Pros and Cons of Purchasing Refurbished Dell Servers

Park Place Hardware Maintenance

Parker June 22, 2017

What is right for your data center?

A shrinking IT budget doesn’t usually come with shrinking business requirements. To the contrary, the opposite is most often true. IT pros are being asked to do more with less. In an atmosphere tilted toward frugality, purchasing refurbished Dell servers is an attractive proposition. There are many advantages when you buy used servers from reputable vendors.


First of all, there is the main reason to look at refurbished servers at all: cost-cutting. A refurbished Dell server can save an IT organization in the neighborhood of 70% to 80% compared with new equipment. Fortunately, their condition and usable lifespan make them a high-value expenditure.

What about the quality? As long as you get your refurbished Dell equipment from an authorized partner, you get a warranty of at least six months. Other resellers back equipment for a year, which reduces the risk involved.

Reputable dealers also meet Dell criteria for rehabbing used equipment, so you know what you’re getting. Among other things, this means updating the server to the latest BIOS and thoroughly testing it before shipping to the customer. A pre-patched OS installation may be available.

Additional pluses come from Dell’s enviable market position in servers. And with the acquisition of EMC, the conglomerate is now a behemoth reaching far into storage and servers.

The implications for refurbished equipment are these: Spares for Dell servers are readily available. Customers needn’t worry that they’ll purchase a server, experience a component failure, and not be able to get the part needed to repair it.

Additionally, market saturation is good for the maintenance equation. In-house staff is likely to be familiar with Dell servers, and affordable third-party data center maintenance contracts are a common offering from companies like Park Place Technologies.


Given the compelling savings and customer protections, why aren’t all customers getting in on the refurbished equipment game? There are, of course, downsides. We’ll separate them into two categories.

On the one hand, risk increases for customers working with unauthorized resellers. Simply picking up a Dell server cheap on eBay with no guarantees can lead to problems down the road. It’s vital that before any potential purchase, the IT organizations verifies warranty status and reseller reputation.

The second group of concerns accompany any refurbished Dell server, even those purchased from Dell partners. By definition, a used piece of equipment is not the latest and greatest, and some customers cannot afford to pass up the increased speed and flashiest features of Dell’s newer product releases.

By the same token, the equipment has some hours on it and some of the lifespan has been spent. A quality refurbishment process reduces the impact, but an IT organization won’t get precisely the same number of years as would be possible with a brand new server.

And lastly, there is maintenance to consider. Depending on the purchasing arrangement, a support contract may not be available. Additionally, older equipment is that much closer to end-of-support-life. The good news is that server maintenance services can easily fill this gap.

The Bottom Line

For IT organizations in need of savings, refurbished Dell servers are an attractive options. As long as the customer is aware that it is an older model and is sure to buy from an authorized partner, operational risk is very low and cost-savings quite high. In fact, adding a Dell post-warranty support contract to the equation can lead to a better overall customer experience than available when buying straight from Dell EMC and then using them for support!

About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant