Author Archive

What Is Spares Management? | November 30th, 2017

Worldwide Services offers a robust spares optimization and management system designed to keep your operations running smoothly. It’s an easy and affordable way for you to have the right equipment at the right time to avoid downtime.

But what is spares management, exactly?

A spares management process is a system between a company and a spare parts supplier to provide a direct way to inventory and ship spares before you need them. From computer and server parts to bolts, fasteners and even swipe cards, spares optimization and management is an effortless way for you to never to have to wait days for a part after something breaks or is lost.

For us, it’s about knowing what you have and what you need, plus understanding what you should have on-hand versus what to order as needed due to cost, use, geography or other restrictions.

Benefits of a Spares Management Plan

Spares management systems combine a look at your hardware with a software support tool that can help you share information on your operations and what you need. By working together, we can generate a list of common spare parts you may need plus create an understanding of what tends to fail together, from server blades and racks to microwave systems and certain antennas.

Here are some benefits of spare parts management and what a plan can do for your operations:

  • Allows you to keep spare inventory levels low, reducing carrying and storage costs but providing access to spare parts when needed.
  • Better service to your customers. The longer your operations are up and running, the better you’re able to deliver the services and support your customers demand.
  • Enhanced part visibility so your supply chain can show where the need is and where the parts are headed.
  • Improved equipment uptime as you limit how long equipment is down and don’t have to wait to generate revenue or find a funding source to repair a part when it breaks.
  • Quicker repairs and replacements for defective parts, plus assistance with larger failures.

An in-house system can help you achieve many of these benefits, but it will ultimately fall short because it is limited to your knowledge of your equipment. A third-party service can assist you with knowledge about industry-wide trends — such as knowing that servers of a certain type tend to have a specific failure after three years and you need to have a specific replacement part before your model turns three.

Outside partners also have access to a much wider inventory than your team does because they’re serving a wide array of customers. So you get the benefit of an extensive warehouse with the latest and greatest parts — often at cheaper rates than an OEM provides — but you only need to purchase once you have an actual need.

So, by turning to a third-party spares optimization and management service partner, you can run a tighter ship. However, there’s really only one choice if you want to run the tightest and most affordable ship.

Worldwide Services Spares Management System

Beyond the benefits stated above, Worldwide Services can offer you a few advantages designed to keep your network secure and limit any budgetary impact due to part failures or excessive repair downtime.

How do we do it?

We have a spare parts management system to assist with the acquisition, storage, sending and use of spare parts, while freeing up capital to limit unnecessary purchases. Our customers consistently see a cost savings benefit of between 40 and 60 percent on total capital and operating expenditures.

Our solution supports multiple vendors with same or next-day replacement parts, with a presence in more than 79 countries. Our supply chain can ensure you have parts that are commonly replaced always on-hand and can get custom solutions and specialty parts to you as quickly as possible.

Turn to us for a spares management process that allows you to spend money only when you need to and always have the parts you demand, without wasting revenue or increasing downtime when something breaks. Plus, we’re here to help with a wide range of network supplies from leading OEMs of the past and present decades as well as expert managed services. Request a Spares Management quote today to keep your operations running at top performance.

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Why Your Network Needs Maintenance | August 10th, 2017

Networks need maintenance because they are the lifeblood of your services and operations, and running with a malfunction or improper settings can lead to downtime and damaged equipment.

The more work you do to protect and maintain your servers, routers, switches, cabinets, racks, cables and other equipment, the greater your likelihood of mitigating or minimizing downtime. You’ll be happy to learn that maintenance best practices are also efficiency best practices because you’re continually monitoring your network for the chance to improve it.

Server maintenance includes a variety of preventative steps that vary based on your specific server, but will typically need to include reviews for security risks, testing of backup protocols, reviews of backup power supplies, tests of internal monitoring operations, routing and IP control reviews, and a physical check of the hardware to look for damage, dust or debris.

Many of these utilities will come with your server’s hardware package, but it’s smart to also look for external tools to help ensure everything is running properly.

Are There Tips to Minimizing Server Downtime?

Right now, you’re probably wondering how to minimize network downtime and reduce the overall risk of network outages. We’ve put together some of the biggest tips and techniques to help you do just that, covering hardware, software and installation space.

Run Your Web Tier as an Isolated Process

To have the most stable server and protect its overall performance, we recommend web tiers always be run as an isolated process. This will reduce the likelihood of a crash because a web tier failure won’t harm ISAPI DLLs — or vice versa when things go wrong with another tier.

Keep Everything Chilly

One of the best ways to reduce network outages is to monitor your server and network locations with regular physical checks. This equipment all becomes very delicate when things get warm, so you need a very cold environment. This is especially true for small and mid-sized business servers because they typically have minimal extra space.

Physical space is important beyond overall temperature. Your server racks need significant room around them to create airflow so they benefit from the air. Typical best practices include high ceilings, strong HVAC systems, a lack of clutter, clean cables and power backups for cooling systems as well as servers.

Try Active-Active Architecture

Today, your vendor will likely recommend active-active or active-passive clustering to minimize your downtime. Look for someone who pushes active-active deployments.

In recent memory, active-passive clustering was a viable solution because of older deployments, needs and demands. However, the architecture won’t keep up today for most businesses. Active-active clustering environments can respond to increased demand and have a more significant ability to manage and keep data and communications.

This architecture provides more reliable uptime for core systems and can lower your overall risk for damage or downtime.

Audit It Yourself

It is very easy to generate system audits on your server and equipment to make sure things are running properly. However, any professional who knows how to reduce network outages will tell you that, sometimes, those automated reports miss the big picture.

Have your team perform process audits so they’re looking at the equipment and how it’s being utilized. You might just find something that saves time operationally and reduces the load on your servers, helping them last longer with improved uptime.

Employ Managed Switches

Redundancy is a clarion call for all server farms and company systems — it’s the most reliable method for minimizing network downtime. Creating redundancy and implementing required protocols is at the heart of this, but it needs the right technology to be useful: managed switches.

Managed switches generate network visibility with the link-loss-learn capability to make it easier for your team to avoid or recover from link faults and failures. By immediately repairing and routing around issues, you’re less likely to experience downtime.

Stay Vigilant

Our final suggestion on how to reduce network outages and how to maintain a network efficiently is to consistently monitor your network — both with people and automated systems.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to stop an outage. It’ll happen due to natural disasters, a plug that gets pulled out when someone trips over it or when a hacker decides to make you their target. Vigilance is the right path to keep everything secure.

Vigilance also helps you determine when parts of your network need to be replaced or repaired. Pairing that with a comprehensive coverage and repair platform that isn’t limited by OEMs or parts makers will ensure that your network stays up longer and bounces back faster if something ever goes wrong. Be proactive and preventative with a robust maintenance package.

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Third-Party vs. OEM Network Maintenance | March 09th, 2017

Efficiency is everything in the IT world. From cost to labor to functionality, efficiency is the focus of businesses around the globe. As businesses adjust to the digital age, they expect efficiency among their IT professionals as well, which is one of the reasons — despite the skyrocketing workloads of IT professionals — IT departmental budgets only grew by $2,000 last year.

With such tight budgets, finding new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency is more important than ever. For many businesses, network support is one of the best places to start. Network maintenance and support costs take up to 70 percent of the average company’s IT budget, which is considerable given the costs of labor and equipment involved in IT. Most companies can reduce excess costs to their IT budget by finding a better source for their network upkeep.

Concerning network support, there are two options available to businesses today: support from your manufacturer or support from a third-party maintenance provider. It’s important to understand the differences between the two and what they mean for your business’ bottom line.

What Are the Differences Between Third-Party and OEM Network Maintenance?

Better known as OEMs, Original Equipment Manufacturers are the network equipment brands with which you’re familiar. From Cisco to Juniper to Alcatel-Lucent, OEMs often offer both equipment and support services for their users. One of these support services is network maintenance.

OEM-sourced network maintenance often appears to be the best option for IT professionals, and is marketed as such by the OEMs themselves. The most notable benefit for businesses using OEM support is the ability of the provider to ship spare parts from warehouses when IT equipment fails. Third-party providers often lack this option. With such detailed service and a deep understanding of the equipment, OEMs offer a viable support option for many businesses. It’s logical to think that OEM network maintenance providers must be the best maintenance resources for businesses, but they’re neither the best nor the only choices available.

OEM Network Maintenance services often come at reasonable prices immediately after you’ve first bought and set up your equipment. Some OEMs offer free support and setup services in the first few months after your purchase as a show of goodwill. After a few years, you may notice a sharp rise in your support bills. This isn’t a clerical error, and it’s likely part of your service contract. OEM support services do this intentionally.

