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Firm challenges OEM refresh cycles, costly service contracts

InfrastructureManaged Services

For many businesses, technology purchases often mean being tied to an original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) pre-determined refresh cycle that push them replace hardware even if they are still working and costly support and service contracts that they don’t need.

Consider this: Typical OEM hardware refresh cycles are from three to five years from the sale of the equipment after which the manufacturer may end software support for the equipment. However, some surveys indicate that the useful life of many equipment could run from seven up to 10 years.

A United States-based network equipment supplier and service company is offering Canadian resellers a white branding opportunity for a third-party equipment and support service that aims to extend the value of branded equipment beyond their manufacturer’s support date.

“We are challenging businesses to take back their network,” said Jeff Zanardi, vice-president of business development and global marketing for Curvature a complete IT services and solutions firm based headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif. “We want customers to be freed of the five-year refresh myth and be able to use their network equipment for as long as it is functional and serviceable.”

“It is their network and they should be able to run it the way they want to, not the way OEMs want them to run it,” he added.

Curvature, is the new name of Network Howrdware Resale, a company founded in 1986 which has since evolved from being basically as Cisco Systems Inc. reseller to a supplier of vendor-agnostic IT infrastructure and operations service. Last week the company rebranded to the Curvature name to better which Zanardi said was a “better fit” for its new business model which includes the company’s own line of servers, new reselling partnerships with other networking, storage and security vendors, professional and managed services, support and maintenance as well as continued partnership with and maintainance support for Cisco gear.

Curvature has partnered with manufacturers that provide equipment for the likes of Dell and HP. It is also growing its partnership to include vendors such as Arista Networks, A10 Networks and Juniper Networks.

Zanardi points to a Forrester Research report that indicates 85 per cent of end users want to keep their equipment longer that the manufacturer stated end-of-life date and that 80 per cent are not aware of any support other than that offered by the OEMs.

He also said that in many cases, companies may be paying for software support that they do not actually need.

“For example, when Cisco customers purchase a SMARTnet support contract many are not aware that 40 to 60 per cent of Cisco’s product line already come with free software upgrades for the life of the product,” said Zanardi. “For these products, there is not need for a SMARTNet contract.”

What Curvature is offering is alternative support and maintenance services beyond the equipment’s last support date.

With this service, companies can ignore end-of-life policies on equipment when they are designing the networks and avoid unnecessary upgrades. Customers also only pay for software support for the wide area network because software support the local area network is free.

According to Curvature this will help the companies lower operation costs and extend the useful life of existing equipment because customer will be “upgrading on the basis of need and not equipment age” and to “keep what works.”