back to article When is a refurbished server not refurbished? Ask this Dell reseller

What's the difference between a refurbished server and a new one? The term refurbished has a negative connotation, conjuring images of open box returns and non-existent warranties, but in at least one case – Dell's ecosystem – that narrative doesn't quite fit. xByte Technologies is a company of about 50 people based out of …

  1. JonW

    One teeny issue

    Power to their elbow, but their entire biz is at the mercy of Dell's wider strategy; a small change to the model and they're sunk. I think it's a good value+ service, but you wouldn't find me investing in them any time soon and I hope they haven't got their arses hanging out too far.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: One teeny issue

      Welcome to Channel Sales. SAP have just changed how they handle maintenance renewals so that smaller resellers can no longer sell maintenance after the first year. Hurts.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: One teeny issue

      I think you'll find they've got a decent business set up. I was fortunate enough to get a peek at some of their roadmaped stuff and I think they'll do alright.

      That said, if anyone does have questions or otherwise wants to poke xByte I am going to point folks at Mike Rigo (mike.rigo {at} xbyte.com). Apparently he's the designated lightning rod, so by all means let hm have it!

      I find the whole xByte thing fascinating, and I wonder how many other weird little niche businesses are out there occupying other ecosystems that I haven't discovered yet.

      Marginally off topic: another vendor I've recently discovered: Fibrestore. Suddenly, I can afford SFP+ cables! Hurray!

      I really need to make a list of these SMB/SME friendly vendors...

      Addendum: Whilst I was happy to learn Fibrestore existed, I was also dismayed that it had been around for so long and I didn't know they existed. The amount I could have saved on cables...

      Some things we should be told.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: One teeny issue

        Definitely thanks for Fiberstore link. 10Gbps is my next level to play on.

      2. roman iwasjuk

        Re: One teeny issue

        There used to be a company called pcoutlet that did the same with HP gear - they were purchased by Ingram (I believe) and left the market...

        fortunately some of the former employees didn't join in and went into business for themselves:

        http://www.jtcomputers.net/

        As for Fibrestore - I agree - have bought some 10gig modules from them at 1/10 the cost of OEM - and they work very well!

  2. Ben Norris

    The problem with Dell's just in time model is that the customer generally doesn't have weeks to wait for systems to be built and delivered when they can get the same thing next day from a reseller for considerably lower prices!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Yep, I bought a laptop direct from Dell with next day shipping. Dell neglected to say that it would be shipping from China!

    2. Jay 2

      If you want something off-the-shelf, then maybe yes. But if you prefer something a bit more tailored to your own needs, then not quite.

      We are routinely reminded by one of our VARs to check the specs they give back on the quotes as such boxes are built to order and Dell get quite pissy about returns. However due to a slip up with another VAR (which I stupidly forgot to confirm the details on) I now make sure I check the spec with a fine toothcomb.

      Though it is nice to have a VAR that actually does offer some VA in the TLA. Some of them are not particularly helpful.

      1. Alan Leenhouts

        Servermonkey may not be doing custom systems but you can visit CloudNinjas.com and they'll set you up. They do much the same refurbishing of servers as Server monkey but they handle HP and Supermicro as well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      VARs buying through distribution instead of buying direct from Dell can access disti-stocked SKUs if you need a Dell server at your door in a couple days instead of a couple weeks. This is a new program (US and Canada afaik), but the specs and pricing looks good.

      I've lived through the whole configure-to-order thing myself and that is how we ended up with different vendors in my environment - 22 Dell servers, 6 HP, 2 Cisco, 2 Lenovo. Sometimes when $250/hour consultants are already boarding flights to come deliver projects on site that your director forgot to tell you about, you have no choice but to deviate and deal with the headaches at the admin level later. This is a nice addition to the CTO model.

    4. Trixr

      Uh, the millions of businesses that rely on Dell server kit don't seem to have any problem with it. Home users are something else.

  3. Tom Chiverton 1

    What's the UK equivalent then ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dell outlet by the looks:

      http://outlet.euro.dell.com/Online/InventorySearch.aspx?brandid=71&c=uk&cs=ukdfb1&l=en&s=dfb&dgc=IR&lid=13424D57&cid=

      1. Mayhem

        Yeah, there have been half a dozen companies over the past decade that did this, but most have been reabsorbed back into Dell Outlet.

