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  • Moving to Third-Party IT Hardware Maintenance

    Making the Move to Third Party IT Hardware MaintenanceThird party maintenance agreements

    can be a great way to save your organization money without sacrificing the quality or reliability.

    One reason why some IT managers or directors don’t rely more on using a third-party maintenance program is because original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do their best to capture that business in an ongoing maintenance contract. Service contracts are a very profitable part of the OEM business model and they don’t want to lose that revenue stream.

    World Data Products has a data center services division that offers Worldtech™, a server and networking maintenance program that covers all of your IT hardware, from routers and switches to servers and storage arrays. We also provide data erasure and destruction, migration, even moving the data center. Need to dispose of that surplus or decommissioned gear? We have attractive buyback options as well.

    If you are ready to explore the savings and benefits of moving to a third party maintenance program, call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding IT hardware maintenance or our other services.

  • Network Hardware Maintenance or Spare and Repair?

    It’s Thursday morning and you’ve just settled into your desk with a hot cup of coffee. You’re about to get started on a pressing project when a coworker sticks his head into your office to tell you that one of your switches has failed. All of a sudden you find yourself squarely in the middle of a crisis. You have to get the network back up and running as quickly as possible. What do you do?

    Getting your network back online will depend on a number of factors: the size of your organization and your network, whether you have a maintenance program in force for your network, and whether you have a spare switch available on hand. For most organizations there are two main ways to handle a network failure. The first is to contract with a network maintenance company to manage your network hardware and handle failures for you. The second option is to have spare components on hand to swap out whenever a part of your network fails and then to have the failed component repaired. Below I look at the pros and cons of both methods to help you choose the best possible solution for your company:

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  • Dispose of Your Network Hardware for Free

    Dispose of Your Network Hardware for FreeAt some point during your career as a networking professional you will face the question of what to do with your old networking equipment. Many IT pros wind up paying an electronics recycling company to take away their old gear instead of handling the disposal themselves. Doing so provides ensures that the old gear goes away quickly, but electronics disposal can be quite expensive, making it an unattractive option from a financial perspective.

    What if I told you that there is another option and that it won’t cost you a penny and that you could make money on the deal? I imagine that you would assume that I am joking or that there was some kind of catch. In reality, I’m quite serious—you can dispose of your old networking equipment and make money in the process.

    Would you be interested? Of course, you would—what networking professional wouldn’t be?

    Today we are going to explore the idea of selling your used networking equipment rather than paying someone to haul it away.  Yes, I just suggested that you sell your old switches, routers and firewalls. Here’s why: When you sell your old networking gear rather than paying for it to be recycled, you’re keeping those electronics out of a landfill. At the same time, you’re giving another company the chance to buy the legacy networking equipment that they need. The reseller will pay you for your old gear—sometimes even if some of it is broken if they want to use it for parts—and you no longer have to worry about what to do with it.

    Are you wondering if selling your old networking equipment is safe?

    This is a very common question. Yes, selling your old networking equipment to a reputable third party reseller is very safe. You can ask the reseller to wipe out any sensitive information contained on your system (although this will usually cost you something) or simply remove any components you feel necessary and sell all of the rest of the system components instead. The choice is yours and you should choose whichever option makes you feel the most confident about your decision to sell rather than pay for disposal.

    Wondering about how to go about selecting a reseller partner?

    The key is to look for an established and reputable company that treats its customers well. Ask colleagues and co-workers for feedback on a particular company's business practices. Check out user forums and spend some time reading customer reviews. Ask the reseller for references, preferably in your industry. Visit the Better Business Bureau website and check out how the company has handled any reported disputes. Trust your gut. If a reseller balks at giving you references or gives you the run around in any way during the sales process, move on. Remember, a company will never treat you better than when you are a new potential client.

    Curious about selling your used switches and routers, but unsure of where to begin?  Check out How to Sell Used Networking Equipment for some pointers.

    Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed learning how to dispose of your used networking hardware for free--and how to make a little money in the process.

    To learn more about how to sell your used networking equipment and avoid paying a disposal company to haul your it away, call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • Cut Your Cisco Network Hardware Costs

    Cut Your Cisco Network Hardware CostsLooking for ways to cut your Cisco network hardware costs? I don’t blame you. Network hardware can take a big bite out of your IT hardware budget—and it’s not like you can simply decide to forego networking gear entirely this year as a cost saving measure. So, what can a budget-conscious network professional do to cut network hardware costs? I’m glad you asked. Today we’re going to look at four key strategies you can use to significantly reduce your network hardware costs.

