upgrade or refresh?

What’s in a name? When it comes to deciding between a hardware refresh or upgrade for your storage system, everything. These two options both allow you to enhance your IT infrastructure in different ways. But which is best for your organization? It depends on who you ask as well as your specific needs. If you ask an OEM like EMC, NetApp, Cisco,or Brocade, they will more than likely tell you that it is best to refresh your hardware every 3-5 years. If you ask us, or any other independent reseller, we’ll tell you that you have options outside of a hardware refresh. Before we get into those options we will go over what each of these terms mean for your budget and storage environment.

Hardware Refresh or Upgrade? What’s the Difference?

There are a number of terms used when speaking about optimizing storage systems. You’ll hear IT professionals refer to storage enhancements as upgrades, system upgrades, capacity upgrades, hardware refreshes, refresh cycles and more. So how do you know what each of these terms mean?


While many people use “refresh” and “upgrade” interchangeably, a hardware refresh for your storage environment usually means replacing all of your current data storage hardware with the newest version of your equipment to combat capacity and performance issues.


An upgrade for your storage system consists of adding drives, DAEs, and disk shelves to achieve capacity and performance objectives without doing a full hardware refresh.

Why Refresh? The OEM’s Perspective

The OEM usually has a list of reasons as to why you should refresh your hardware every 3-5 years. These reasons range from the need for the newest features to End of Life designations. Maybe you’re an enterprise with a large budget who needs the latest data storage hardware. Or you work in a specific industry that has certain regulations you must follow when it comes to equipment. These scenarios may warrant a refresh. The most common reason companies do a refresh has to deal with EOL and EOSL milestones. These milestones mean the OEM will no longer support your equipment.

Why Upgrade? Our Perspective

We take a customer centered approach when it comes to upgrading storage systems. Just because your equipment reaches EOL doesn’t mean it no longer has value. Continue to support your hardware and increase ROI. Upgrades from the secondary market are a more cost effective way to add capacity and performance to your existing infrastructure.

What’s Next?

Now that you have both perspectives on upgrading or refreshing your data storage equipment, you can make an informed decision. As the World’s #1 Reseller of Certified Pre-Owned Storage Hardware & Support, we can craft an upgrade solution that meets your capacity and performance needs without breaking the bank. For more information on our EMC, NetApp, IBM, Hitachi upgrade options, reach out to one of our dedicated storage specialists.