Is it Time to Consider a New Server?

Is it time to consider a new server? One would think that this is an easy question to answer. However, given the long list of factors that should be considered and the ever changing landscape of hardware, this question needs a good bit of thought and some technical analysis. In fact, some organizations set a firm line in the sand with a 3-, 5-, or 7-year end-of-life hardware refresh cycle. IT standards are changing at the speed of light. The large majority of organizations have virtualized their server footprint, thus reducing the number of physical servers and the need to refresh as often.

If we were to peer into a crystal ball in the next 12 to 18 months, we may see the move to a completely software-defined data center. But before we get there, let’s try to answer the age-old question: When is a good time to replace a server?

IT leadership needs to consider the following when factoring a data center TCO:

  • Budgets/all costs associated with a refresh with new hardware
  • Capacity needs
  • Data center CAPEX vs. OPEX
  • Maintenance renewal fees and OEM support
  • Cost of network equip, DC racks and other physical equipment
  • Aging hardware break/fix costs
  • Legacy operating systems — i.e. Server 2003/Workloads
  • Application modernization, rationalization and consolidation

There is always a point at which holding on to a server becomes more costly than replacing it with a new one. Finding out exactly when that point comes requires a calculation that takes into account all capital and operational expenditures associated with owning and operating that server over time. The idea has held true that over time hardware gets better, more dense, and faster with more storage and processing power.

OEM’s know the challenges around the TCO model and have adjusted their sales approach. They are now building business cases and offering hardware refreshes with net new gear for costs the same or lower than maintenance renewals by discounting new hardware.

IT consultants can be a great resource for assisting in determining all of the above considerations. So once both short- and long-term goals are established your IT organization can move forward with not only a server refresh plan but an overall data center strategy that makes sense for your firm.