IT Management

Is used hardware a viable alternative for a data center in search of IBM mainframe equipment? Joel Owens, president and CEO of QualTech International, says it is. And he gets right to the bottom line.

“The difference comes down to price,” he says. “That truly is what used and refurbished has on IBM.”

Since companies such as Amdahl and Hitachi left the mainframe market, IBM mainframe shops have little choice in new hardware and little leverage with IBM in negotiating price, Owens says.

Ask a QualTech customer and they echo “The Price Is Right” theme.

“The big advantage of buying used hardware from a reseller is the financials,” explains Eric Wilth, manager, z/OS systems support for Thomson Legal and Regulatory, a provider of integrated information solutions for legal, tax, accounting, intellectual property, compliance, and business professionals. “If you don’t require leading-edge technology, buying used is a viable option, and the savings over buying from IBM can be significant. Since the hardware is IBM-certified, we are confident that it will work as well as buying it from IBM.”

According to Owens, QualTech and other dealers in the used IBM hardware market—such as Epoka Group, Spectra, and CHS Computer Sales—offer two ways for customers to get a better deal:

  • They can buy a used IBM-certified mainframe.
  • They can leverage the lower price of the used equipment to get a better deal from IBM.

“A lot of end-user customers are quite honestly using us to leverage against IBM to get prices down and to save significant money,” Owens says.

Second, if the customer decides to go with used mainframes, they can be assured a one- or two-year-old machine will be a safe buy and a good deal, he says.

“When we supply a used machine, we IBM band it,” Owens explains. “We certify it. It’s sealed. It’s guaranteed by IBM, the same way as when IBM sells a new machine.”

Johnny Tourino, vice president of Spectra, agrees with Owens that price is the reason his customers consider used mainframe hardware.

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