Summary: Searching for multi-platform maintenance organizations

From: Rich Kulawiec (
Date: Wed Mar 12 1997 - 09:31:22 CST

The original question:

> I've been asked to get some opinions on organizations which are in the
> business of providing multi-platform tiered hardware maintenance in the
> northeast US. To explain what that means, I'm looking for companies who
> are in the business of supporting, say, Sun/Digital/HP/SGI hardware on
> a contractual basis, with such a contract specifying multiple response
> levels (at, of course, multiple prices). In particular, I'm looking for
> opinions about such vendors in terms of price, field tech knowledge,
> responsiveness, and flexibility.

There were a number of recommendations (positive and negative); here's
a capsule:

Honeywell -- covers Sun and some other equipment, but the folks using them
        have separate contracts for specialized gear (e.g. Auspex).
        Responsive and clueful, with reliable 24-hour turnaround.
        Contact: Steve McGown, Boston, (617) 558-2630 x5060

Kodak -- Field support people are thought of highly; used for Sun and HP,
        have a good parts stock, will go out on a limb to help you
        out of a jam. Support staff not always as fast as they could be.

Polaris -- Pretty good, offered various support levels a la Sun Spectrum.
        Mentioned by two people, one of whom has two consulting clients
        signed up with them. Those clients says that they're impressed
        by the responsiveness and knowledge.

Digital -- Like most vendors, has a group that will support other
        vendors products. In their case, it's "Multi Vendor Services"
        who can be reached via:

                Lola, Jim
                Digital Equipment Corporation
                2525 Augustine Drive WRO1-2/F31; Santa Clara, CA 95954
                (408) 748 4019
                Fax: (408) 748 4155

Intergraph -- Mixed reviews. They've shifted corporate direction
        to Wintel systems (away from Unix) and the resulting narrowing
        of focus may make them suboptimal at this point. But they
        may be reached either by contacting Customer Service Manager
        Chris Wydler, (703) 264-1520. or NE Regional Director,
        Dave Heckman, at (703) 264-5600.

Can-Am Computers,
Pioneer computers,
Bell Atlantic,
Maintech (Wallington, New Jersey)

        -- All mentioned but no additional info.

Dave Norton also suggested that perhaps I take another direction -- here's
his comment on that:

        There are also a number of companies that are "system integrators" who
        take care of both software (sys admin type stuff) and hardware. The
        contracts with these guys that I'm familiar with basically are set up
        - we have $2 million a year, we need these particular capabilities and
        these type of support services. The integrator then deals with
        various vendors to find things that will meet your requirements,
        sometimes even leasing equipment instead of buying it. It practice,
        there tends to be pretty close cooperation with the customer to make
        sure the customer will be happy with the solutions being provided.
        I'm only familiar with one's that work on big DoD contracts. A few
        names that come to mind are Grumman, and Nichols Research.
        I don't know if they are appropriate for your situation or not. A
        person at Grumman who might be able to point you in the right
        direction you might want to contact is:
        Sam Hiser Tel:703 713 4309
        Northrop Grumman Data Systems Fax: 703 713 4103
        2411 Dulles Corners Park Suite 800
        Herndon Virginia 22071

James K Brigman also made a comment that I thought provided some generally
helpful guidance -- here's what he had to say:

        However, if you want the best quality of service (fastest, most
        expert), you are ALWAYS going to do better by simply contracting
        directly with the vendor of the hardware. AFter all, a middleman
        is always going to go back to the original vendor anyway,
        particularly in escalation situations.

Thanks to:
R A Lichtensteiger,
John Reynolds,
Robert Tommaselli,
Alex Finkel,
Dave Norton,
Bill Shorter,
Celeste Stokely,
James K Brigman,
Jim Harmon,

Rich Kulawiec

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