    Strategy #1: Extend the useful life of your existing network hardware. How much money could you save if you used your current network hardware for another year, only replacing failed components as needed? How much time could your team save by maintaining what you have rather than adding another switch or router to your current technology stack? How much downtime would you save by putting your upgrade off for another year or two or three? Could your team’s time be better spent elsewhere? See if you can’t simply put the upgrade off for a year, bank the savings, and wait it out.

    Strategy #2: Refuse to purchase network hardware based on anything other than actual hardware lifecycles. If I had to wager a guess, I would guess that you are probably upgrading your network every three years or so as recommended by your original equipment manufacturer (OEM). And why wouldn’t you be? The OEM only has your best interests in mind, right?  Quite frankly, the unwritten rule of updating every three years is way better for the OEM than it is for you. In doing so, you’re upgrading before you need to and, quite simply, that means you’re spending a lot of money before it is necessary. Networking hardware isn’t changing as rapidly today as it did fifteen years ago, making the standard three year upgrade schedule obsolete. You’d be better off evaluating your own needs and upgrading your network only when it benefits your organization.( Need help determining whether your networking hardware is obsolete or not? Check out this article.)

    Strategy #3: Standardize and consolidate your networking equipment. It costs more—in time and money—to operate disconnected systems and multiple iterations of hardware. Standardizing your networking by using fewer hardware and software platforms reduces the workload for your system managers and help desk staff. The more consolidated and manageable your IT environment is, the less likely you are to experience outages. With consolidated systems, the network outages you do experience are likely to be less severe as well.

    Strategy #4: Consider alternatives to OEM network maintenance programs. OEM maintenance and service agreements can shred your budget if you aren’t careful. Consider a reputable third party maintenance program instead of the program offered by the OEM and you are likely to lower your maintenance costs significantly without sacrificing network performance and reliability. You might also want to consider consolidating multiple maintenance contracts into one agreement to increase savings based on a higher volume of business.

    To learn more about how to lower your networking hardware costs, call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • How to Sell Used HP Servers

    How to Sell Used HP ServersYou just completed a server upgrade! Now, your data center has used HP servers to dispose of and you're responsible for ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) so you know that there’s a thriving market for used HP servers.

    With that in mind, you will want to get some return on investment for those servers that are only one or two generations behind the current offerings.

    So, what is the process for your company to sell servers to World Data Products?

    First, make a list of your servers and configurations. Compile the information in a text document or a spreadsheet. This will speed up the process for us to make an offer. Note the amount and type of processors, drives, memory, network adapters, and anything else special in the configuration.

    Next, fill out our contact form to sell hardware, we will respond and get your list, review the list, and make an offer.

    That's it! It's an easy process. Once an offer is made and there is a hardware buyback agreement, we coordinate and pay for the freight. We have been doing this for thirty years and make the IT Asset Disposition process a smooth, professional experience.

    Questions? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • Negotiating an IT Hardware Maintenance Contract Made Simple

    Negotiating an IT Hardware Maintenance Contract Made SimpleShopping for IT hardware maintenance coverage can be a bit of a bummer. Much like insurance, IT hardware service contracts are something you need to have in place but hope you never need and negotiating the best deal on a hardware service and maintenance agreement can be a challenge. The good news is that the process doesn’t have to be painful and today we’re going to share how you can make the negotiating process as easy as possible.

    Negotiate with your current maintenance provider. You might think that hardware maintenance and service contracts are non-negotiable, but that’s not true. With a soft economy and savvy IT managers who regularly demand better terms, this is the best time to negotiate with your service and maintenance providers. Ask for the terms you want—the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.

    Consider a third party maintenance provider. It used to be that the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) was the only company you could count on to provide service for your IT hardware. As the only game in town, the OEM could charge a premium for their maintenance service because they knew you didn’t dare go without it. Today there are a number of third party maintenance providers with OEM-certified technicians on staff that provide the same quality of maintenance and service, but at a significantly reduced price. If you aren’t considering a reputable third party maintenance company for your service agreements, you’re probably spending too much.

    Avoid auto renewal clauses. Automatic renewal is just what it sounds like—your contract renews automatically if you don’t cancel your maintenance agreement before the appointed deadline. Put into place to ensure that maintenance customers don’t experience an unexpected drop in coverage and so that the maintenance company maintains a steady revenue stream, automatic renewal clauses aren’t always in your organization’s best interest. Do what you can to get out of them entirely and if you can’t, at least negotiate a month-to-month agreement upon renewal rather than a 12-month term.

    Lock your rates. Negotiate a fixed rate for a term of three to five years whenever possible—especially when you are required to sign an agreement that auto renews. Doing so will allow you to budget for maintenance as you move into the future and will save you the hassle of unexpected price increases later. If you can’t secure a fixed rate for a multi-year term, you can consider agreeing to limited annual increases as long as they are tied to a standard economic indicator (e.g. the consumer price index). Avoid service agreements with unspecified variable rates.