The reasons for this price increase include the following:

  • Support Service Training: OEMs train their support staff to service any equipment currently in use. This means expanding their training with each new product line. The more equipment currently in use, the lengthier the training. This also means support staff takes longer to get from the interview to the phone line. By increasing the cost of supporting older models, OEMs encourage their users to update their systems. This makes it easier to phase out older models and omit them from their training programs. This is called the equipment’s End of Life, or EOL.
  • Bolster Sales of New Models: Increasing the pricing schedule of older models encourages their users to upgrade. This in itself is an attractive prospect for OEMs, as it increases the sale of new products and product lines. It’s also sensible from a business standpoint, as your current customer pool is your best source of new business. While good for the OEM, it’s inconvenient for users, incurring considerable costs either way.

Businesses using an OEM’s hardware and support service face a frustrating choice every time their OEM deems their hardware as outdated. They can either deal with increased service charges or switch their hardware out for the newer models. While the upgrade may seem the cheaper option in the long haul, hardware upgrades are extremely expensive in both the long and short term. Not only is there the immediate cost of the new hardware, but also the considerable labor needed to install the equipment and migrate data — plus the costs of potential data loss and corruption involved in the migration process.

Third-Party Network Maintenance is the alternative option to OEM network maintenance. While OEMs both manufacture and provide support for their hardware, third-party maintenance providers work primarily in support and resale services.

The lack of investment in hardware manufacturing is an important factor in distinguishing third-party service providers from OEM support services. The focus on affordable resale and maintenance services rather than hardware design and manufacturing means the incentive for these businesses is to provide the best service for the widest range of products, maintaining a wide range of OEMs and older product models. This is especially valuable, considering OEMs’ reluctance to service their older products.

What Are the Advantages of Third-Party Network Maintenance?

Third-party support providers are usually the most efficient maintenance service option for businesses of all types. A focus on service means your company benefits in many ways, including the following:

  • Cost Savings: Businesses of all sizes are constantly on the hunt for new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. Switching from an OEM to a third-party network maintenance solution is one of the best ways to do that — but exactly how much do you save with third-party network maintenance? NetGuard alone offers savings from 50 percent to as much as 90 percent.

Third-party support services do this by customizing and streamlining your maintenance service plans. OEM support providers offer inflexible pricing schedules with hidden fees and seemingly random increases in price. This often results in a higher monthly bill for your company, no matter how minimal your service needs. On the other hand, third-party support providers offer transparent pricing schedules with more service options, reducing your bill while increasing the quality of your service.

  • Increased Efficiency and Flexibility: Most data centers use equipment from several OEMs. Usually, this is a result of cost, an OEM switch or simple IT staff preference. Whatever the reason, such a collage of equipment can pose an expensive problem when it comes to support. Using equipment from multiple manufacturers means you may end up talking to several OEM representatives every time there’s a problem you can’t pinpoint. Not only can this be frustrating for your IT staff, but it can also extend the length of your downtime. It’s also expensive for your business, resulting in massive support bills and lost business connections.

The solution for businesses in this position is a cross-vendor support service that offers basic support for a wide variety of OEMs. While some OEMs offer these kinds of support services, they run at a much higher rate than normal. For third-party providers, however, this kind of service is standard. Independent support companies are often certified at the same level as OEM support staff, and can troubleshoot a wider range of brands and equipment models. This way, you can deal with all of your network problems through a single point of contact.

  • Extended Equipment Lifespan: Most OEMs will advise you to replace your equipment before its EOL date. This is usually five to ten years after the release of the model. Once the EOL date has passed, the OEM will cut off their support for that hardware. However, the average functional lifespan of network hardware is often more than double what your OEM tells you, ranging from 18 to 33 years. Unfortunately, the lack of support from OEMs results in more than 85 percent of users prematurely tossing their old systems. To solve this dilemma, third-party providers offer support for older hardware up to 10 years after their EOL dates, effectively extending their lifespans and reducing replacement costs for their users.
  • Customizable Plans: Of all the problems with OEM service providers, the lack of flexibility is the most frustrating for businesses. OEM support services usually come at a single flat rate that covers all the OEMs’ basic support functions, most of which only apply to certain business types. As your equipment ages, this rate increases, as do any fees incurred for “special” support services. For most businesses, this means you end up paying extra for the services you need, while still paying a flat rate for services you never use. Third-party support service providers offer an alternative solution: customizable service plans. Instead of paying a flat rate for a fixed package of services, you can choose the specific services you know you’ll use. You pay for what you need — no more, no less.
  • Better Service: An incredible 81 percent of OEM users reported some level of dissatisfaction with their providers. Among the complaints filed was the claim that providers misrepresented the value of the services they provided. While OEM support providers often boast about the value of their services, their value is actually relatively low. Despite how much you’ll pay for an OEM service provider, the services covered in their flat rate are superficial, and any detailed troubleshooting or diagnostic services stay locked behind a steep paywall. When you choose a third-party service, you can expect professional-level support at a reasonable price.

