When you buy an IBM hardware product, the business partner or IBM will generally perform a Technical Delivery Assessment (TDA) meeting with you to insure that the solution you’re going to buy is appropriate for your environment and meets your needs.
A TDA is really a newish name for the old Solution Assurance (SA) process. TDAs are intended to help guarantee the following items are met before a machine is purchased, delivered, and installed:
- That the solution meets customer requirements
- That the proposed solution is technologically viable
- That there aren’t issues around delivery and installation
- That all the risks around using the solution have been identified and properly assessed
TDAs can be performed pre-sale, pre-installation, or post-installation. They can be performed by the person who designed your solution, a technical peer reviewer of the designer, or by a technical subject matter expert (SME). The type of TDA you need will depend on the type of hardware you’re installing and how complicated the installation is.
When you buy a new IBM product from a business partner, make sure the business partner performs a TDA. The TDA may help you catch mistakes that occurred while the business partner is putting together an order, such as missing power cords or redundant power supplies, the wrong controller cards, the wrong amount of memory or processors, whether the solution will work in your data center, etc. A TDA is a good process to make sure you don’t miss anything or order the wrong parts.
In my own experience, one time a client ordered a new power systems box without ordering a Hardware Management Console (HMC), which we had to scramble to account for at installation time. That’s the kind of mistake that a TDA is supposed to avoid before purchasing, and a good example of why you need to perform a TDA.
Remember that you are entitled to at least one TDA from your business partner (and possibly IBM) before you order or install new hardware, and make sure your business partner checks off on what you’re getting. A well-performed TDA can save a lot of trouble after the machine comes in.
For some high-end servers, IBM will not ship the box until the TDA has been approved. In some of the lower-end boxes, the TDA may not be required but you should ask for it anyway to insure you’re getting the right solution.
For more information, here’s a good article on TDAs from IBM Systems Magazine.
(originally published July 2013, republished February 2014)