Reluctant to recommend servers that aren't new?



  • We (xbyte) sell "refurbished" and used servers and run into issues where MSPs are reluctant to recommend them to clients. How many of you fall into that reluctant category and why?



  • NTG has long been a fan of refurbished enterprise gear. The quality of the equipment is so much more important than most other factors.



  • I think that a lot of companies have young IT staff, especially in the SMB market, and a lot of their impressions of refurb gear was formed during the x86_64 virtualization transition era.

    This caused refurb gear to be 32bit and/or not virtualization capable during the time period when a lot of opinions were formed. In the Intel / AMD world.

    This created a short but influential era when the value of refurbished gear was very low when returned servers made sense before that time and do now again now that returned gear supports virtualization.

    Getting that misplaced impression to "work it's way through the industry" and move on with more rational thinking is important.



  • I'm personally OK with refurb gear, as long as I can get excellent warranty support and re certified hardware.



  • We've used refurbed commercial desktops for years. What a great value they have been. We get such great gear at affordable prices. It allows us to do things like buy nice, business class desktops for our staff at home.

    We avoid refurb laptops due to the wear and tear that they tend to take.



  • @scottalanmiller I agree stationary items will hold up best.



  • i sell a ton of refurbs for desktops. Xbyte, what y'all got for me on the server side with a warranty ?



  • Not really a ton, but maybe 100 last year.



  • I'm in the reluctant category. I like that most refurbished equipment has a warranty. However, the older the items it, the less time it has left on the MBTF. Even if it's under warranty, if it's down, it's down. For a larger project where equipment's running N+1, it may be more viable.



  • You have to compare the cost savings of the refurb gear to the cost of downtime. Downtime is always assumed to be expensive but in an average SMB is actually very cheap.



  • Refurb gear, in my experience, doesn't displace the purchasing of new servers. It instead generally replaces purchases of white box or other non-enterprise gear. I find that the benefit is that it helps move shops on a budget from really bad things to enterprise gear.



  • @Bill-Kindle said:

    I'm personally OK with refurb gear, as long as I can get excellent warranty support and re certified hardware.

    Along with this, the key for me is getting a tech dispatch by the vendor. For our clients, there is no one besides us to handle things. We cannot be in all places so we sell them on the fact that the extra warranty for the Dell/HP to show up saves them our billable hours in the long run when there is a failure.

    Now that everything is virtualized, I really have zero against refurb gear since the hardware abstraction fixes the "not exact same hardware" issues.



  • Definitely, virtualization makes refurb gear that much better in this generation.



  • @Hubtech everything we sell has at least 1 year warranty. Our day center pulls have 1 year. Our bulk buys from Dell's cancelled orders have 3 year with some stuff covered by Dell (original config) and the rest covered by us. Anything we have labeled "refurb" has actually never been used. We have to call it refurb because it is not being sold directly by Dell and our contract with them controls the descriptions we use.



  • @Hubtech we actually don't sell any refurb desktops. If you sell the desktops, we should get talk about partnering in some deals.



  • @ryan-from-xbyte said:

    @Hubtech we actually don't sell any refurb desktops. If you sell the desktops, we should get talk about partnering in some deals.

    We work with Arslan Trading in Dallas for refurb desktops.



  • @Nara some of our customers use some of their savings to buy extra parts to have in the shelf. They can then swap out in case of a failure. That gives them even less downtime than having a 4 hour warranty.



  • i usually buy them from tiger direct. or evertek. AST, Joy Systems. stuff like that.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    You have to compare the cost savings of the refurb gear to the cost of downtime. Downtime is always assumed to be expensive but in an average SMB is actually very cheap.

    For a SMB, perhaps. I work more with SME and Enterprise. For example, a 67-person service company pulling in $23M per year would be out about $88k for a day of downtime (assuming a 5-day workweek). They wouldn't be able to service clients, post new data, or take payments.



  • @ryan-from-xbyte said:

    @Nara some of our customers use some of their savings to buy extra parts to have in the shelf. They can then swap out in case of a failure. That gives them even less downtime than having a 4 hour warranty.

    That could be handy.



  • @Nara How do you handle that now? Even a 4-hour response warranty would result in a half day downtime.



  • Our biggest hurdle is customers who have their servers hosted at a datacenter. The extra step of having to go to another facility makes a non-onsite warranty difficult to use.



  • ryan, are you getting "chats"?



  • @Hubtech I am now. I didn't know that was a chat request. I thought it was just telling me that you were online. I just received your request and will work something up. I am going over to my mother's for her birthday, so I won't be able to get you anything until tomorrow AM.



  • @ryan-from-xbyte said:

    @Nara How do you handle that now? Even a 4-hour response warranty would result in a half day downtime.

    When possible, I get an extra server for N+1 onsite, or set up a server with a replicated copy offsite.



  • @ryan-from-xbyte said:

    Our biggest hurdle is customers who have their servers hosted at a datacenter. The extra step of having to go to another facility makes a non-onsite warranty difficult to use.

    But since the equipment's in a datacenter, the power's generally cleaner, and the environment's favorable on the servers. Wouldn't that generally result in lower failure rates? Most datacenters I've been to have workbenches to do hardware work and space for customers or remote hands to get work done while they wait for a tech.



  • @scottalanmiller how old of refurb PCs are you buying? or are they all factory defects that have been repaired, so not technically new, but no real age either?



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller how old of refurb PCs are you buying? or are they all factory defects that have been repaired, so not technically new, but no real age either?

    We normally buy "off lease" so about three years old.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller how old of refurb PCs are you buying? or are they all factory defects that have been repaired, so not technically new, but no real age either?

    We normally buy "off lease" so about three years old.

    How much longer do you run them? We did this about 4 years ago, much to my surprise most of them are still in service. They all came with XP. All of them are slated to be replaced ASAP.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller how old of refurb PCs are you buying? or are they all factory defects that have been repaired, so not technically new, but no real age either?

    We normally buy "off lease" so about three years old.

    How much longer do you run them? We did this about 4 years ago, much to my surprise most of them are still in service. They all came with XP. All of them are slated to be replaced ASAP.

    Six or more years. Desktops don't age like they used to.


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