There are literally hundreds of ways to reduce IT costs, and most IT people have heard it all, from the lofty "aligning IT with business strategy" to the back-to-the-Earth "greening of the datacenter."
But after IT has taken even the most obvious steps, like consolidation and virtualization in the datacenter and using open source software -- while bringing all assets and spend under control with vendor-supplied contract management, asset management, and spend management systems -- CFOs are demanding even more of IT.
With that in mind, InfoWorld explores cost-reduction methods you probably have not thought of. Now's the time to try something new to save costs that don't compromise the systems you manage and the capabilities you deliver. Here are seven options.
1. Buy refurbished equipment
Whether you call it used or previously owned, small and large companies alike are suddenly considering buying refurbished equipment rather than brand-new.
You can expect 40 to 50 percent discounts from the original price on most used equipment. In fact, the price of some used equipment may be reduced by as much as 90 percent, says Corey Donovan, vice president of operations at Vibrant Technologies, if you can use a three-year-old product.
But you can't buy used equipment from the original vendors. That's because it's not in the vendors' playbook to adjust prices for older systems. "Some of the major suppliers will ask $20,000 for an older server when they're selling their latest servers with faster CPUs for $10,000," says Donovan.
Refurbished and used equipment can really save the day if you have a new project coming on board or a new application you want to bring online. If you have only a $50,000 budget and the hardware alone costs that much, buying refurbished or used equipment at half price can make all the difference.
So where do you get such refurbished or used equipment? The choices run the gamut from long-standing commercial companies that live and die by their reputation for selling quality used products, to someone on eBay selling a truckload of PCs that they've never tested and don't even know if they start up.
Look for companies that offer at least a one-year warranty on used equipment and make sure they have a system in place for testing and certification. The better companies also have technicians certified by the original manufacturer, like Cisco or IBM.
As good as the price of fully functioning server is, keep in mind that you probably will still want to maintain a homogeneous system. It is far easier to troubleshoot when all your servers are from the same manufacturer and even the same model line, notes Michael Kraner, president of an IT consulting firm in New York City.
Also, be extra careful if you intend to buy used networking equipment. There appears to be a certain amount of counterfeit networking equipment, so you may not get what you expect. Donovan says some equipment are such bad counterfeits, you can see they're phonies from the picture on eBay.