Reid Smith-Vaniz
Used EMC and NetApp Storage

I've heard this question a lot over the years from EMC and NetApp customers, and it's a good one. I think it starts when people are learning that they can save quite a few dollars by going used, but then risk comes into play, and people start asking questions. The real questions behind this first question (and quite frankly, I don't blame you for asking them) might be:

     • Can I trust that it will work?
     • How was it used in the past?
     • Will I look stupid if I buy it?

These are all valid questions, because I think when we buy something, we want to understand what type of value it will offer us—and if anything risky, painful, or threatening could jeopardize that value. It's good ol’ human nature to look at the benefits as well as the logical and emotional consequences of making a decision.

Here’s a quick example. If I see honeycomb in a beehive, I will obviously want it, but not at the expense of getting stung—so I’ll put on a bee suit to hedge my risk. Value, risk, hedge.

Back to the question of how old used storage is. In reality, it completely depends. Some equipment is ten years old; some is three months old. It really comes down to the generation of product you are using.  

Here is some product-release date data:

 NetApp:

 

 EMC:

 Filer:

 First Release Date:

 

 System:

 First Release Date:

 FAS8000

 March 2014

 

 VNX2

 September 2013

 FAS6200

 November 2010

 

 VNX

 February 2011

 FAS6000

 March 2006

 

 VNXe

 March 2011

 FAS3200

 November 2010

 

 CX4

 August 2008

 FAS3100

 June 2008

 

 CX3

 May 2006

 FAS2500

 June 2014

 

 CX

 August 2002

 FAS2000

 June2007

 

 AX

 January 2008

 FAS900

 August 2002

 

 Celerra

 December 2002

 FAS200

 January 2004

 

 

 

 

Now, to address the deeper question. How risky is this equipment? That is another matter entirely, and I think it’s the real question.   

The important thing here is to make sure you buy used IT equipment from a company that knows how to test it, and backs it up with a warranty—plain and simple. Some companies have labs; others don't. If you work with an expert who supports an end-user customer base (as opposed to a wholesale customer base), and you have access to a solid, in-house engineering and technical team that understands storage, you'll typically enjoy a much better experience. You'll be working with someone who understands the problems you are attempting to solve.

Used EMC or NetAPP storage is not the solution to every storage problem; it's a tool in your toolbox.  

What other questions do you have about used IT equipment?