Cisco Refresh - As good as new?

In the IT world we have been using the word 'Refurbished' for years, but what does that actually mean for the consumer?


Author: Paul Bonner

'Refurbished' means different things to different people.

We have many terms that pretty much mean the same thing; 'Second User', 'Used', 'Pre-Owned', 'Second Hand' and 'Pre-Loved'. We come across them in our daily lives when we shop at online auction sites or view items on tailored websites, we even see adverts on TV that point us towards app-based buying experiences. But the latest in a long line of 'tags' attributed to things that we buy is now 'refurbished' which means different things to different people.

In the IT world we have been using the word 'Refurbished' for years and it basically means taking something that has been used before, testing it to make sure it works and then selling it. A whole 'Refurbished' industry has been built to accommodate the requirements of customers to get IT infrastructure at a cheaper than new price. But what does 'refurbished' actually mean for the consumer?

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Typically, an item that is supplied as 'refurbished' has been tested to make sure it works, wiped clean of all previous configuration information and packaged ready for sale. In some, but not all, cases the device would be supplied with all accessories, such as power cables and mounting brackets, as if it were new. Some equipment with minor cosmetic damage, for example scratches sustained during installation, may have been painted to make it look better for the consumer. Refurbished equipment has its place in the market and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The whole industry has gained so much momentum over the past few years that manufacturers who were set against it in the early days now have their own programmes. HP for example, launched the 'Renew' programme many years ago as a way to sell excess component inventory and now it has become a significant revenue stream for their business and covers a wide portfolio of components and products.

Cisco have been offering excess inventory stock under the 'Refresh' moniker for the past couple of years to ensure customers are getting the very best refurbished products available. The Cisco Refresh programme covers not just End of Sale equipment, but equipment from the latest product ranges across the complete portfolio that Cisco offer. The stock is sourced by a dedicated team within Cisco with over 50% of devices coming back from global distribution partners with the remainder being demo/proof of concept equipment that is no longer required. The sourcing of equipment is on a global scale and Cisco approved resellers, such as Hardware, can resell this equipment to customers. The equipment is repackaged by Cisco prior to sale and supplied in an 'as new' condition with all cables and brackets provided. So, in essence it is the same as it was when it left the factory but at a greatly reduced price.

So, all refurbished equipment is the same then and I should just buy the cheapest, right?

No, buying used equipment from the vendor is the best way of ensuring that what you are getting is as it was when it was initially sold. The vendor certifies each device and allows their own support contract to be purchased and applied on both current and End of Sale devices. The vendor stands by the product and provides the same initial warranty that would have been present if the equipment was new which offers the consumer true peace of mind. With the change to a subscription-based model for some operating system software, moving forward vendor supplied refurbished equipment might be the only option.

Hardware work closely with our vendor partners and are able to supply refurbished equipment at competitive prices backed by a full manufacturer warranty. We can supply refurbished components as part of the larger deal to bring down the overall price. Access to global stock lists is always a challenge and due to our strong relationships with our vendors, we are able to reserve inventory for our customers on a short-term basis to ensure availability.

If you are considering purchasing refurbished equipment from Cisco or HPE contact your Hardware Account Manager to see how we can help you.

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