Thursday, October 25, 2012

What does “CTO” Mean?

One question that we get a lot is, “What does CTO mean?".  At Vista Computer Group, our servers are Configure to Order (CTO); this allows us to purchase en masse (getting large bulk discounts that we’re able to pass on to our customers regardless of their order size), break the systems down to the component level, and stock them in our warehouse.

When one of our clients places an order, our team of certified technicians assembles the order according to the specific configuration requested, tests it, and updates the firmware to the most recent versions.  This makes same-day shipments a bit difficult.  If you have an emergency, just let us know and we will work with you to the best of our ability. The SKU on the outside of the box may not match the exact-ordered part number every time, but new systems show up in the original manufacturer’s box just as they would from the direct channel.

So it’s not as simple as picking a handful of boxes up off a dusty shelf and putting them on the next truck out of town, but with free integration, testing, and updating on EVERY order that goes out the door, we think our customers appreciate the extra 10%.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes: What Product Conditions Really Mean

Have you ever searched for a system on our site only to discover multiple options that are all at different prices, and went huh? The multiple options and price differences are a direct result of the product condition, which varies between 3 offerings: New, HP Renew or Dell Recertified, and Vista Certified Refurbished.

Having heard this situation explained to me by several different customers, I decided it was time to clear up some of the confusion. So, here's the breakdown explaining what the three product conditions that we offer on really mean:

New: We take all new, never-been-used, HP parts direct from distribution and build them into a system during our Configure to Order (CTO) process. This provides you with a customized solution that is completely contained within HP’s warranty (warranty length varies by product). For more information on our CTO process, stay tuned for next week's blog post!

Dell Recertified/HP Renew: These products are typically the result of cancelled orders, ended leases, overstock from distribution, or returns by HP/Dell customers for reasons other than being defective. Unable to sell them as NEW anymore, HP/Dell sends them through a comprehensive refurbishment and testing process. Once they ensure that they are fully restored to meet HP/Dell standards, they receive a full HP/Dell warranty (warranty length varies by product).

Vista Certified Refurbished: This is used gear that we have taken in and put through a rigorous testing, cleaning, and re-assembling process. Anything that’s scratched, dented, or even looks at us funny does not go on our shelf – it goes straight into the dumpster out back. Gear that has made the fairly prestigious cut is then covered by our comprehensive 3 year warranty (covering the U.S. and Canada).


Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Sort Through the Online Riffraff

While you may know exactly where to go to order your next pair of running shoes, or the most recent season of your favorite TV show off of the World Wide Web, there are about a bazillion retailers that want your biz on the net for your next couple-thousand-dollar server purchase. It can be tough to figure out who should earn your business in a sea of competition, and here at Vista Computer, we understand where you are coming from.

So to help you sort through the riffraff for your next online technology purchase, here are 3 key mantras to keep in mind:

1.    We have a brick and mortar warehouse based in Grand Rapids, MI – Worried about where the product comes from? Our products come from a warehouse right here in the U.S.
2.    We offer a three year warranty – Power supply blows out after 2 years? No worries - if there’s a problem, yo, we’ll solve it.
3.    We’re real people – There are zero robots working for Vista, unless you count our desktops. Call us, email us, heck, even stop by and visit us if you want to at any time.

If you’re still uncertain how to choose where to make your next online technology purchase, remember that Vista Computer offers real people based in the U.S of A waiting for a phone call or email to tell us how to better help you.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Is this thing on? Tap…Tap…

It’s been a while. Since we’ve last written, Diablo 3 was finally released in all of its demon-slaying glory, Apple taught smart phone addicts to dream a little bigger with the New iPad, and Hollywood BA Michael Fassbender signed on to star in the Assassin’s Creed movie. Oh right, and in the enterprise technology world, new generations of servers have been released from Dell, HP and IBM. Now that we’re caught up from the last 2 years or so, let me give you a thorough introduction to two of the rockstars from the new generational server releases, the 12th generation Dell PowerEdge R720 and Dell PowerEdge R720xd 2U rack servers.

