A common question for IT departments looking to reduce their budget:
Should I buy new, used or refurbished servers?
Consider two men who walk into a car dealership: one is a 50 year old man with a $700 a month expense account, the other a student on a budget. The businessman walks straight to the newest Cadillac – he can afford a little luxury and speed. The student, however, goes to the used car department. He’s looking for basic and safe transportation. He knows the used cars have been properly inspected and cleaned – this car dealership wouldn’t sell an unreliable used vehicle. Both men walk away with good cars, each tailored to their needs.
Servers are no different. New servers work best for those who need and can afford peak performance, while used and refurbished servers work well for those companies who need efficient and affordable solutions.
Price is a consideration when choosing servers: used and refurbished equipment is often between 30-80% less expensive than new equipment. Servers only one or two generations old offer substantial discounts with little sacrifice. Work with your IT department or server experts at your vendor to determine the exact technical specification your company needs for their servers.
Performance is also a consideration: new servers will deliver faster speeds than older ones. However, newer 4core/6core/8core processors are so much faster than older processors, you’ll unlikely notice the difference between servers with only one or two generation between them. Most users should be more concerned with disk input/output, which relates to data delivery speed.
In some circumstances, you may only want to add a similar server to your existing rack instead of buying all new servers, which could mean ordering equipment no longer manufactured. Used or refurbished equipment is your best option. A good vendor will thoroughly test the equipment, update the microcode, and professionally package the server so it’s as good as new.
What exactly is the difference between a used and refurbished, and where do they come from? That can be a difficult question to define – companies often use these words interchangeably. In general, used equipment is lightly cleaned and shipped to the customer. The better suppliers will burn in the equipment overnight and perform custom configurations to meet your requirements. Some vendors and manufacturers will completely refurbish the systems, making sure they meet the original specifications and meet “like new” quality. The outside is repainted and the boards are upgraded to the latest revision. Refurbished equipment includes a suffix –RF in the case of Cisco product and R at the end of an HP part number and include a warranty similar to new equipment. In the reseller community, used and refurbished equipment comes from leasing companies, end user take-outs, and trade-ins. The manufacturers also sell new surplus product through their factory-refurbished programs, as well as demo equipment and customer returns.
In all of these cases, the most important thing is that you are purchasing your equipment from a trusted seller. Check with the seller to guarantee that their equipment is tested, cleaned, and fully functional. Make sure the seller resets the server to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) setting. They should also offer a limited warranty. A seller unwilling to address these guarantees may not be a trusted source.
So which should you choose: new, used, or refurbished equipment?
First, decide if you want to buy new or used equipment. If you choose used, compare options of used or refurbished equipment to determine what best fits your needs. Often the most important decision is choosing a reliable seller to guarantee peak-functioning servers.
Written by Joel Nimar, President of Pyramid Technology Services, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pyramid Technology is happy to help you decide if high quality new, used, or refurbished server equipment is right for you. Please complete the form below for a free server consultation, and we’ll help you find what’s best for you!