If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: We live in interesting times. So much so that one of my favorite movies, Fight Club, put something into perspective for me as it relates to our business. It’s the idea of the single-serving world we live in. 

In the movie, Edward Norton’s character describes his life in the context of everything being that of single servings. From his airplane food, to the shampoo and soap in hotel rooms, right down to the people that he sits next to on the plane—referring  to them as single-serving friends. And, oddly enough, he isn’t wrong.

We collectively live in a world where everything is disposable. From our clothing, to goods we buy, and more, everything seems to be cheaper and of little to no value after its expiration date. After all, how many times have we said it, or most likely our grandparents have said this familiar phrase: “They sure don’t make things like they used to anymore.” 

And though we live like this every day, there are some instances where we should re-evaluate our approach not only to save money, but to end the madness known as chronic upgrading.

One of the first places for a business to start is the data center. It sounds easy, right? The idea of not upgrading servers, switches, etc., every few quarters (okay, an exaggeration, but hear me out) is not the best approach—no matter what the vendor says. 

For so many years now, the big manufacturers have followed one simple rule: sell more gear. And, to be honest, I don’t blame them. For companies to stay in business it is easier and better to sell new gear than it is to keep older gear running—at least from their own business model. 

In many cases, the paradigm has been created to make it easier and sometimes more cost effective to buy new equipment from the manufacturer than it is to buy a hardware maintenance plan. And why not, right? New and shiny is always cool, and it’s always better … isn’t it? Actually no, it’s not. But if the new gear is cheaper than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance plan, what choice is there?

This is why third-party maintenance is so important in the ecosystem that is IT hardware. If the manufacturer’s plan is to always up-sell while simultaneously making its own maintenance far too expensive to even consider, IT folks must ask themselves how much they truly want to play that game. 

If the third option is to maintain perfectly good gear for as long as it’s actually viable, then why not? Think of it this way: With a third-party IT hardware support, equipment is consistently well maintained; therefore, it is always in optimal condition. Being able to keep IT hardware past the manufacturers’ end-of-support-life date, keeps the IT hardware you have paid for running for as long as you need it.

But what about true cost savings? Well, third-party IT hardware support can cost up to 60% less than the traditional OEM extended warranties. In fact, in some cases, customers can save 50% to 80% on support costs across the board.

My point in all of this? The world needs to embrace the past just a little bit—a time when we would fix things and not just throw things away when the next bright and shiny object appeared. It’s not to say that our single-serving lives won’t continue, it’s just a fact of life in our modern consumer-based world. But if we can apply it in just a few unique ways, we can perhaps save a little money, apply it to new and exciting IT projects, and make the CFO happy at the same time. It sounds crazy, but it just might work. 😉