Purchasing Professional Storage Services, Part 2 Page 2
Using Independent Organizations
Most independent storage PS organizations have experience in a variety of hardware and software configurations and are able to put together heterogeneous configurations more efficiently – and thus more cost-effectively. Of course, you’ll still need to learn all you can about a specific PS organization by asking some tough questions like:
- General references on the quality of their work
- References as to specific types of hardware and software for which they have knowledge and experience
- The working relationship they have with the hardware and software vendors in question (realizing of course that most vendors do not like these independent organizations, as they reduce the potential revenue of the vendors’ own PS organizations and the commission of the account manager)
- Whether or not the independent organization has a laboratory or access to a laboratory for prototyping the configuration before installing it at your location
Independent organizations generally will not stay in business unless they are successful, as word of mouth for smaller companies would be their demise, so longevity is another important criterion to consider.
It’s also not at all uncommon for a vendor PS organization to hire independent companies. This happens for a number of reasons, including:
- Handling heterogeneous configurations that the vendor does not have a great deal of experience with
- Complex configuration situations in which the vendor has never attempted but that the independent organization has previously taken a risk on by building a similar configuration
- Since small companies tend to have less overhead than large companies, it can be more cost effective in some cases for the vendor to handle PS opportunities with a smaller staff and to utilize small companies with less overhead that can be eliminated at any time
So the point to take away is that even if you hire the vendor’s PS organization, you will sometimes end up working with an independent organization. As with most things in life, this has both its good and bad points.
The good points are:
- Often you are getting someone independent that has broad experience with many different products
- You still have a single vendor to point a finger at for hardware, software, and PS issues
The bad points are:
- You are going to pay far more than you would by hiring the independent organization directly (going through the vendor will of course carry an associated “middle-man” fee)
- You will get a far less autonomous view of the hardware and software, as the independent organization in this case is not really independent but rather working for and representing the vendor
One additional point to consider: many independent PS organizations (especially the smaller ones) do not provide long-term support, so it is in their best interest to train your people on the hardware, software, and configuration. This is not always the case with vendor’s PS organizations, as they have people that can work at your site for years, which is often the goal of the account manager for large sites.