In this blog we’re going to explain why there is no need to be rushed into refreshing your EOS Netezza appliances - there are other options.
Are you under pressure to refresh your Early-Gen Netezza models?
Having announced the End-of-Support (EOS) dates for all of its Early-Gen Netezza models, IBM is now pushing its customers to begin the refresh process for hardware that is still viable and meeting the needs of a large user base. This is happening at a time when businesses are under a lot of pressure from the economic downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic, so arguably it’s not the best timing. Many of these businesses had already faced quite a dilemma when the announcement was first made without a decent IBM migration path.
Now IBM has pulled a rabbit out of the hat with its new Netezza Performance Server, the pressure is back on for IBM die-hards to keep up with the pace and say goodbye to their much-loved Early-Gen models. However, even though there may be a brand spanking new box with their name written on it just waiting to be ordered, should companies be spending huge amounts of Capex when the future is uncertain, their existing systems are providing value and there are ways to keep them running for years to come?
What’s wrong with running hardware that has passed EOS?
The ending of Early-Gen Netezza support is a good example of the typical OEM philosophy that forces companies into a refresh, even those that are not ready to make the transition.
This premature obsolescence is designed to generate long-term sales volume under the pretext of perceived improvements to performance and functionality. The problem is that many companies run mission critical systems and complicated legacy applications on IBM Netezza hardware that is about to, or already has, gone out of support, and are now faced with an expedited refresh or loss of official support.
Without official support, there is fear that if the hardware breaks, it cannot be fixed easily and that there is a lack of expertise available to resolve day to day issues. The reality, however, is that there is a thriving market for Netezza OEM parts. And there are companies like Smart Associates that have the Netezza skills that IBM no longer has.
You can liken this situation to how the owner of a prestige car keeps it running with a good mechanic using authentic OEM spares. The parts come from the original manufacturers that provided the parts for assembly and kept inventory after the machines stopped being built. And the analogy doesn’t stop there. There is a big trade in scrapped vehicles for their usable parts. Likewise, there are many Netezza appliances in circulation that have been replaced that can be cannibalised for parts.
So, the announcement by IBM that it is no longer manufacturing Netezza is not a reason to panic and fast track a hardware refresh. And assuming that you are happy with your Netezza implementation and that it meets your near to medium term needs, the question should really be what do you need by way of support?
What support do you need to keep your Early-Gen Netezza models running?
1. Netezza Hardware Support
Prolonged downtime caused by a hardware failure can have a major impact on the business. In anticipation of this, some organisations maintain an inventory of spare parts, but if something breaks that is not in your inventory, you will need help sourcing those parts. Moreover, even if you have the spare parts on hand, you still need expertise readily available to get you back up and running should your early-gen Netezza EOS hardware experience an issue. You certainly won’t, however, want to be pulling your engineers off of strategic tasks to handle routine support or to find spares.
2. Software / Product Support
One of the main impacts of IBM ending its support of Early-Gen Netezza models is that you no longer have the opportunity to train your staff. Fewer, if any, IBM courses are being run. Furthermore, the supply of skilled resources in the job market is drying up as Early-Gen Netezza environments disappear. Given that you will still want to keep your system running at peak performance, and to perform routine administrative tasks, you should consider looking to Third Party Maintenance to give you access to skilled Netezza resources whenever you need them.
How can Smart Associates help with your Netezza Support?
Smart Associates used to be part of the global Netezza support team, so if there are people who know Netezza, it’s us. We can continue to provide software and hardware support for your appliances while you plan the transition to a replacement platform. This enables you to reduce the pressure to replace Netezza without sacrificing support quality.
Examples of in-scope activities for our support service, at no additional cost to customers, include:
- System alert notification integration with our ticketing system
- Health checks and remediation plan recommendations
- Hardware, software, performance, or workload management problem investigation, determination and recommendations
- Best practise guidelines and advice in response to technical questions
- Housekeeping activities
Our service is global and we offer straightforward, flexible pricing options to suit your business requirements:
- A flat rate per supported system, regardless of age
- Level of cover from office hours to 24x7
- Discounts for volume, size and non-production systems