By Kyle Christopher 

How do you know when you need to upgrade or refresh your environment? Selecting the right hardware is going to affect the success and health of your overall company, so it is critical to take the time to review your options and find the right fit for your business needs. Tight budgets and aggressive energy consumption have created problems with refresh schedules, leaving IT professionals at risk with older hardware and no real plan moving forward.

Whether you have EMC, NetApp, Brocade or Cisco, the market is cluttered with seemingly endless choices when it comes to server hardware, vendors and maintenance options. This article will give you the information you need to meet your business’s needs, save money, find the right vendor and consider alternative solutions.

1. Consider Alternative Maintenance and Support Options

You should consider a refresh when your current gear can no longer reasonably be covered by a viable maintenance and support contract. There is good news and bad news in this. The good news is that you’re not required to commit to the 3-year cycle many storage vendors are selling these days. Third party maintenance and support can help you extend the life of your current hardware, which may be meeting your needs and expectations just fine. The end of your current maintenance and support contract is not a viable reason to do a refresh, especially if your hardware is meeting your expectations in terms of performance and capacity.

2. Consider Pre-owned Hardware

Some organizations don’t fully consider pre-owned hardware because of the impression that it’s somehow inferior to new gear. In some cases this is true, but not always. Pre-owned hardware is often recent or current generation gear that is available for purchase at a fraction of the cost you might pay for new. The risk is also minimal compared to new hardware. Whereas you might spend tens of thousands for hardware that might or might not be a good fit, with used hardware, you’ll be saving as much as 80%. This means you’ll get a high ROI on a system that performs just as well as a newer system, but with significant savings.

3. Put Old Hardware to Good Use

A lot of organizations don’t consider their old hardware to be an asset, but it is. Old hardware can help you lower the cost of a newer system by selling it back or trading for new gear. Buy back programs often give you additional budget savings so that your initial investments in newer gear are easier to manage. Also, old hardware, depending on its performance or capacity, could also be repurposed for backup or disaster recovery (DR).

4. Storage Rentals

Once an organization has committed to replacing old server hardware, administrators will need to weigh the pros and cons of leasing versus purchasing. If you’re in a tight spot and need temporary storage, or if you are doing a data center move and need “swing” gear to migrate your data temporarily, a rental might be a great option. Storage rentals are also good when you need added capacity and performance right away, but are still working through what you will need long-term. Creating leasing options such as a storage rental are very cost effective in the long run. But be careful about any lease agreements you enter into as you could encounter obligations that don’t necessarily fit with your needs. It will be important to weigh the pros and cons before you move forward with a data storage rental or lease.

Simply put, there are a lot of options to save money and find a higher ROI on any storage purchase, but these options don’t have to be overwhelming. Third party maintenance, pre-owned hardware, repurposed older gear and storage rentals are all great ways to save money and time on a storage upgrade or refresh. Reliant can help you decide the best fit for your organization and find ways to save money. Contact us if we can be of assistance.