Insight and analysis on the data center space from industry thought leaders.

Data Centers Need Better SLAs

Although buying a basic OEM warranty saves money in the short-term, upgrading a warranty package is extremely costly.

3 Min Read
Data Centers Need Better SLAs

William D’Alessio is SVP of Enterprise Operations at Maintech.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) need to cover all aspects of a business and their subsidies, which means they are often broad and generic and can leave your data center unprotected. The SLA made with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) is used as a way to ensure timely repairs and any service needs. What often happens with a typical SLA, however, is providers can wait until the last minute of a quoted time frame to repair your systems, causing your business costly downtime. Doing this is not a breach of contract, though it can be frustrating for businesses who need to keep equipment in use full-time.

An enhanced support SLA can help avoid these pitfalls.  Enhanced SLAs can supplement your existing warranty, offer flexibility and cost savings, and extend the life of your equipment.

If your business has had problems in the past with an SLA, then it’s time to consider an enhanced support SLA.

Better Warranty Options

Data center equipment usually comes with a basic OEM warranty. This warranty covers defects in the product but is not very flexible for repairs or replacements. A common problem for data centers occurs when equipment comes from multiple manufacturers, meaning an SLA from one manufacturer will only cover that company’s equipment, not taking into account the other equipment affected by the problem. Therefore, companies are left scheduling site visits from multiple technicians. And enhanced support SLA can supplement each basic warranty, so your company gets a faster response time that includes solving the issue of all equipment in a specific timeframe, which means less downtime.

Customized Support

A basic OEM support agreement can often prove too standardized for companies. As companies expand technologies in data centers, this type of agreement does not work. An enhanced support SLA, however, can customize the support for your company. This agreement can be customized with your third-party maintenance provider, so your data center receives the exact kind of support necessary. It also helps maintain multi-vendor setups for better integration among equipment.

Avoids Costly Downtime

Another common issue that occurs is that a data center chooses a basic OEM warranty thinking they can upgrade it later. Though this saves money in the short-term, upgrading a warranty package is extremely costly. In the case of replacing parts, many basic warranties offer next-day parts, but that could mean 24-hours of downtime, which is really expensive for most data centers. An enhanced support SLA could, in this case, offer parts in a few hours time, instead of a full day of downtime, which is much more cost-effective than losing an entire business day waiting for a part.

Longer Equipment Warranty

Basic OEM warranties cover three years of the equipment’s lifespan, but after those three years, the cost of repairing any broken or damaged equipment comes out of your company’s pocket. Many businesses want more than three years coverage, since the equipment, if maintained properly, can last much longer than that. An enhanced support SLA can supplement and enhance the time period of the equipment’s warranty. This allows businesses to get more out of equipment and avoid costly repairs and replacements.

An enhanced support SLA can help businesses save time and money by keeping equipment working better and longer. Without this type of support, IT staff can spend too much time figuring out how to repair or replace equipment, instead of focusing on more important tasks.


Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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