Here at CXtec we're always collaborating with customers on how to find the optimum, most cost-effective way to deliver top-notch networking infrastructures. We accomplish this using a number of techniques and strategies, not the least of which is a quality spares program. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering implementing spares in your network, or if you've never considered spares before:
Make Sure the Proverbial "Price is Right"
A spares program is best accomplished by crunching numbers. Take a good, hard look at the hardware you have backed by an OEM maintenance program. How much are you paying for that maintenance? And don't just look at the overall cost and call it a day.
Is it a recurring cost? If so, how much time and money in man-hours are you losing to keep track of renewals and sync up dates? These costs really add up. If the number gets kind of big and unwieldy, maybe it's time to at least consider spares.
How can network hardware actually cost less than maintenance?
If you're thinking, "There is no way a set of back-up hardware could cost less than a maintenance program," you actually might be surprised. The price differential is not that big. Especially if you spend your money wisely and get quality refurbished equipment to act as your spares.
If you're the kind of person that hasn't stepped up and realized the value of good refurbished equipment, maybe a spares program is just the right place to "get your feet wet" so to speak. In our opinion, quality refurbished hardware is a must in any infrastructure. And a spares program is a great place to introduce it for the first time.
Immediate Uptime and the Sweet Spot!
The really huge benefit of implementing spares is that you can have them swapped in a matter of moments. Any maintenance program will have a delay. How long can you afford that delay to be? Is any downtime really acceptable?
A strategy that makes sense is to find the sweet spot between spares and maintenance. For the devices at the core of your network, it just makes sense to have hot, swappable spares ready to go at a moment's notice. That way your downtime is very minimal to non-existent. Then a maintenance program for those edge machines might make sense since they’re not quite as mission-critical. Finding that elusive sweet spot is the most economical way to get the ideal infrastructure in place.
Are You in a Harsh Environment?
This might not apply to every user, but some folks are running hardware in some harsh environments. Consider where your equipment is. Are you in a manufacturing facility? Is there debris in the air? Adverse or changing temperatures? These conditions can wreak havoc on sensitive networking hardware over time.
If you're in a less-than-ideal environment, it probably makes a lot of sense to have some spares at the ready. Don't wait for the unthinkable to happen. If you're asking a lot out of your equipment, have some back-ups ready to go just in case.
We hope these ideas made you think twice about a good spares program. It's our mission to keep everyone's network up and costs down!