PivIT Global Blog

Are Used Servers Worth It? Breaking Down the Pros and Cons

One of the fastest-growing sectors within IT is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD). It’s an eye-popping number: the ITAD market is projected to grow to $23.5 billion by 2027

ITAD also involves recycling, repurposing, and reselling used equipment. The demand for used servers and other IT equipment is rising. 

Enterprise-sized organizations with large data centers are increasingly interested in used servers as their demand for data storage and traffic handling increases substantially. 

Of course, new equipment is, well, new. It's advanced, requires less maintenance, and has a warranty. 

So, is it a good idea to buy used servers and other data center equipment?

Request A Quote

In this article, we will:

  • Explore the rise in demand for used IT enterprise equipment.
  • Outline the benefits of buying legacy hardware.
  • Explain the challenges you may run into buying legacy hardware.


Looking for a different guide? Check out these articles:

The Rise in Demand for Used IT Equipment 

At PivIT, we provide out-of-the-box options for sourcing new and used (legacy) IT equipment procurement. Customers have both options, but lately, the demand for legacy servers has been high.

“We have witnessed a marked increase in the sales of our legacy, refurbished servers and storage solutions for data centers,” says Mike McKay, Sales Director at PivIT. 

Multiple factors impact the rise in demand for used IT enterprise equipment. However, supply issues and long lead times are currently causing data centers, in particular, to consider used servers. 

“The lead times for network and data center equipment have gotten unbearably long due to supply issues,” McKay explains. “That’s a problem for companies that are seeing dramatic increases in data. They need to scale right now, but new equipment may take months.”

A second benefit to purchasing legacy servers is eliminating waste and participating in the circular economy of IT hardware. Many data centers and other IT enterprises understand that buying used equipment extends the life of perfectly functional equipment and keeps it out of landfills longer. 

In their efforts to reduce or offset their emissions, many IT teams are opting for legacy servers to help meet their ESG goals. 

Using legacy servers allows these organizations to report lower annual emissions while saving money. Thus, participating in the circular economy the IT industry helped champion. 

In 2023, projections indicate this uptick in purchasing legacy gear will continue as it becomes necessary to offset shrinking operational 2023 budgets. With energy prices skyrocketing in the last few months, the operating costs for data centers are rising fast. Companies may need to reduce spending on new infrastructure to bear the rising operational costs.

Explore Hardware Options

Benefits of Buying Used Servers and Data Center Equipment

While there are risks to buying legacy hardware, the pros outweigh the cons. 

It Can Save Money

Used IT equipment, in general, is cheaper than new. The apparent advantage is significant cost savings that data centers can use for other purposes. And when it comes to servers, the difference between old and new can be substantial. 

“Data centers that buy refurbished servers from us end up paying tens of thousands of dollars less than they would if they ask us to provide the latest series of servers,” says McKay. 

McKay also pointed out that used equipment usually has several years of service life. “If maintained well, used servers can easily last beyond their end of service life,” he says.

But it’s important to note that the cost-effectiveness ultimately comes down to the condition of the equipment. Old and cheap servers may not provide the same cost savings as well-functioning used servers with some service life. The former would end up costing in maintenance and repair. 

The affordability of used servers also makes it an attractive option for new data centers starting with lower capital. If the data center has lower power needs, used infrastructure may work out just as well as new. 

It Lowers Environmental Impact

Global CO2 produced daily by internet activities

(Image source: Global CO2 produced daily by internet activities)

Another significant advantage of using second-hand servers and network equipment is that it is environmentally friendly. The green benefits of using used equipment make it worth it even for companies that can easily afford new gear. 

It’s all part of the larger initiative within the tech industry to promote a circular economy. According to the Circularity Gap Report 2021, a circular economy can reduce global emissions by 39 percent.

PivIT's well-established buy-back and recycling program allows customers to sell their used equipment for credit. Other customers can acquire this functioning, certified equipment to run their operations. It helps elongate the life of the equipment and saves it from ending up in landfills. 

“Buyback and ITAD programs are fundamental for maximizing the life of legacy infrastructure and harnessing the benefits of circular economy,” says McKay. 

There Is Higher Availability

Long lead times have been a wake-up call for many in the IT industry. But that is not an issue when you’re buying used equipment. It’s ready to ship and may be deployed in your data center the next business day. 

The ready availability of used infrastructure makes it an ideal option for data centers that want to scale quickly. They must act promptly to avoid experiencing downtimes because of higher-than-normal data demand. 

Challenges With Using Used Data Center Equipment

There are a few catches when it comes to using used equipment. You can expect your data center's server or other used equipment to last shorter than new equipment. 

However, the main issue with used equipment is that manufacturers may not support it. In such a case, enterprises must turn to third-party maintenance providers who can provide coverage beyond the end of service life. 

PivIT provides a lifetime guarantee, unlike any other maintenance provider, for used equipment, ensuring that your critical infrastructure is covered. 

“We are the only ones providing lifetime support for used servers and other equipment that our customers buy from us. That provides our customers the peace of mind that even if something goes wrong, they have the necessary support,” says McKay. 

While you can mitigate the lack of OEM support with a reliable third party, that can only be possible if the used equipment is in good condition. Some resellers sell subpar equipment at prices too good to be true. Buying unreliable used equipment may not materialize the benefits you intend to receive. 

Also, if your business has stringent performance requirements like faster data speeds or energy efficiency, older equipment may not cut it. So you should ensure that using used servers doesn't come at the expense of performance or productivity.

PivIT Can Provide Reliable Used Equipment

It can be daunting for data centers to go with used servers. However, with proper research and a reliable seller, the move to acquire second-hand equipment can have economic and environmental benefits. 

It’s essential to buy only tested, certified, and compatible equipment capable of running for several years, at least. At PivIT, we refurbish and test used servers to ensure they are functional and have fewer chances of faults. More importantly, we provide necessary maintenance and support to ensure this critical infrastructure, however old, is reliable and secure. 

Our ITAD services allow us to acquire IT gear that’s still in very good condition, and we can sell that at a fraction of what new equipment would cost. 

In other words, with PivIT as your procurer for used servers and equipment, you’re in the right hands.

Request A Quote

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think

Subscribe by email