When is the right time to replace a server?
Everyone wants and needs to extract every last dollar of their capital investment; it’s a good business practice. So when is the right time to replace the company server?
When it stops working?
Let’s stop for a moment and think what that means…
A server is powerful computer. They are engineered to run continuously day after day. But like all electronic and mechanical equipment, at some point it will fail. It isn’t anyone’s fault. Computers just do that, just like light bulbs burn out and old cars break down.You put a call into your IT guy and this time it isn’t just a power outage over the weekend. The server just won’t re-boot.
The realities are:
The older the server gets, the day that it will let you down gets closer. If you don’t replace your server while it is still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed. Just like a light bulb, where life expectancy is often written on the packaging, a server’s life expectancy is not a secret; 5 years is typical, but from experience and depending on the environment that it’s in, perhaps closer to 4 years.
So what happens when it fails?
We always do our best to get hold of replacement parts (most likely available on a next business day basis), reload the operating system (about half a day’s work), reinstall your business application software (say, another half a day’s work), and finally restore backup data (which, of course, could be from the night before the failure – hoping that you had a working backup).
It is an emotional time; we’ve been through this scenario with new customers many times. It is worth repeating the obvious, because you definitely don’t want to be in this position.
If your server isn’t replaced while still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed.
Can this scenario be avoided?
Yes, absolutely it can. The above scenario is what happens when a conscience decision is NOT made to replace a server BEFORE it fails.
Adopt a strategy to replace ageing equipment before it fails in service.
On the one hand, in the current economic climate, you want to squeeze every last bang out of your hardware buck. On the other, the cost of downtime (potentially 3 or more days of it) that will result from a server failure could have a dramatic effect on your company’s bottom line.
So in the absence of a crystal ball, when is the right time to pull the plug on the company’s existing server?
The answer is Hardware (Server) Life-Cycle Management
There are many different approaches to hardware life cycle management. The size of the company, number of offices, financial priorities, but the most import thing about a life-cycle plan is to have one!
Many large corporations, for example, make decisions and budgets about how long computer hardware will last at the time of purchase. By specifying this from the beginning these companies are able to:
- Budget for acquiring new systems at that time
- Plan to evaluate the systems prior to that time
- Analyze what condition they’re in
If necessary, for financial reasons, take steps to extend their useful life by replacing or upgrading components and warranty coverage.
In the absence of an existing life-cycle plan we suggest that 4 years is a reasonable life expectancy for your server. To run it past 4 years without replacing some major components (mostly mechanical), your company runs an ever increasing risk of inevitable and catastrophic server failure.
We would very much like to help you avoid this scenario
The purpose of this post is because we never enjoy these situations either. The very last thing people think about is prevention. Urgent things have a habit of getting in the way of the important things. But why not let us do all the planning for you? That’s what we’re here for.
Drop us a note and we’ll be delighted to put forward a range of options and recommendations. If you don’t do it now…