Some time ago, for our sister site CrossNodes, I wrote an article about the availability of used networking equipment and how you (or your company) could save thousands of dollars by buying 'not quite new' equipment left over from the dot com bust. Although the dust has settled from that little implosion, not too much has changed in the business environment, and companies are still feeling the squeeze from economic forces, market factors and other business related challenges (did someone say accounting scandal?)
In the same way that there are bargains to be had with networking equipment, the same holds true of storage networking equipment such as controllers, tape drives, hard disk arrays, NAS devices, Fibre Channel equipment and so on. For those still in business and looking to implement or upgrade networked storage solutions, this all adds up to one thing. Previously cared for network storage hardware at discount prices.
Finding a source for used storage network hardware is an essentially simple task. Typing 'used storage networking equipment' into an Internet search engine will yield a list of companies who act as a marketplace or clearinghouse for used IT hardware. In straight terms this simply means that they buy surplus hardware from companies who are downsizing, liquidating or upgrading. One of the leading companies in this market is ITParade.com, Inc., a clearinghouse for IT equipment who operates through a network of dealers.
"Most of the high-power, high-dollar equipment comes from downsized telecom firms, ISPs, and financially distressed corporations. They invested heavily in IT during the late 1990s boom, and now their surplus is helping to fuel the growth of the secondary market," says Robert Davie, ITParade's executive vice president and founder.
Of course buying used equipment does have additional considerations over buying new. By far the most popular concern is the warranty coverage. With much of the equipment costing at the very least thousands of dollars, this is valid. To cater for this, companies like ITParade go to great lengths to ensure that you don't get saddled with a SAN lemon.
Davie explains that the relative newness of the hardware and its light previous use mean most original warranties still hold. In the few cases when equipment is out of warranty, it is possible to obtain service, parts, etc. through the manufacturer or through ITParade's dealer network. Since many of ITParade's participating dealers also refurbish or remanufacture the equipment they sell, additional warranties for up to 90-days are often available at no extra charge.
The good news for buyers is, as with other networking equipment, if it works when it arrives and for the first 90 days, then chances are that it will outlive any normal warranty period offered by a manufacturer. There are always exceptions to this, but in dollar terms it may be a risk worth taking. There is certainly no reason to believe that you are at any greater risk from failure with a used piece of equipment than a new device direct from a manufacturer.