Network Hardware: The Downtime Argument

Cisco Nexus 7000 How Dependable is that State-of-the-art Network Hardware You Just Bought?

You start out with this premise:

My business cannot afford a single minute of network downtime.

From that point on, you make a number of decisions with the end goal of zero downtime in mind.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that premise. It’s very sound from a business point of view. You should have the goal of achieving zero downtime in your network. But sometimes we use flawed logic, or we overlook crucial components, when we enact our plan to achieve that zero downtime goal.

Is the safe bet really that safe?

The first decision we make is to go out and get the manufacturer’s brand new, latest and greatest, state-of-the-art network hardware. The thinking behind this decision is that it must be the right move. It’s new, it has really high throughput capabilities, it can definitely handle all of our needs.

Well know all those things are probably true. But let’s back up for just a second.

There are a few factors to consider in this decision, and a few reasons to maybe consider implementing refurbished hardware as well.


1. The price factor

That new equipment is going to cost more than refurbished hardware. Your budget will take a hit on all of that fancy new gear.



2. The reliability factor

 We assume that new hardware is the most reliable, but are we sure of that. Most reputable refurbished hardware vendors will come right out and tell you what the reliability rating is on their gear. They test every piece, they track every piece, they know. But OEMs run spot checks on their hardware. So 1 out of every what… 50?...100?... units actually gets checked. And they don’t tell us what their failure rate is. So are we really sure that new is more reliable than pre-owned?



3. The too much factor

Many times we get new equipment because of that massive throughput promise, but all we wind up doing is getting too much technology for our needs. Wouldn’t it make sense to gauge our business needs and get the right pieces of technology to meet them? Especially when the alternative is paying too much money for technology we don’t really need or could even utilize?

And let’s not forget…

So, the above are all factors to consider. Even if you ask yourself those questions and still think you require that new, state-of-the-art OEM solution, there’s still one more critical factor to consider:

What about cabling?

It’s almost a dirty little secret that no one seems to want to address. Even if you invest in the big-time new equipment, you will still need high-quality cabling solutions to make that hardware worth its cost.

In closing

So before you start crunching those big numbers and figuring out how much it’s going to cost you to go bleeding-edge, take a quick step back and consider the above factors. It’s possible you won’t necessarily need brand new hardware. The refurbished option could save you a bundle. And if you do go with new, get a solid cabling partner to help you along the way. Because at the end of the day, it’s about making the wisest investment you can, and then getting the best performance out of that investment for as long as you can.