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Making the most of outdated servers, storage and switches

April 22, 2019

A Q&A with Ingram Micro’s data center expert
 
There are times when your data center needs the best possible technology. Then again, there are other times when upgrading is simply a waste of money.

How do you to know when customers can make do with outdated servers, storage and switches—or when it makes sense to upgrade? And how do you advise them?
 
We asked Nick Vermiglio, Ingram Micro’s data center expert, for his insights into technology obsolescence.
 
Is there a general rule of thumb about the number of years after which it’s safe to assume equipment is obsolete?
 
Not really. Typically, it comes down to the cost of keeping the old equipment in service as well as the need for enhanced functionality and features. Environmental costs such as power and cooling—and the cost of continuing a maintenance contract on the equipment—may be considerations as well.
 
If the cost of contract renewal is prohibitive (due, in large part, to the charges it will take to support the technology), chances are it’s time to think about replacement. The ability to support future business requirements is also a consideration because it may require using advanced features that are unavailable in the current environment.
 
Besides age, what’s the best way to determine that a piece of equipment is, in fact, obsolete?
 
Data center managers need to determine if the features and functionality will support the applications they’re trying to run—and the capabilities they’re trying to support. They need to be sure they have what it takes to meet users’ demands and the hardware is compatible with what resides on it.
 
What are the best ways to make the most of outdated servers, storage and switches if you don’t have the resources to purchase new equipment?
 
There’s a variety of ways equipment can be redeployed within an organization. It may be transferred to a secondary backup site, training or testing facility or another area in the workplace with less advanced IT requirements.
 
How should a reseller help customers decide when and what's the best approach for upgrading?
 
First and foremost, the reseller should be concerned with the customers’ specific needs as well as the financial costs of upgrading—and look for ways to help them upgrade most cost effectively. Many vendors offer capacity-on-demand programs that allow customers to just buy what they need. Resellers should also consider financial and incentive programs offered by Ingram Micro.
 
What can be done with obsolete equipment?

Before destroying the equipment, organizations should consider other possible ways to dispose of it. Maybe there’s an organization that could make good use of the technology and would appreciate a charitable donation. Or perhaps there’s a department within the organization that could use it for less sophisticated IT functions. Redeployment may be an alternative.
 
It’s important to keep in mind that whichever form of reclamation is chosen, there are guidelines that must be followed for the proper disposal or redeployment of equipment to protect and secure the data it holds. Based on the type of data there may be regulatory requirements that will also need to be addressed.
 
If you’d like to ask Nick other questions related to upgrading technology, contact him at nick.vermiglio@ingrammicro.com.