Ever been too strapped for cash to buy a new PC? So you thought you'd have a wander on to eBay or over to one of the resellers of second hand PCs?
Well it might save you some cash, but there are risks as well. I once had to troubleshoot a relative's recently bought second hand PC and it was packed to the rafters with malware. What is more the internet cache had things in there a young innocent from Barnsley was never meant to see.
Fortunately, the original disks were there. So a couple of hours later it was patched and ready to take its place in society again, all for a knock down price. And there's the rub, you need the original disks because when hardware gets resold X years down the line, a bona-fide Windows OS usually needs to be there.
"Bang a Linux distro on it!" I hear you techies shout, and rightly so, because shelling out for XP or Vista, would amount to spending maybe five times what the hardware is worth.
In short, if you've got the nous to deal with any unwanted cyber nasties and install and manage your own open source software then buying second hand can save you cash, while limiting the environmental impact of a new PC being built and an old one binned.
But can second hand bargains also work when businesses are looking to buy enterprise class network kit?
Well, there are plenty of firms out there who do successfully buy second hand network kit from enterprises or leasing companies. Some enterprises refresh their kit every three to five years and lease companies pick up the kit after the lease runs out so both can supply a steady stream of second hand equipment to the market.
Some critics would question the reliability of such aged machines, but remember, this kit has typically been sat in a nice, environmentally controlled datacentre, and if it had the right configuration programmed in when it was installed, then the only hands that might have touched it are those of a network technician just plugging in the requisite cables. After that, it's remote management all the way.
In these circumstances three year old network kit still has plenty of life left in it and companies that normally could not afford the new equipment probably could afford it second hand. Unless it's had a catastrophic failure, all the hardware is probably well 'burnt-in' and could have years of life left in it
As with my relative's PC, purchasing second hand network kit saves new equipment being needed and avoids having to bin kit that can still give good service. It is a case of easy money and environmental sustainability in one.
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