These benefits have convinced many businesses to switch from OEM to third-party network maintenance. However, many companies still enjoy the benefits offered by OEM support services, particularly their ability to ship spare parts for failing equipment.

Instead of dedicating themselves to one option or the other, many companies choose a balance between the two types of network maintenance providers. These businesses usually seek basic support from a third-party provider, turning to an OEM when they have more specific needs.

A high-quality, third-party support service can help you to further minimize your OEM service needs. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Worldwide Services’ NetGuard Maintenance is what you need.

What Makes NetGuard Better than OEM Services?

When it comes to third-party providers, quality varies. Higher-end companies often mirror OEMs in their pricing schedules, while low-end providers offer a cheap option in both price and quality. It’s often tough to find a company that strikes a balance between quality and cost. NetGuard offers the best option in each category, offering functionality beyond that of most third-party support providers while keeping costs low.

Some of the most notable benefits of NetGuard over either OEM or other third-party service providers include:

  • Single Portal Service: Juggling multiple passwords for all the OEMs your company uses can be confusing. This is especially true if your company uses more than four OEMs. Netguard offers a simple solution — a single web portal that allows you access to all your maintenance agreements and plans, as well as past and future orders.
  • Vast Troubleshooting Capabilities: NetGuard supports over 200 past and present product lines from a wide range of manufacturers. From Cisco to Ciena to Oracle, our field-tested technicians know it all. With over 30 years combined experience in troubleshooting and managing major OEM brands, our team can handle anything.
  • Equipment Substitutions: Equipment fails, and when it does, so does your system. It can take days for replacement equipment to arrive, and every day you wait is another day your profits plummet. Be prepared for every situation with NetGuard’s Cloud-Sparing™ program. This program protects your critical systems from outages, arming you with ready-to-install spares. We’ll store this Worldwide Supply owned equipment on-site so you can deploy it immediately with the help of our 24-hour support line.
  • Impressive Response Time: Worldwide Services has service centers and warehouses around the world. Why? So we can see each one of our markets in person. As part of our service guarantee, we offer four-hour on-site service from our top-notch engineers and technical staff.

With all these incredible benefits, it’s no wonder Worldwide Services sports a customer satisfaction rating of 99.9 percent!

Learn More about NetGuard

Globally recognized as the premier networking equipment provider and partnered with over 14,000 businesses, Worldwide Services is a company that prides itself on its exceptional customer service. Regardless of the location or circumstance, we support each one of our customers with quality consulting and technical support services.

All our services keep up with the highest industry standards. We do it because, at Worldwide Services, we strive to offer our clients the best quality in the industry.

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CloudSparing™: Spare Parts Protection for Telecoms, Data Centers and Enterprises | January 13th, 2017

By: Worldwide Services

(A cost-effective solution to slash critical spares inventory overhead)

 

Worldwide Services is focused on satisfying our clients’ needs now–and down the line. We exceed expectations by solving problems before they happen. One of the most common risks for wireless and telecom operators is the ability to cost-effectively inventory spare parts.

An IT person’s worst nightmare can become a reality when a part or equipment fails, resulting in system-wide downtime. While waiting for the OEM to finally ship the part you need, profits are spiraling down the drain. But with Cloud-Sparing™, included in our exclusive NetGuard maintenance program at no additional charge, you’ll be protected with a cost-effective, stress-free solution which includes ready-to-install critical-need spares, if and when they are needed.

Exclusively for NetGuard third-party maintenance partners, Cloud-Sparing™ offers:

  • Worldwide Supply-owned equipment and spare parts inventoried at your site/s for immediate deployment.
  • Private and secure web portal and dedicated phone line for 24-hour delivery of spare parts orders.
  • 24/7/365 dedicated technical support provided by in-house, certified system engineers.

CloudSparing™ will immediately increase efficiency, slash inventory costs and diminish the chance of system downtime.

Why CloudSparing™ Will Save Time, Money and Outage Crises

For the majority of larger enterprises today, the networking team tells the purchasing manager (supply chain) how many parts they need, and the Purchasing team buys what they recommend. This method trades current OpEx $ for the comfort and safety of knowing a part is there when you need it.

But there is a flaw in this system:

Networking understandably wants to avoid any critical shortages, which could result in system downtime, so they will often “overbuy,” boosting inventory costs on a product that is not in use.

