When your company decides to decommission its data center, it’s important to have a plan for the safe and secure disposal of all hardware. This includes servers, networking equipment, and storage devices

In order to protect your company’s confidential data, it’s essential to use a professional IT asset disposition (ITAD) service provider. In this blog post, we will define exactly what ITAD is and how it can help you securely erase data from your decommissioned data center hardware. We’ll also provide a guide on how ITAD providers assess, deinstall, move, erase data, and recover value from your hardware that goes directly into your pocket.

Defining ITAD

So, what exactly is ITAD? ITAD is the process of disposing of unwanted or unusable equipment in a secure and environmentally responsible manner. This general process can be applied to both office and data center environments. 

The key difference in ITAD processes between these two types of environments is that with data center asset disposition, all data must be completely wiped from the hardware before it can be disposed of.

ITAD providers offer a wide range of services to help with the decommissioning process, from data destruction to resale and recycling. However, not all ITAD providers are created equal. When choosing an ITAD provider, it’s important to do your research and choose a company that is certified, experienced, and compliant with all industry regulations.

Data center ITAD process

Now that we’ve defined ITAD, let’s take a closer look at the data center asset disposition process. The ITAD process consists of five main steps:

  1. Assessment
  2. Deinstallation
  3. Data Destruction
  4. Value Recovery
  5. Disposal

Step 1: Assessment

The first step in the process is assessment. During this stage, an ITAD representative will come to your data center and assess the condition of your hardware. They will also determine the type of data stored on each device and create a list of all assets that need to be disposed.

The ITAD provider will work with you to develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the specific needs of your data center hardware. This plan will take into account factors such as the type of equipment, the quantity of equipment, and the level of security required.

Once the assessment is complete, the ITAD provider will work with you to determine the most effective way to dispose of your data center hardware. This may include erasing all data from the hardware, physically destroying the hardware, or recycling the hardware.

More often than not, there is an opportunity to recover value from your disposed assets. Your ITAD provider will draw up a plan to remarket viable data center assets to the global market once all sensitive data has been sanitized from the device. This opportunity for revenue sharing between the customer and ITAD provider is beneficial to recover any capital that could provide some return on the now decommissioned investment.

Step 2: Deinstallation

The second step is deinstallation. Once the assessment is complete, the ITAD provider will begin deinstalling all hardware from your data center. This includes removing all servers, networking equipment, and storage devices from their racks. The provider will then label and palletize all of the equipment for secure transportation.

The deinstallation process is critical to the success of any IT asset disposition project. If done correctly, it will ensure that all of your data is secure and all equipment is properly deactivated. If done incorrectly, it could lead to data breaches or environmental damage.

That’s why it’s important to choose an ITAD provider that has proven experience deinstalling data center equipment. Your ITAD provider should have a team of certified technicians who are familiar with all major brands of hardware, as well as the proper tools and equipment to safely remove and transport all of your equipment.

Step 3: Data Destruction

The third step is data destruction. This is the most important step in the data center asset disposition process, as it ensures that all confidential data stored on your hardware is completely wiped. The ITAD provider will use a variety of methods to destroy data, including physical destruction, data degaussing, and data wiping.

Once the data has been properly sanitized from the disposed hardware, your ITAD provider will give you a certificate of data destruction. This document will outline all of the hardware that was removed from your data center and confirm that the data has been wiped using the appropriate industry standard.

Step 4: Value Recovery

The fourth step, value recovery, is to ensure that the customer is getting the best value for their assets. ITAD value recovery process involves remarketing decommissioned hardware to recover some of its value. A revenue-sharing arrangement is drawn up between the ITAD provider and the business in order to ensure proper financial distribution to both parties are ensured.

The remarketing process varies and can often be done through online auction sites, recycling programs, trade-ins, or directly through the ITAD consultant’s network of buyers. By taking advantage of value recovery programs, businesses can recoup some of the costs of upgrading their hardware and reduce the environmental impact of their decommissioned assets.

Step 5: Disposal

The final step of the ITAD process is disposal. This must be done when data center hardware reaches the end of its useful life, void of any recoverable value, and must be properly disposed of to avoid negative environmental consequences. E-waste recycling is critical to mitigating the environmental damage caused by improper disposal. Unfortunately, e-waste is often disposed incorrectly, leading to harmful pollution and toxic runoff.

Improper disposal happens frequently because e-recycling is not always easy or convenient. Many e-waste recycling facilities are located far from populated areas, making it difficult for people to recycle their e-waste responsibly. Additionally, e-recycling can be expensive, and many people cannot afford to pay for e-recycling services.

The best way to reduce the environmental impact of e-waste is to prevent it from being generated in the first place. When data center hardware reaches the end of its useful life, it should be reused or recycled instead of discarded. By taking responsibility for our e-waste, we can help protect our planet for future generations.

Final thoughts

As you can see, the data center asset disposition process is quite simple. However, it’s important to choose a reputable ITAD provider that can be trusted to handle your company’s confidential data.

Whether you choose to recycle your equipment, refurbish devices to be fixed and resold, or erase the data and sell as-is to an interested buyer, there are several different steps you can take to dispose of your data center equipment in a secure and sustainable manner.

ReluTech is a trusted industry expert for all the above IT asset disposition services, earning the trust of thousands of companies in need of decommissioning and hardware value recovery. If your business needs help conducting a data center decommissioning project, reach out to us and we can provide a plan to fit your project’s timeline and budget!


Jason Figliolini is our Marketing Content Manager here at ReluTech. His top priorities are content creation for articles, blogs, and collateral to educate customers about cloud, hardware, and maintenance solutions. Outside of work, he enjoys reading books, attending concerts, and exploring Atlanta’s hidden gems.

Get in touch with Jason: jfigliolini@relutech.com