Here’s What to Know When Purchasing Refurbished Servers



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Unless you’ve bought refurbished products before, you might think of the label as a more polished way of saying “used”. That’s true in a certain sense, but some significant differences exist.

A refurbished server, for example, has been used and then inspected, repaired if necessary, tested, updated, and then reset to its default factory settings. Let’s say an organization needed additional Dell servers, but new ones weren’t in the budget. They could get refurbished Dell servers from a company like Alta Technologies at a fraction of the cost, but with all the power and performance.

The Biggest Mistake You Could Make is Choosing the Wrong Seller

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That’s right – you have to find a trustworthy seller to get the refurbished servers you need. When people talk about the pros and cons of buying refurbished servers, most of the cons come from the fact that some sellers are shady and sell unreliable products. This isn’t the servers’ fault; the problem is that the sellers were unscrupulous. 

To avoid making this mistake, do some research on potential sellers. How long have they been in business? How do they go about refurbishing their servers? Do they have a warranty, and if so, what does it cover? You should also check out customer reviews. If a seller has a habit of selling sub-par products to make a buck, there’ll be evidence of it online. 

Finding the Best Vendor

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So you know how to avoid the sellers who are out to scam you – what now? Comparing vendors is relatively easy; you have to know what to look for.

They should have an established process for refurbishing

It’s one thing for a vendor to say that they expertly refurbish servers; it’s another thing for them to actually outline how they do it. If they provide a certain level of insight into their expertise, it’s a good sign that they actually know what they’re doing.

They should have experience in refurbishing

Not to disparage up-and-coming businesses, but time brings experience, and that’s one way to ensure a quality product. The longer a seller has spent refurbishing servers, the more likely they will have an established, trusted process for thoroughly refurbishing their products.

Another aspect of this is that they should know what to offer their customers besides just high-quality products.

For instance, a more established seller would know which things were standard (such as a 30-day return policy or a 1-year warranty) and which were nice little extras that put them ahead of the competition (such as a lowest-price guarantee or free shipping).

A newer seller would have to pay more attention to their profit margins and so could be less likely to offer something to sweeten the deal. That isn’t a given, though; this is why you should call around and see what your options are.

They should offer solid customer service

You may be buying refurbished servers, but you aren’t just picking up some extra equipment on eBay. A reputable seller stands behind their products, and that includes customer service when someone has a question, needs some troubleshooting, or wants to file a warranty claim.

Whatever format the customer service takes (24/7 phone line, an online contact form, an email address, etc.), it should ensure prompt attention to the customer’s request. 

They should be able to guide your purchase

A good seller will be able to get you what you need – not more, and not less. If you don’t know the exact specifications of the server you want, a knowledgeable vendor will help you find it.

Some people get confused about seeing different prices from different sellers, but this is usually because they were looking at various models and assuming they were all the same.

A trustworthy seller will be able to explain why the price points are so different and give you the run-down on why a server costs as much as it does. 

They should offer a warranty

Although the top sellers all offer warranties for their refurbished servers, this isn’t necessarily a given. It’s also one area in which you could find a lot of variation; one seller could include a 90-day warranty, while another could include a true lifetime warranty, which is the best type of warranty you could have.

A warranty is always good to have for big purchases like servers, but it’s even more important for products that aren’t new. Even though the refurbishing process can do a lot to restore a server to its original functionality, it can’t totally erase the wear and tear it’s been through.

If you’re buying a refurbished server, a strong warranty will give you peace of mind that you’ve made a smart purchase. 

How to check your newly arrived refurbished servers

If you’ve bought a refurbished server online, which is the route a lot of people go, you’ll want to confirm that it’s in working order as soon as it arrives.

  • Confirm that there’s no obvious damage and that it’s the right product. If it doesn’t look brand-new, the seller owes you a replacement.
  • Turn it on and make sure it sounds right. Is the fan running too loudly, or not at all? Does everything else seem normal?
  • In addition to mechanical noises, pay attention to any other sounds. If the server is working correctly, there won’t be any. 
  • Check for error messages or evidence of anything else being out of order.
  • Next, it’s time to configure the server on your network. A good rule of thumb is to let it run for about a day to see if everything goes smoothly, shut it down, and then boot it back up to confirm that all the settings are still there.
  • Then it’s time to start using your new server!

Just because a server is refurbished doesn’t mean you could be buying somebody else’s problem. With the right precautions and a great seller, you could obtain all the servers you needed at a much smaller cost. 

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