Consumerism - Circuit boards

IT Strategy |

Fighting Consumerism in the Network

Each year, editors of Britain’s Collins Dictionary select a word of the year; the one word that they believe best epitomizes the global trends and culture of that year. The 2018 word of the year? Single-use. Let’s take a minute to unpack that.

From straws and water bottles to plastic bags and roughly one of third of the food produced ends up in landfills, the ocean or as roadside litter. Fact is, we live in a throw-away society. Consumerism leads us to think that when things break—phones, cars, and even relationships, we replace them instead of fixing them. Most times, we don’t even wait till they break; the service life of more and more items ends as soon as a more attractive model is available.

Our penchant for waste, especially in the U.S., is prodigious and is fueled by unimpeded consumerism. Unfortunately, that consumerism isn’t limited to consumer purchases; it has become part of our business strategies as well, especially if you’re a manufacturer and particularly for manufacturers of technology.

Much is made about the concept of planned obsolescence. The design and manufacture of products designed to be replaced before they reach the end of their serviceable life. Apple is often held up as the poster child of planned technology obsolescence.

Network hardware OEMs like Cisco do it as well. It is common for these manufacturers to announce the end-of-life retirement for popular switches, routers, servers and optical gear three to five years after being launched. In most cases, the components have at least another five years of productivity left when they are put out to pasture. Yet, too many network managers don’t question the decision. They simply follow the OEM’s network hardware lifecycle.

Consumerism is bad for the environment

The effects on the environment are well-documented (e-waste accounts for approximately 70 percent of all toxic waste created worldwide). The practice of throwing away perfectly good equipment promotes a culture of waste that compromises the viability of the enterprise. But what if, instead, network managers pursued a strategy based on optimizing value?

There is a growing trend away from the accelerated OEM-dictated purchasing cycle and toward a more value-based approach that extends the equipment’s serviceable lifespan. Working with certified used network equipment partners like Edgeium, network managers accomplish two very important objectives.

  • The first benefit. You can significantly reduce the CapEx and OpEx costs on hardware, including used Cisco equipment like servers, routers, switches and optical components. The typical purchase price of pre-owned equipment is 60 to 90 percent lower than new. Much of the increased price is an effort by manufacturers to recoup the cost to add new features. You could even never get to never implement this features before the next gen comes out.
  • The second major benefit of purchasing pre-owned equipment is network reliability. Let’s assume the components are tested, certified and guaranteed to meet OEM performance specs before being shipped. It doesn’t mean you might not experience the out-of-the-box fail rate that plagues new components. As a result, this strategy enables immediate benefits in terms of lower maintenance costs and improve network reliability.
  • Lastly, the third benefit is that a certified pre-owned equipment purchasing strategy can, over time, help reverse the trend toward consumerism that eats away at the company’s long-term sustainability. It prioritizes corporate responsibility and maximization of existing resources over the desire to continually update to next-generation equipment simply because the manufacturer says so.

In the long term

The longer-term benefits of a certified pre-owned purchasing strategy are two-fold as well. Finding an equipment partner you trust enables you to escape the artificially abbreviated OEM product purchase cycle and regain control of when and what you buy.

If you are using a switch that you like, you can continue using it long after the OEM has stopped supporting it. Qualified partners, such as Edgeium who offers CCIE-certified OEM maintenance, support most previous-gen hardware and provide an excellent SMARTnet alternative. When a single switch reaches the end of its serviceable life, you can replace just the one instead of all of them.

Save resources investing in third-party maintenance

Third Party Maintenance (TPM) refers to ongoing support for server, storage and network equipment. CovrEDGE supports your IT assets beyond OEM warranty in a safe, smart and price-minded way. It is a solution that has been growing in popularity. If you think about acquiring used network equipment, a vendor like Edgeium can offer you post-warranty support in timeframes that start from 3 months. Keep one maintenance contract for multi-vendor hardware supported by certified Engineers. You can extend the lifetime of your current network over 5 years after the end of sales.

Third-party maintenance can unlock your hardware from support limitations to boost equipment longevity, even for end-of-life products.

 Benefits of Third Party Maintenance

  1. Cost Saving
    Between 50-70% in cost reduction, compared to the traditional OEM support.
  2. Flexible Customer Support
    TPM can provide a faster response to your needs.
  3. Extend your investment
    Reduce your CapEX and OpEx maintaining your current assets at a more suitable price
  4. Customize your solution
    Your network is unique, find the right balance between OEM and TPM.
  5. Take advantage of a Extender Lifetime Warranty
    Our TPM CovrEDGE™ provides you with hardware replacement in 24 hours. We’re a reliable vendor that will support your network.

“Gartner has seen very few customers look to move equipment back to OEM maintenance once it has been moved to a TPM because overall satisfaction with TPMs is good and the savings are dramatic.”

Source: Gartner Market Guide for Data Center and Network Third-Party Hardware Maintenance.

We encourage you, IT managers and team members to critically analyze whether an equipment upgrade is the right decision ultimately results in smarter decisions in other parts of the network and enterprise, helping to reduce waste. Realizing there is a good alternative to following the OEM’s product roadmap is the first step in creating a more sustainable and successful business.


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