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For sale: Used, low-mileage hyperscaler servers

A company that specializes in creating second lives for IT hardware is expanding its initiative to reengineer and sell decommissioned data-center equipment from the major hyperscale operators that are aggressively replacing relatively new hardware.

ITRenew announced the plan at the recent Open Compute Project (OCP) conference, promising to sell full servers previously owned by the big operators, reengineered, warrantied, and configured for turnkey uses like web serving and Kubernetes. ITRenew launched its first server racks two years ago and is now making the initiative more broadly available to all industries so more potential customers can buy OCP-certified hardware. 

OCP’s CTO Bill Carter said there’s a proliferation of retired gear because of the massive growth of hyperscalers that would rather put newer, more powerful gear in the same space than build out new space. With the core counts from Intel and AMD skyrocketing, a 2U server from 2020 is much more powerful than a 2U from 2018.

And Carter noted, “that’s newer than a lot of equipment being used in IT these days.”

He said reselling whole servers wasn’t done even a year ago; recycled gear was sold on a component level. “When you have these mega data centers commissioning 100,000 units every year, you’re also taking out tens of thousands of old equipment every quarter. Now I can set up an assembly line to recondition it,” he said.

Ali Fenn, president of ITRenew, also noted that hyperscale refresh cycles are very aggressive. Many of these hyperscale operators don’t even have warranties, she said, because they do not need the support. If a server breaks down, there are tens of thousands of fallback servers and they just take it out of service and replace it.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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