Buying refurbished servers is all about selecting the right vendor who you can trust and stands behind their products. The last thing you want is to save money buying a server and then turnaround and buy another 3 months later because the original failed.
By considering the following items when selecting a vendor you can save money on hardware in the short term and the long term.
1. Their refurbishment process
Do they fix the broken servers or do they resell certified refurbished servers from the manufacturer. If they do their own refurbishment, you need to know exactly what they do and in what type of environment they perform these fixes. Without proper handling, your server may last half as long as it should.
2. Their engineering and packing environment
Watch out for companies who don’t use proper grounding when building your server or who use packaging that can carry electrostatic charges. You will never see the damage, but bad procedures can knock months and even years off the lifetime of a server.
A warranty is important because you want to lock in the price of your hardware for a length of time and you want to minimize the amount of time you have to spend in the future. With a 3 year warranty you know that you won’t have to spend more money on this server for at least 3 years and you won’t have to spend time looking for replacement parts. Make sure your vendor offers an advance RMA warranty so you don’t have to send a part back before they replace it. Also make sure they pay for shipping of the replacement and the return of your original.
4. Length of time in business
Just because someone has been around for a while doesn’t always mean that you can trust them, but it definitely helps. At the least, you know that they should be around to honor the warranty with their servers.
5. Certified Engineers
Servers are getting more complicated every year so having an engineer that they manufacturer has certified to work on that server helps ensure that your server will be configured to perform optimally.
6. Diagnostics and Firmware updates
While not a deal killer, having a vendor who performs all manufacturer diagnostics and firmware updates will save you setup time. Having them configure your RAID is a nice bonus that will also save you time.
7. Online reviews
Make sure you find reviews hosted by a third party. A company will never post a bad review on their own website.