I, by choice, prefer working with software. When I deal with networks, it's usually only so that I can solve some problem and then get back to working on my software projects. That being the case, I often find myself in the following situation:
- Installed latest network hardware
- Configured said hardware and our networks.
- Left network in operation
- Come back two years later when something needs changed.
The story always ends the same. All the equipment I put in has been succeeded by newer, cooler hardware. The stuff we now have is outdated and only available as a support solution.
There are solutions for maintaining a network over time. Multilink Communications Products for instance offers all kinds of old and new Cisco Equipment. You'll have to check them out yourself to see if they suite your needs and if their prices is right, but for me, I found exactly the old firewall model and license that we use in our network VPNs. They have an easy to browse menu of products. It's easy, for instance, to browse to the Cisco Switches and see every model they have available. Once you find what you need, you can request a price quote depending on if you want new, used/refurbished, or simply whatever costs the least. There is also a Hardware and equipment lease option if you like that better.