        Looks like a few online only jobs are reselling the Outlet ones too.

    2. Quentin Finknottle Again

      FYI

      In the UK, there's ServerSource. No relationship except I've bought from them in the past so I get their daily email. Typical saving over list price seems to be around 30%.

    3. Olius

      "What's the UK equivalent then ?"

      Of the article?

      It's exactly the same, but it says that xByte is based *in* Florida.

  4. styx-tdo
    WTF?

    so, dell does not do refurbished.. well...

    http://dellrefurbished.com/

    http://dellrefurbished.ca/

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: so, dell does not do refurbished.. well...

      Dell sells refurbished gear under their own banner. They just don't move it in adequate volume. More gear enters the refurbished channel than they can clear on their own. Hence the existence of xByte and their ilk.

      So no...Dell doesn't really do refurbished very well at all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    xByte customer

    Been buying from them for years, and yes, they are good guys, especially around after-sales service and warranty. Quick parts shipping for any issues, and no endless "convince me it's broken" phone calls to get a replacement part shipped.

    Just one thing... Dell - especially recently - has been making some outrageous deals on new servers built to spec, so you'll really want to compare new cost to refurbished. Just got some quotes from them on 730s loaded with high-end procs, tons of memory, and SSDs. I had to check the quotes twice to be sure they hadn't left stuff off. Someone has clearly told them to move some iron.

    Thanks for the Fiberstore tip!

  6. hitchcock4

    Dell orders can be shortened

    Responding to Ben:

    It certainly can take longer to buy Dell servers -- but I have always been happy with the hardware, support, and the quality. As opposed to last time we bought HP and *we* had to put the server together. Extra CPU, RAM, hard drives arrived separately. And we had to "Throw away" the 4 GB of RAM the HP came with to insert the larger RAM chips.

    Some companies can take weeks to order servers (internal paperwork, etc). We have learned to streamline that so that the server still gets here about the same amount of time later. If 1 in 10 orders (or 1 in 20) that we make through Dell we need quicker -- call our rep and tell them we need it sooner. They always have come through. Just as long as you don't do that with every order. :) :)

    1. Bring_Back_MPE

      Re: Dell orders can be shortened

      The order for the HP server must have been screwed up. Assuming the options you had to install in the HP box were standard supported options for that server : if those items were included on the order with the "0D1" option (factory installed) then those components would have been installed at the factory before the unit shipped. Someone in the ordering process dropped the ball.

      Saying this with some authority as I was a project manager would worked at the HP Houston plant for several years.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Dell orders can be shortened

        Oh God, HP in the UK (as compared to APEC) almost drove me to murder the fucking PMs who where ordering stuff.

        The PMs ordered based off the parts list, and no-one thought to confirm that it would be assembled by HP, or that it would actually work. So I get handed a pile of boxes, and told "build teh servers!". They all came with redundant power supplies, but without the conversion kits to be able to mount them, which turned out to cost ~20% of the total cost again.

        Then about 40% turn out to have been returns, where they flake out after being powered on for 20-60 hours. Luckily I still had my HP technician details from when I used to work for them, so I managed to convince them to accept returns after about a week, since each "fix" needed a couple of days to test.

        HP then shipped us replacements. Which turned out to be the *same* units. Because their technicians couldn't replicate the fault, it tested fine, so ship it back as new.

        Don't know what the rest of the world is like, but I've been sold too many things "new" in the UK which where IMHO refurbished or repaired.

        Personally I'll always by second hand or refurb kit for anything that I expect a decent lifetime from. I think the only new power tools I've got are gifts, and they are often better (light industrial versus consumer) than what I could pick up at my local DIY store. It's just a pisser when they don't get returned, since I can't just go and grab another one for the same price.

  7. Jan 0

    > xByte puts out Dell quality systems and support and helps Dell maintain their brand image

    Surely, when you are seen as the Gerald Ratner of computer manufacturers, you don't have a brand image to maintain. "Cheap and nasty", or "Well, it copes" is hardly a brand image.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      So you prefer to have rack upon rack of equipment that is more expensive and more feature rich than is required to do the job?

      Please submit your real name so that I can be DAMNED sure I never work with you on any job, ever.

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