Industry watchers bang the drum for refurbished kit vendors

Network Hardware Resale and Comtek talk up the financial and environmental benefits of investing in used, rather than new, IT kit.

Green IT

The hardware vendor community has been accused of locking enterprise users into artificial product upgrade cycles that are considerably shorter than the lifetime of their kit.

Mike Sheldon, chief executive of used and refurbished kit seller Network Hardware Resale (NHR), said enterprise users are often pushed to upgrade kit well before the product's technical best before date to bolster sales.

Upgrade cycles are very artificial and driven by sales pressure.

"The upgrade cycles are very artificial and driven by sales pressure and inducements from the OEM [community]," Sheldon told IT Pro.

"For a lot of commodity Ethernet devices, the lifespan is seven-to-10 years, not three-to-four, which is the the typical IT upgrade cycle."

Sheldon's company specialises in the resale of used Cisco network kit, as well as servers and storage, and has also recently launched its first product range, a line of optical transceivers, under its own name.

He said it's common for his firm's enterprise customers to have an IT infrastructure that features a mixed of new and refurbished hardware, and firms that take this hybrid approach save money on maintenance and procurement.

"We can maintain a product for a decade or longer after a manufacturer has stopped supporting it, so we allow the customer to extend the life of their device for as long as they see fit," he said.

"Most large enterprises adopt a hybrid maintenance strategy where they maintain their newest equipment on the manufacturer's warranty and fill in the gaps with our [product support], because it is more cost effective."

Askar Sheibani, chief executive of IT repair firm Comtek, told IT Pro that going down the used kit route also works out better for the environment.

"By extending the lifecycle of these product, you're reducing the need for excessive manufacturing and there is less need to send these items to the landfill," he said.

"Aside from that, it also creates jobs [in the IT repair market] and means we have to import fewer products into the UK from abroad."

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