With technological innovations like Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 processors and the new iDRAC7, Dell R720 and R720xd servers are pretty freaking sweet if you’re into the latest-technologies-on-the-market kind of thing. And the buzz doesn’t stop there, PowerEdge R720 and R720xd rack servers also feature new Broadcom and Intel-based NIC daughtercards, 10GbE ports with FCoE offload, and a new PERC H710P mini card. Yet when it comes to a showdown between the two of them, the R720xd server emerges victorious as king of the datacenter with 26 hard disk drives in a 2U server for a whopping 36TB of internal storage capacity (for real). But you definitely can’t go wrong with either server, available from Vista Computer in recertified and refurbished options.


IBM’s Roadmap Calls for the End of x3650 M2

In a recent, internal document, IBM marked the end of the x3650 M2 line as being December of 2010.  Some IBM users will remember when the manufacturer ended the production of their x3650s in 2009.  By ending a popular product so early, they essentially create a demand on their new, more expensive and more restricted products.  That’s typically when most people will go to market with their needs.

What IBM doesn’t realize is that not everyone needs the latest product immediately after it’s announcement.  In fact, companies that specialize in end of life hardware really have a chance to show their value in these situations.


Dell Blade Users Spend $15,000 Less Per Year

A press release by Dell shows that a recent study between Dell, HP and IBM blades, shows that Dell’s M610 blade servers will consume up to 20% less power per blade over their competitors’ blades. I’ve listed a few highlights of the article (Click here for full article) below:
  • If a customer were to deploy 160 PowerEdge M610 blades in 10 fully populated Dell M1000e chassis versus a 160 blade server solution from HP and 140 blade servers from IBM, over the course of five years they could expect to save up to $60,902.80 when compared with a similar solution from HP and up to $20,391.40 when compared with a similar solution from IBM.
  • The energy saving only on one fully populated Dell M1000e chassis is enough to power a home for one year.
  • Both fully populated, the Dell M1000e used up to 24 percent less power at idle and up to 13 percent less power at 100 percent CPU utilization than an HP C7000
For more information on Dell blades and to start saving money by adding Dell blades to your business (shameless plug!) contact your Vista Computer Sales rep – which is me, Justin Bush.


Why Buy New ProCurve?

Trying to decide whether to spend the money for a brand new HP ProCurve switch?

What many people don’t know is that HP’s Lifetime Warranty on their ProCurve hardware is valid regardless of the where the unit was purchased from. 

What this means for you can purchase refurbished HP ProCurve from Vista Computer at a fraction of the price and still have the lifetime warranty intact.  So is the cardboard box it comes in really worth the additional money?  We think not…


Custom Designed Dells

Vista Computer Group is breaking into Dell’s popular PowerEdge servers with great deals on pre-configured and custom built systems. With Tower, Rackmount, and Blade servers; each customer is sure to find the right system at the right price. Our new online configurator is a great way for customers to plan out exactly what their requirements are and how they’d like to meet them.

For customers who are looking to upgrade an existing Dell Server, Vista Computer has refurbished components in stock. Every component is tested to make sure it works like new and for the month of August, we will be offering a free 8GB stick of memory with the purchase of 3 sticks – it’s a great way to get the most out of a server, without spending an entire budget.

Whether it’s a customized server, an extra hard drive, or a few more DIMMs of memory; all Dell products come with Vista’s 3 year warranty. If you’re interested in learning more about our warranty or the Dell product line we offer, please contact your Vista Computer Group Representative.


IBM x3650 M2 On its Way Out?

With some of IBM’s popular x3650 M2 models discontinued and more expected to come to an end soon; their cost and availability is sure to go up in the near future.  Much as we’ve seen with previous generations, IBM will slowly turn off the faucet, creating longer lead times and higher prices for their loyal customers.  Before long, the manufacturer will only offer the new, “bleeding edge” servers that cost twice as much and only offer a portion of the usability your organization has come to rely on in the previous months.

