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11. Buy end of life products refurbished

When refurbished is better than new

When the time comes to replace any network device, the manufacturer will always recommend that you buy the device's direct replacement - brand new, of course. If you've read a few of these money-saving tips, you may not be surprised to learn that there is a better way.

Imagine it's time to replace your car. You've done your ground work, researched suitable makes and models and spotted your dream machine. It's in the showroom and it's within your budget.
It's just a matter of signing on the dotted line, then, isn't it? Well, no. There's a small complication. The model you've set your heart on is due to be replaced by a new model, due to hit the showrooms next year.

So, do you go ahead and buy the current, end-of-life model at the asking price? I wouldn't advise it. At least, not until you've checked out its availability second hand or at discounted prices from other showrooms. After all at some point in the future you're going to want to either trade it in, or sell it on. You want to make sure you've bought it at the best possible price, or you're kissing your hard-earned money goodbye completely unnecessarily.

Substantial savings

The same principle applies to your network. Substantial savings can be made, way in excess of those that you could have made on the car. Virtually all network manufacturers have their futures planned out in detail - the keen eyed can often spot products which are about to be made end-of-sale, but for which support will continue for several years. Buying such products refurbished rather than new can save you thousands.

Of course, making such forecasts takes time that many do not have, but reference to manufacturers' websites will reveal which products have already been declared end-of-sale. Such information is updated daily, so, before making any acquisition for your network, check to see if the item you're about to order is on the manufacturer's end-of-sale list. If it is, it's likely you have the opportunity to make some serious savings.

Sit behind the curve

While some network managers buy the newest technologies to minimise depreciation at resale, others don't have the time or inclination to research the next big thing, preferring to seek savings through old fashioned cunning and common sense. Sitting 'behind the curve', they purchase products which are almost, but not quite, at the cutting edge.

With a little careful planning they can build a near-perfect solution, which, being a year or so behind the curve, will already have suffered the bulk of its depreciation - and had its bugs worked out.

This is a simple strategy for saving money. You can build a network which is for all practical purposes state-of-the-art - fully up to date on the software front and virtually so on the hardware front - at a saving of some 25% per annum.

A canny customer

One of my canniest customers always waits until any new piece of network hardware has been in the market for at least 12 months before considering installing it - and then they often choose to buy it refurbished. Their preference is always for the market leader, for support reasons, but they would never contemplate using brand new, recently-released products. They understand the need to wait to see if problems arise before committing to new products.

A well-known and highly respected company, they know exactly what they're doing on this front. When the manufacturer declares a product end-of-sale, there will be a period, often as long as five years, during which the product will still be supported. In just twelve months' time, the product will only be available refurbished, so they choose to purchase refurbished right away, enjoying the financial benefits immediately.

Take the time to research end-of-sale products, and consider buying refurbished instead of new. You could save yourself a heap of trouble, as well as a fat chunk of budget.