The Year Four "Surprise"

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Tape libraries today are typically in production for timeframes of around seven to ten years. During this period, customers generally choose to purchase some type of customer support contract. It is important to ask your storage solution provider questions, in regards to support services and contracts, when purchasing a product that will likely be on your data center floor for an extended period of time.

Ask about the cost for support service renewals, extending past the first 1-3 years of your contract. Many companies will be competitive with their service contract pricing at the time you acquire your system, providing you with a low initial quote. However, for many products (like tape or archive systems) the lifespan of the appliance is much longer than one to three years. Therefore, it is important to understand the costs for the support contract that will cover your product throughout the extent of its lifetime. Make sure you are not “teased” into purchasing a product that looks competitive on the front end, but may potentially holds an unpleasant surprise after your initial contract comes up for renewal.

Within the fourth year of a product’s support contract, it is not uncommon for a vendor to substantially hike up their renewal prices.  Spectra Logic has integrated protection against this practice via our “PriceLock” support contract feature.  With PriceLock, the standard list pricing of your support contract will never increase by more than the standard rate of inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index).

Every large ticket cap-ex purchase is typically negotiated, including the initial support contract pricing.  Customers are accustomed to paying less than the MSRP or List Pricing for both their product and the service.  Let’s say that you negotiate a total cost of 10% off of list price for your initial service contract.  When you go to renew your contract, it may still be a negotiated discount from the then current list price. However, having the reassuring comfort that that standard MSRP/List pricing will never go up faster than the rate of inflation puts a very valuable “cap” on what to expect during the later years your product is in operation. Only Spectra Logic offers you this sort of predictability and protection against the practices illustrated above.

Getting answers to the long term cost of ownership of products that will likely be part of your infrastructure for many years to come is an important step to understanding your total cost of ownership.

For more information about Spectra Logic’s support services and contracts, visit