CloudSparing™ Protects IP’s, Data Centers, Utilities and Larger Enterprises from System Downtime

The added level of security Cloud Sparing™ offers is also a less expensive alternative to working with an OEM.  And the process is simple and direct:

Example: Steve needs 10 service routers on the shelf for next year, at a cost of $500/each. From experience, he usually requires about five routers a year; but increased volume is anticipated, and if he doesn’t build-in the request for multiple spares to this year’s budget, he may not be able to garner additional funding down the road. So to play it safe, he purchases 10 units at a total expenditure of $5,000.

Conversely, Joe talks to Worldwide Services and discovers CloudSparing™ is included in Worldwide Services third-party maintenance program, NetGuard.

Worldwide Services manages end-to-end (not just one OEM brand) network equipment maintenance for global, multi-site enterprises. Our system engineers and technicians have decades of on-the-ground experience and use this expertise to offset any potential system outages.

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Eliminating Spare Overbuys and the Platinum OEM Maintenance Stranglehold

IT professionals are quickly coming to the realization that the OEM’s mission is to optimize profits by securing overly stringent SLAs and inflating pricing for critical-need products. As a result, enterprises need to identify alternative sources who can provide the same (or better) products and services, at more realistic prices.

We welcome the opportunity to talk about your system needs and how we can improve the quality of your replacement products and maintenance service, at a cost far below what you are paying right now.

We’d like to learn more about your network equipment and maintenance protection needs. Then we’ll create a customized proposal to safeguard your system while keeping your budget in line. Contact us to learn more about Cloud-Sparing™ and NetGuard.

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NetGuard Maintenance: One contract, better coverage, less money | August 10th, 2016

When a publicly traded Telecom/Internet Service Provider (ISP) came to Worldwide Services asking if we could replace Cisco SmartNet with a more flexible, cost-effective equipment maintenance solution, the answer was easy—NetGuard Maintenance.

Developed in 2011 to help customers more efficiently support legacy routing and switching systems, NetGuard immediately slashed the ISP’s Cisco maintenance costs by 55 percent.

But the story isn’t over yet–

  • A year later, the ISP faced a similar problem with some HP and Dell servers. They came back to Worldwide Services again, and we promptly reduced their maintenance costs by more than 50 percent.

In both cases, our client was impressed with the quality of our service and our team and the relationship grew into their eventual purchase of our pre-owned networking equipment.

  • By year three of our relationship, they called us “We’re looking for an alternative to NetApp’s maintenance contract. Can you help?”

NetGuard replaced NetApp’s maintenance program, and the client saved more than 60 percent a year.

This is a classic NetGuard client experience–It started as “the SmartNet alternative,” and steadily expanded into one of the most robust, multi-vendor hardware maintenance platforms in the infrastructure management marketplace.

Upgrade Your Network Based on Your Needs—not the OEM

Just One End-to-End Hardware Equipment Maintenance Contract

A comprehensive third-party solution, NetGuard can cover all of your OEM brands under a single contract. With just one phone call or log-in to your NetGuard web portal, you can access all of the maintenance agreements (where you are saving more than 50 percent).

Our field-experienced engineers and technicians have deep expertise in managing all major OEM brands including:

Cisco ∙ Alcatel-Lucent ∙ Arris ∙ Fujitsu ∙ Ciena ∙ Nortel ∙ Tellabs ∙ Nokia ∙ Ericsson ∙ HP ∙ Dell ∙ NetApp ∙ Juniper∙ Brocade∙ Avaya ∙ Oracle ∙ F5 Networks∙ Harris

Worldwide Services global service and inventory centers make it possible for us to reach all major markets within 24 hours. We guarantee four-hour on-site service, provided by certified engineers and technical experts who have amassed 30+ years of technical expertise.

Why NetGuard Maintenance is a “No Brainer”

  • Add and manage any support contract–from any OEM network equipment provider–using NetGuard’s Portal as a single point of reference for all items under all contracts
  • 100+ fully-supported current and legacy OEM product lines
  • Global state-of-the-art 24×7 expert-level technical assistance
  • Personalized solutions: next business day parts and products, four-hour on-site spare service, and field support mobility
  • Multi-OEM vendor solutions rolled into one simple, customized contract
  • Private portal access to Worldwide Services web-based proprietary software
  • Contract management, ticketing system and KnowledgeBase technical library access

Few things in business today are “no-brainers.” But when you can slash expenditures by more than 50 percent, receive higher quality service and virtually eliminate OEM administrative headaches, isn’t it worth checking out?

Welcome to NetGuard.

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