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What Is The Bathtub Curve

And How Can It Be Extended?

There has been much talk in recent times about the Bathtub Curve, and amongst the IT channel this appears to have become somewhat of a buzzword phrase. But what is it, how can it help IT decision makers in businesses and how can it be extended? Let Mike Halverson, Business Development Executive, explain…

What is the Bathtub Curve?

The Bathtub Curve is a failure rate graph used in reliability engineering and deterioration modeling that is shaped in a line that curves up at either end, similar to a bathtub. It is made up of three main regions; one for each curve and one for the straight baseline. These regions are:

  1. The downward curve – a decreasing failure rate due to early failures as products initiate and hit teething troubles before evening out
  2. The straight baseline – a constant failure rate caused by random failures through standard product usage
  3. The upward curve – an increasing failure rate due to late failures as products wear out and hit their end-of-life point.

Not all products work to the Bathtub Curve, but many items of IT hardware do – as indeed, do many electronic consumer products.

Why should IT decision makers be concerned with the Bathtub Curve?

IT decision makers within businesses are usually responsible for budgets and financial spend, and so must account for both hardware and software reaching the end of its life and needing replacement. In most organizations, there is no provision for either hardware or software to stop working without some kind of suitable replacement; or disruption to customers or end users will occur.

In knowing, or at least having a rough idea, where their business’ IT hardware sits within the Bathtub Curve, IT decision makers are able to properly plan their budgets and resources ahead of any planned decommission and replacement install projects.

For data centers, it is often fairly easy to identify roughly where in the Bathtub Curve storage, server and networking devices are operating as this is often indicated by the OEM’s stipulated EOSL date.

How can the Bathtub Curve be extended?

The Bathtub Curve can have its straight baseline extended if hardware is properly maintained in order to delay its latter upward curve. For IT data center assets, this is usually done through the maintenance offered by the OEM – but only up until a point. When the OEM issues its EOSL date, they pull their maintenance and updates from their assets in order to focus their attention on newer ranges. However, the existing equipment does not cease to function.

While businesses can choose at the EOSL point to decommission and replace their hardware in order to stop the Bathtub Curve and start another for new products, they can instead opt to extend it. To do this, maintenance services should be sought through a Third Party Maintenance provider; taking over where the OEM stops offering its own support.

Third Party Maintenance can extend the straight baseline for many years, which not only stops the organization from having to undergo costly and time-consuming equipment replacement cycles but also ‘sweats’ the assets for as long as possible, maximizing the value derived and allowing for budget to be collated over a longer period of time for any eventual hardware procurement.

Where can I get more information on Third Party Maintenance?

Procurri offer Third Party Maintenance across legacy equipment from all major OEMs, working to complement rather than breach existing OEM-client agreements. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your organization’s data center configuration and to find out for just how long you can expect the straight baseline of your Bathtub Curve to last!

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