, or something else, there is going to come a time when you rely on that support to not only keep your infrastructure running, but also to keep your job.

When searching for potential IT vendors, support is often times put on the back-burner. Instead, we seem to be more intrigued by shiny new features or bezels on a box. This should not be the case. While features are extremely important, support is not something to be taken lightly. Regardless of the vendor, hardware is eventually going to fail. You’re going to encounter issues with a product or have questions about how something works, and you will need to have access to that vendor’s support team in order to resolve the issue. When that failure occurs or that question comes about, it is absolutely necessary to have white glove treatment throughout the support process.

So what do you need to look for in support (specifically from your storage vendor)?

Knowledgeable Support Representative

Who are you going to be speaking with when you call into support? Are you going to be dialing a help desk technician who will ask you a series of scripted questions and hand you over to a higher level of support? Are you going to be dialing into support that is outsourced by your storage provider to someone seated overseas? Or are you going to be dialing an engineer who will resolve your issue right then and there? Obviously if you could choose, you would pick the latter.

When searching for storage providers, it’s important to ask vendors about their support structure and how it is organized. Clearly if you’re able to dial into a dedicated support representative who is an engineer and knows your environment backwards and forwards you would choose that option 100% of the time. This is going to save hours of your time, lead to almost zero downtime, and can keep a disaster from occurring. As an added bonus, your company saves money (everyone loves that). So when looking at storage support, make sure you will be dialing directly into an engineer who is familiar with your environment.

Proactive Drive Replacement

As mentioned earlier, hardware does fail and timing is key. Obviously SSDs are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s IT infrastructures. And while SSDs do last longer than their original predecessors, they still have a limited number of P/E cycles that they are able to endure. Luckily, there is technology out there that allows us to keep track of these P/E cycles and will notify us if a drive is about to fail. With this in mind, it’s important to search for a storage vendor who will proactively replace these drives. This leads to zero downtime. Imagine that!

You want to purchase from a vendor who is going to keep an eye on the health of your drives. That way, if they see that an SSD is going to fail, they can send you a new SSD prior to the actual failure. To add to this point, if the storage vendor can guarantee SSD lifespans for “X” number of years, that’s a plus. If they promise to proactively replace drives that are about to experience a failure before that “X” number of year mark, that’s even better!

24/7 Support 

Problems can occur at any time. They don’t wait until Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm to happen. They can take place any day of the week, at any hour of the day. You want to make sure support is going to be there for you at all times. Being able to speak to a representative when something happens at 2 am on a Friday night is crucial. Some fixes are time essential, and you don’t always have until that following Monday morning to resolve the issue. You want to make sure your storage vendor is committed to you, and will be there for you whenever a need arises.

To learn a little about the support we have at StorTrends, check out this quick video here.