Straight Scoop on Equipment Warranties
Not all warranties are created equal, especially in the world of technology. Some products offer warranty extensions which are necessary. Let’s dive in and see if this makes sense.
Business Impactful Equipment
The first factor to consider is the impact of the equipment. Would you have a true business impact if the equipment you are considering a renewal on was broken?
If you have a database server that helps run your line of business (LOB) software and this is considered a priority for your business, you should keep the equipment under warranty so you can get the help you need.
If you have a single computer that is used by one user who would see minimal business function impact due to downtime, consider the cost of the warranty vs. the downtime.
Time to Repair
The second factor to consider about equipment warranties is the necessary repair time to repair the item.
Do you need to warranty a television that you can replace with one trip to a box store?
Do you need to warranty a network switch that IRIS can provide a substitute for or order a new one?
In most cases, IT equipment can be replaced very quickly but the hitch is the time to configure. To define configuration: In computer systems, a configuration is the arrangement of functional units according to their nature, number, and chief characteristics. Often, configuration pertains to the choice of hardware, software, firmware, and documentation. This affects function and performance. We can replace the equipment, however having to configure this for your business may take excessive time.
We do recommend hardware warranties and extensions on servers because it would be easier to replace a broken power supply, for example, than to order a new server and go through the configuration again.
If the time to repair the equipment is longer than your business can go without this equipment, consider keeping this item under warranty.
Can you get a replacement?
Now this is a silly question because you can always get a replacement, right? Sure, if you want to buy from someone on the internet working out of their mom’s basement selling stuff they just bought at a flea market.
For the sake of this section, we will consider that any server in your business is an essential part of your infrastructure.
If your server fails due to a hardware problem we face the following challenges:
- IT equipment is always changing and improving. Shelf life for IT equipment is about 3-5 years max.
- Large equipment manufacturers, like HP and Dell, will typically keep parts on equipment current for 12-18 months before changing to a new model.
- Warranties are typically 3 years for business equipment and can be extended up to 5 years.
- After 3 years, equipment manufacturers are typically only stocking replacement parts or suitable replacement parts.
- After 5 years, you can maybe find equipment to repair your server but this is the kid in the basement scenario. These replacements are typically not from the original manufacturer.
- Equipment manufacturers will offer extended warranties past 3 years, however these might be refurbished parts.
In theory, you can get a replacement part but it may or may not be the same as what you had in the server when it failed.
I know you don’t like to read the body of the blog, but, look, our High School English teachers would be so proud. We have an intro, 3 paragraphs, and a conclusion.
The conclusion is the same as what we suggest for our clients:
- Keep warranties on parts that are mission critical. These are servers, firewalls, and possibly other network equipment.
- Replace products at the 5 year point. Any IT equipment older than 5 years is going to be running on fumes. The shelf life of all IT equipment is considered to be 5 years. Replace the equipment rather than wait on warranty parts that may or may not be available. (Be proactive, not reactive.)
- Consider the price of the warranty. We would not recommend that you spend $1,200 to extend the server warranty one year when the server is already five years old and you paid $6K when it was purchased.
And the last thing, don’t buy warranties from third parties. Buy them or extend them from the original equipment manufacturers.