    Extend your idea of product lifecycles. Today’s IT hardware has a longer shelf life than that of the hardware from ten years ago. This is the result of two things: First, the cycle of innovation and the resulting demand for new equipment has slowed down over time. Servers, storage, and networking hardware simply isn’t innovating as quickly as it has in the past. Second, today’s IT hardware is built with fewer moving parts, resulting in a smaller chance that the equipment will break down. Consider these extended life cycles when you negotiate your maintenance agreements to ensure that whatever agreement you sign takes into account what you consider to be the hardware’s true useful life.

    Look at more than one provider. Evaluate two or three vendors whenever you are considering a new maintenance and service agreement. By keeping your options open, you will secure the best terms for the best price without having to skimp on coverage. Securing multiple quotes also ensures that the vendors give you their best possible deal right away.

    Ask for a better deal. If you don’t like the deal you’ve been offered, ask for a better one. When a deal is on the line, you will find that service and maintenance vendors can be very accommodating. Be creative in identifying changes that will provide real benefits to your organization and then ask for them. If the provider can’t honor your requests, they will counter with an offer that typically will be better than the original agreement. It never hurts to ask—and if they know they aren’t the only provider you are considering, they are likely to be even more flexible to meet your needs.

    To learn more about how third party IT hardware maintenance and support can benefit your organization, call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • Used Servers VS. Refurbished Servers

    Used servers, refurbished servers— Are they the same thing?

    There can be a big difference between used servers and refurbished servers. If you’re planning on buying a refurbished server, quality levels can vary wildly.

    While all refurbished servers can be considered used gear, not all used equipment will have gone through the rigorous testing and passed the exacting standards assigned to servers that are classified as “refurbished.” In short, with “used” gear, there is no way to guarantee that a server has been cleaned or tested at all.

    So, how can someone looking to buy used servers tell the difference?

    Ask questions. Specifically, you may want to ask where the servers came from and what testing, cleaning, and repair activities have been completed. Quality refurbished servers undergo a multi-step process to test server functionality, performance, and addresses any deficiencies that have been identified.

    Quality IT hardware companies are proud to tell you about the care and precision used to test and configure refurbished servers and will welcome your questions. In addition, World Data Products will sell server upgrades, extended maintenance plans, and offer repair services as well.

    Want to learn more about used servers and how they become a tested and reliable refurbished product for your data center? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Used Network Equipment

    5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Used Network Equipment

    Used network equipment is a great way to fully leverage your IT hardware budget--but there are pitfalls to avoid in the process. In order to make your used network equipment buying experience as positive as possible, be sure to ask lots of questions of your reseller, including the nine questions that follow below:

    1. Where does your used networking gear come from? For many networking professsionals, this is the $64,000 question. Quite often, when a networking pro has hesitations about purchasing refurbished networking equipment, it's because he or she is unsure about where the gear came from, how it was treated, and whether its condition upon resale will meet their business requirements. Rather than ask the reseller, many pros simply walk away from used gear based on what they think they know and lose an opportunity for significant cost savings. Provided that they were dealing with a reputable networking equipment reseller in the first place, if the IT professional had asked about the source of the reseller's networking equipment they would have most likely heard one of two answers: 1) The used networking equipment was acquired when a company decided to upgrade to the latest and greatest network system; or 2) The used networking equipment was purchased from a leasing company when it was time to upgrade.
    2. What diagnostic tests do you run on incoming networking equipment? Reputable resellers will be able to tell you exactly what diagnostic testing is performed on any networking equipment they bring into their inventory. These tests ensure that the used equipment is functional and should also identify any updates or fixes that are required to bring the gear back to like new condition. On the other hand, if you're talking to a reseller that dodges the question or gives unclear answers about diagnostic testing be sure to investigate further before making any equipment purchase. 
    3. What is your refurbishment process for used routers, switches, and firewalls? Resellers of quality used networking equipment will have a clear refurbishment process in place to get used gear up to speed before resale. Asking your reseller for the details of their refurbishment process as well as for their refurbishment standards will help you decide if the reseller's gear will meet your quality requirements. For example, if your reseller resets all network equipment to the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM's) factory settings, you can be confident that you are getting like new equipment for a fraction of the cost of new gear.
    4. What certifications do your network technicians hold? You might think that all resellers use OEM certified technicians to do their refurbishment work, but you'd be wrong. Be sure to ask who the reseller uses to test, repair and configure their network equipment and whether or not they are certified to work on the gear in question.
    5. Does your company conduct on-site repairs? It might not seem super important at first, but knowing whether your reseller partner can handle on-site repairs--preferably at the board level--will make a difference in the quality of the equipment you receive. It will also help to keep the price down. Resellers with internal repair departments are more likely to be concerned about the quality of each repair since any repair failures will point back directly to them. Without a third party repair company to blame, internal repair departments are committed to getting the repair right the first time. Additionally, not having to farm out the repair to a third party eliminates the cost of outsourced repair services--keeping your final cost down.
    Questions? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.
  • IT Hardware Maintenance: 3 Posts You Might Have Missed

