How Often Should I Replace My Servers?

by | Feb 17, 2017 | IT Services

Servers are such a vital part of a company’s technology infrastructure. Depending on how you use your server, your day-to-day operations could come to a halt if you experience issues like server downtime. By not being able to complete your day-to-day tasks, you’re sure to lose money. So, you ask, “How often should I replace my servers?” The answer can vary but below are some ways to prevent the chaos and financial nightmare of having a server die when you’re unprepared.

How Often Should I Replace My Servers?

We recommend to always follow the manufacturer’s warranty and their recommended replacement timeline. Those timelines typically vary from 3-5 years and very rarely extend past 5 years. Why? Because it becomes extremely expensive to support a server after it has been running for 5 years. Statistics show it costs 200% more to support for a server that is 5 years old or older.

Even after increasing support to that server, managers still report that their 5+ year old server goes down about 3 times more than a new server. Thinking about that number in terms of productivity hours lost, your operations could suffer greatly. Despite the known costs of old servers, we see more and more CIOs and IT Directors waiting as long as possible to replace their servers because of capital constraints. Attempting to maintain an old server leads to poor server performance and reactive purchases.

When laying out the timeline to replace your server, another consideration is industry regulatory requirements that may put added constraints on your server lifespan. Continue to check on industry standard requirements and follow those guidelines in conjunction with your manufacturer’s warranty.

On the flip side, there is such a thing as replacing your server too soon. If you replace your server too early, you may not get the full return on your existing server investment.

The Cost of Servers

With such high costs of physical servers, companies should take the following costs into consideration.

First, there will always be a large, upfront purchase cost. If you have a professional Managed IT Services team, the upfront cost of a server should always be in the budget before the warranty end date. Budgeting this cost can help soften the blow when it comes time to purchase your new server.

Second, there is a set-up fee associated with a new server. We highly recommend hiring a professional to set-up your server so it will function exactly the way you intend it to. The set-up cost will likely vary depending on what roles you would like the server to take on. Some examples of what happens during server set-up are email hosting and backup and disaster recovery systems.

The third major cost is server warranty. Adding warranty to your server can come with a large price tag but could potentially save thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. There are varying levels of warranty that can be purchased for your server, and it’s important to find the one that best fits your company’s needs. Typical warranties include replacement parts and an onsite tech to replace those parts.

Other Considerations Before Replacing Your Server

How manageable will a server refresh be for your organization? Added expenses and additional planning are necessary when replacing your server that should be taken into consideration before making the leap.

Are you going to hire an IT consulting company to replace your old server and help you source a new server? What other ancillary expenses should you expect to encounter during the process?
Who’s going to manage your new server?
What will you do with your decommissioned server? Can you repurpose it from a front-line machine to a test server or development server? Will you try to include it in a trade-in program?

Options Outside of Physical Servers

After seeing the amount of money invested into physical servers, it’s shocking to know that many servers aren’t being used to their full potential. Some statistics even show that at any given time, the majority of servers are only using about 10% of their capacity. If your company has a 10% capacity server, it may be time to consider virtualization.

To put it simply, virtualization creates a virtual version of something instead of an actual, tangible version. Today, virtualization can be found in both the hardware and software applications within a company. To learn more about virtualization, view this video from VMWare.

Server virtualization became popular when managing on-premise servers became too cumbersome and expensive – monitoring and managing the server’s health status, expanding capacity when necessary, etc.

We hope this helped answer your question of, “How often should I replace my servers?” For more information on how Revolution Group has been helping companies source, replace, set-up, and decommission servers for over 20 years, please give us a call at 614-212-1111.

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