By stocking up on these systems while they’re still available in the market, we’re able to support your datacenter long after the manufacturer has deemed it “obsolete.”  Combine that with a 3 year warranty that covers every piece of hardware we sell, regardless of make or model, and it’s easy to see how we’ve become a reliable technology source for thousands of happy customers all over the world!

If you’re interested in more information on getting more out of your hardware long after its end of life date, please contact a Vista Computer Group Representative.  We’re firm believers in the theory that an educated customer is a happy customer!


Some Assembly Required?!

Is your vendor charging you an “integration charge?”  Why? Since when is making sure your equipment is working before it ships considered a billable service? The next time you make a purchase, why not have everything configured and tested prior to shipping without any additional fees… Now there’s a concept!


Is your old IT gear worth anything?

One question we often get from customers is, “Is this old stuff worth anything?” And believe it or not, more often than not, the answer is yes! As a company that specializes in used and refurbished servers, storage and networking gear, we’re always looking for used equipment. Granted, the majority of our sales are the new, latest and greatest servers or switches but we pride ourselves in our ability to support end of life technology. One of the ways we stock up that technology is by buying from customers like yourself!

If you’ve recently upgraded your IT environment and would like to see if your old stuff is worth anything, give us a call.

Typically, we’ll ask for as much information as possible in order to get you the most accurate offer possible. Once we’ve got your information, we take it to our product managers who evaluate it and come back to us with a number. We then shoot that number back to you; if you’re interested, we then send over a purchase agreement and start making arrangements to have the items picked up. Once we’ve received the product and had it tested and approved by our technicians, our accounting department will either cut you a check or have the amount applied to your account.

So before you take that old server out to the dumpster, give us a call or shoot us an email. Maybe it’s worth a little more than you think!


Do You NEED New?

What’s driving your hardware purchases? If your company is like many of the companies out there, you’re constantly being pressed to buy the latest and greatest technology. Your business partner is talking up a product one week and calling it obsolete the next without any regard to your current needs or requirements. When it comes down to it, isn’t warranty what really matters?

All equipment is used as soon as you open the box so if you have a decent warranty and you save 40% isn’t that worth it? From generation to generation, across all hardware lines, most improvements are incremental at best, not to mention the fact that new “bleeding edge” systems will often only perform as well as the oldest server in your datacenter. The next time you’re getting ready to purchase, ask to see a similar quote from a previous generation with warranty; you might be surprised.


The Dangers of Buying Engineering Sample Processors

Are your processors on the up and up? If you’re like the thousands of companies out there that are seeking new ways to save on your IT budget, you might be purchasing equipment from the market.  First of all, that’s great! Companies that limit themselves to their typical distribution channels are finding it more and more difficult to keep up.  The internet is a thriving market place full of vendors aggressively vying for your business and there’s no reason to avoid it if you know what to look out for.

Specifically ES or Engineering Sample Processors. If you’re shopping around, looking for the right processor at a discount make sure you follow the golden rule of online shopping: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  Companies like Intel and AMD will mark their confidential prototypes or samples with an “ES” or “Engineering Sample” so that these cannot be sold.  They are the property of the manufacturer and should be treated like stolen property.

Make sure you’re asking the questions before you purchase! People get burned all the time by assuming that the picture in the listing is of the item for sale; it never hurts to ask.  Also, ES processors are often cheaper than the legit processors, making them even more likely to get picked up by some unsuspecting victim.

Get your money back. If you find that you are one of these unsuspecting victims, demand your money back.  If the seller claims that the deal is done, fair and square, let them know that you’ll be contacting the manufacturer and letting them know where you picked up one of their confidential processors.  Also, hit them with bad feedback!  Most sellers would rather take back a bad processor and try to unload it on someone else as opposed to getting a negative feedback rating.