    IT Hardware Maintenance 3 Posts You Might Have MissedIT hardware maintenance--no one wants to pay for it, but no IT professional wants to go without it either. Considered to be an expensive, but necessary evil, IT hardware maintenance plans chew up a substantial portion of an IT department's budget each year. Chances are good that you're looking for a way to streamline your maintenance costs without sacrificing the peace of mind that comes from having quality coverage for your servers, storage and networking equipment. But the question is how?

    If you're paying your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for server, storage, or networking equipment coverage, you're paying too much. Truly. Don't believe me? It's true. The reality is that OEM maintenance coverage is a bit of a racket, especially if you are upgrading your hardware every three years on the OEM's suggested upgrade cycle. Check out the article, Choosing Third Party Maintenance, for insights on why you should consider a third party maintenance program.

    Wondering how to make the transition from your OEM maintenance plan to a less expensive full coverage third party plan? Making the switch is well worth the effort. Not sure how to get started? Check out the article, Making the Move to Third IT Hardware Party Maintenance. It will get you started on the right foot.

    Still brushing up on the specifics of IT hardware maintenance? You're in luck! What You Need to Know About IT Hardware Maintenance details some interesting insider tips that you might not know about OEM maintenance and your options to choose another form of coverage.

    Questions? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

  • The Difference Between Used and Refurbished Servers

    The Difference Between Used and Refurbished ServersIn the market to buy a server or two for your enterprise organization? Considering the purchase of a used server, but not sure what the difference is between the products offered as "used servers" and "refurbished servers?" You're in luck. Today we're going to explore the differences between used servers and refurbished gear.
    As we get started on the comparison, it's important to recognize that, as a general rule, refurbished gear is superior to used gear on a number of fronts. Refurbished servers provide:
    1. A "like new" physical condition. Physical condition is one of the most obvious places to start when comparing refurbished servers to used gear. If you purchase a refurbished server, you're likely to receive a piece of hardware that looks brand new. Refurbished servers are cleaned and painted to look like brand new so that there will be little, if any, physical indication that the server is, in fact, refurbished. With used servers, you never know what you're going to get. It’s possible to get a used  piece of equipment that looks like new, but it’s more likely that you will be able to tell that the server isn’t new just by looking at it.
    2. A component that has been returned to factory settings. During the refurbishment process, servers are returned to the original factory settings so that it performs (as well as looks) like new. Once a server has been returned to its original factory settings, for all intents and purposes, it can be considered to be “new”—other than the fact that it was owned and used by someone else already. When you buy used servers that have not been refurbished, you get what you get—and it’s unlikely that the server will be returned to the original factory settings.
    3. A product that has been tested multiple times to ensure performance and reliability. Refurbished servers are rigorously tested to ensure that it is reliable and works as promised. In fact, most refurbished gear is tested multiple times—when it arrives at the refurbishment company, during the refurbishment process, before it’s put into inventory for sale, and again before it ships to the customer. The only testing that a used server is likely to get (if any at all) is whether it lights up when the power button is turned to “on.”
    4. A warranty. A big differentiator between used and refurbished servers is whether a warranty is included or not. Quite frankly, quality refurbished equipment will come with a warranty. End of story. Used servers are sold “as-is” and are unlikely to come with a warranty of any kind. Guess where this leaves you if you have performance issues?
    5. An opportunity for support and maintenance. Quality refurbished servers will be eligible for OEM and third party support and maintenance programs. Refurbished server eligibility is determined by the quality of the goods provided by the refurbishment company—so who you partner with matters. Since used servers are not tested, cleaned, or returned to the original factory settings, it is unlikely that they will be covered by most maintenance and support programs.
    6. Recourse, if needed. When you purchase refurbished servers from a reputable source, your purchase is guaranteed to perform. In the unlikely event that the equipment doesn’t perform, a reputable seller will work with you to ensure you get an adequate replacement. Nothing about used IT hardware is guaranteed, so if you inadvertently buy a dud, you’re stuck with it. What’s worse is that you probably don’t have much recourse with the seller.
    7. Guaranteed authenticity. Reputable companies that refurbish and resell servers take great pains to ensure that they eliminate any and all questionable gear from their stock, assuring you that you are buying an authentic branded server. Sellers of used servers make no such guarantee--so it's definitely a "buyer beware" situation.

    Questions? Call 888-210-7636 or contact one of our IT Hardware Specialists today for a free consultation.

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