Not long ago I had a few million quids worth of “surplus to requirements” computers. I say a few million. Actually about £50,000. But once upon a time, as little as 4 or 5 years ago, they’d been worth £3 million or more. But now they were, near as nothing, scrap.
The idea of scrapping that much hardware didn’t appeal to me. Selling them to a broker for £50k would have brought about £50k of cleansing cost (scrapping them would still have cost some money but not as much – it’s way cheaper to wipe a computer you don’t intend to use than it is one that you’re planning to reuse).
So what’s a guy in government to do with a big pile of servers and no use for them?
There isn’t, it turns out, a steptoeandson.gov or even an ebay.gov for reselling (or even donating) hardware.
After a few calls I found another department that wanted to put together a long term proof of concept environment. They were willing to plunk down nearly a cool million quid for this. Instead of spending that much, they got to spend less than £50k on some data cleansing and probably a bit for A Man With A Van. And they got all the stuff. They got what they wanted, I didn’t pay for cleansing – and better still, the taxpayer didn’t have to pay out for some new stuff.
I wonder how often that occurs in governments in any given country and whether a local ebay.gov.xx for your country makes sense?
Does everyone leave the disposal problem to their outsourced suppliers or is there room for a service here, brokered perhaps amongst those outsourced suppliers?