Replacing Servers & Data Center Equipment
Due to more conscious spending, tighter IT budgets, and/or more reliable hardware, companies are able to wait longer before having the need to upgrade servers and data center equipment. Traditionally, the server replacement cycle is every two to three years. Now, companies have been known to wait as long as six years before the need of any replacements.
Reasons to Upgrade Servers
There are no concrete rules in deciding when companies should upgrade servers. Decisions are typically based on server performance, rather than depreciation or when the hardware support and warranty contracts expire. This is the reason it is critical to continually monitor and take detailed reports of vital server metrics such as reliability, up-time, bandwidth consumption, and CPU utilization.
In addition to current server performance, it is important to calculate the future needs of the operation when building a data center. This is necessary in order to make smarter short-term upgrades and assists in anticipating a long-term server replacement strategy.
It is also important to consider all aspects of the IT infrastructure since each component is highly dependent on one another. Factors include projected processing and storage needs, future operating systems, databases, and application deployments. In doing so, a company can mitigate the risks of running new software on under powered hardware or old software on overpowered hardware.
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”
With the recent buzz surrounding green IT and efficiency, it can be beneficial to reuse old servers for less demanding processes. For instance, old production servers can be used as backup servers since the decrease in performance may be acceptable for intermittent use. Although this is a good way to cut costs, it is always advisable to analyze whether re-purposing hardware is more cost-effective than a server upgrade. Either way, strategy should be based on meeting the needs of the business.
The best approach in determining server replacement cycles is to base decisions on network performance data and forecasts of business needs.