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The waiting game: don’t upgrade those servers just yet
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The waiting game: don’t upgrade those servers just yet 

What can you do to avoid this situation? Rachel Rodenborg, Internet marketing manager, World Data Products, shared her advice on why you should wait to upgrade your servers.

“It’s no secret that it benefits an OEM when you upgrade to new server, storage, and networking hardware rather than refurbished equipment,” Rodenborg commented. As a result, sales reps have a strong incentive to convince you to buy new hardware. You do not need to succumb to their aggressive tactics, though. Rodenborg offered a strategy to deal with sales rep pressure.

“The first step to overcoming that pressure is to expect it to make an appearance. Too often IT professionals are blindsided by the very strong and immediate response they get when they mention buying refurbished,” she said. “Second, you need to be completely clear about why you’re looking at refurbished gear in the first place. You might be looking to leverage IT hardware cost savings of 50% or more while growing or maintaining your existing hardware systems or maybe you’re looking to delay an upgrade until a specific date in the future. Third, you need to take a hard look at your previous upgrade schedule, isolate what about it that wasn’t working for your company, and create a customized upgrade plan that meets the needs of your organization. And, finally, do your research. By researching potential IT hardware reseller partners and understanding their commitment to quality and warranty guarantee before you announce your intentions to switch to refurbished gear, you can save yourself a lot of heartache.”

Companies can take steps to prolong the life of their hardware as well. “If you are trying to avoid an IT hardware upgrade this year, it’s essential that you know where you can source replacement parts and components should you require them,” Rodenborg remarked. “Quite often you can rely on the IT hardware reseller partners that you researched to help you source the equipment you need. Additionally, these same organizations can help you grow your existing server, storage, and networking infrastructure by sourcing the same hardware models you are currently using, allowing you to expand your current system without upgrading. It is also helpful to make connections with a repair organization that can fix any legacy components that you are unable to replace.”

There are also clear benefits to waiting to upgrade hardware. “Server, storage or network hardware upgrades are notorious for taking up the lion’s share of most IT budgets,” Rodenborg noted. “If your current hardware is performing well and you are not experiencing any reliability issues, an easy way to free up budget dollars for non-upgrade initiatives is to delay upgrading and using the earmarked dollars for other projects.”

Instead of allowing a sales rep to talk you into what he or she thinks is right for your business, Rodenborg suggested certain things to consider before deciding to upgrade. Will other systems or software be negatively affected by a hardware upgrade? If so, how much will it cost to upgrade those systems or software? Another hidden cost associated with hardware upgrades is that of lost business when servers are taken offline during the upgrade process. In addition, deploying new servers affects other IT department projects’ budgets and the time department employees will be able to devote to them. During an upgrade, IT professionals will not have time to spend doing much else, which is another cost to consider.

Rodenborg sees many companies succumbing to sales reps’ pressure to upgrade. “Too many organizations follow the OEM’s three-year upgrade schedule simply because the OEM insists that it’s necessary to remain competitive and relevant,” she remarked. That line of thinking does not benefit the customer, though. “Following the recommended schedule without conducting an in-house performance evaluation is likely to result in upgrading too soon,” Rodenborg said. “As a result, you’re forfeiting a portion of the IT hardware investment you made at your last upgrade.”

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