How often should you replace your servers?

29 January 2013

How often should you replace your servers?

When a client buys a new server, we are often asked ‘How long will my new server last’? It’s a good question when you think about it, especially when you consider how frequently a rental company will replace their own assets. For example, a piece of plant machinery with average utilisation may be replaced roughly every 5 years or so.

So when a company buys a new server that runs their mission critical hire management software, it is all too often expected to operate relentlessly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without fail!

We suggest that business owners or IT managers ask themselves these simple questions:

  • What effect would a server failure have on your hire business?
  • Can you afford to be without your server for an hour, a day, a week or even a month?
  • Would you know where all your rental assets are without it?

So why do rental businesses put investment in their IT hardware at the bottom of the agenda? Older servers are more prone to fail as they degrade over time. You are more likely to see failures of the typical server components like CPU fans, power supplies and hard disks.

Fortunately, modern computers are very reliable these days and often run fault free for many years. With the perception of IT being a mine field and business owners often working with the mindset ‘if it ain't broke don't fix it’, then it’s hardly surprising that decisions to replace machines are delayed beyond what might be considered a reasonable timeframe.

Generally, the IT industry advises that you should write off your servers every 3-5 years, either by replacing them physically or by moving to a leased/hosted solution.

At the end of the day, every rental company is different. With new advances in technology, there is no reason why anyone should have to run a business with old and unreliable equipment. There are many alternative options such as cloud computing or server virtualisation which reduce or eliminate the need for large upfront costs and can enable a business to continue to grow.

So the choice is yours but doing nothing is not an option!

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