Overcoming Supply Chain Obstacles: Avoiding Data Center Disruptions

IT professionals turn to the aftermarket for the systems they need. (Source: iStock, courtesy of Service Express)

In this edition of Voices of the Industry, Brett Williams, hardware sales manager at Service Express, explores the importance of leveraging the hardware aftermarket to overcome supply chain hurdles.

Brett Williams, hardware sales manager at Service Express

The data center industry continues to face significant global supply chain issues. In fact, any industry that relies on semiconductors has been restricted since the start of 2021. Between semiconductor shortages and unprecedented logistical challengesdelayed delivery times for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) data center systems have become the norm.

To remedy the situation, manufacturers are increased production of semiconductor chips. However, due to the complexity and cost of their production process, the shortage of semiconductors will not be solved anytime soon. Due to the scarcity, many OEMs have reported extended delivery times from six months to several years.

Instead of waiting for new OEM systems, IT pros are turning to the aftermarket for the systems they need. Companies are learning that using recertified and refurbished equipment dramatically reduces turnaround times – turning months, or even years, into weeks while delivering significant cost savings.

What terms should you be aware of when considering aftermarket hardware?

Although the “aftermarket” may seem ominous, it is a reliable source for finding and configuring custom data center systems. Third-party maintenance (TPM) and hardware vendors proactively purchase systems that companies no longer use through services such as IT asset disposal (ITAD) and other buy-back programs. In addition to acquiring equipment through these programs, hardware vendors source systems through an extensive network of vendors that can be purchased at wholesale prices.

As you broaden your search, it helps to understand the following commonly used terms.

New OEM: New hardware that has never left the OEM factory and is sold direct from the OEM.

Recertified: Unused hardware that left the OEM factory. Even if the hardware has not yet been used, it can no longer be labeled “new” because it leaves the OEM factory. This hardware goes through a recertification process at the OEM factory level and becomes available for purchase by resellers and wholesalers at a discounted rate.

Renovated: Lightly used hardware that has been rigorously tested, reconfigured and updated before being sold. On average, refurbished equipment is only one to three years old, allowing customers to purchase reliable, reconfigured and customized systems without the long delivery times.

What should you look for in a TPM or hardware vendor?

Transparent testing process

A reputable vendor should be transparent about their testing process. When reviewing your gear options, be sure to ask about their testing process. At Service Express, our team performs various quality tests that include the following steps:

  1. Visual inspection
  2. Erase all data per NIST800.88 standards
  3. Erase all existing user configurations
  4. Diagnose and perform quality checks
  5. Update firmware to the latest supported revisions (if needed)
Guarantee the quality and reliability of their equipment

Not all hardware vendors provide maintenance to customers. That’s why I recommend working with a company that also provides data center maintenance. In this way, the company guarantees the quality of its systems since it provides support.

Work to meet your needs with consultative support

Not all systems are suitable for everyone. Working with a supplier who accompanies you to create a tailor-made solution is essential. This gives the flexibility to create a system to the exact specifications and requirements to meet your data center needs.

Say goodbye to delayed delivery times and dates

You may think that not buying hardware directly from the OEM is risky business. The reality is that there are alternative options for bespoke systems than you might think. If you need updated equipment quickly, working with a TPM or hardware vendor may be the right solution to meet schedule and budget requirements.

Brett Williams is the Director of Hardware Sales at Express services. Service Express is a data center solutions provider specializing in multi-vendor global maintenance, cloud, managed services, hardware solutions and more. Learn more on how Service Express can help your data center overcome supply chain hurdles.

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