Servers don’t last forever…
Eventually hardware ages and software requirement increase.
Every business must upgrade its servers and other hardware.For many, once every two to four years is the average period of time between server refreshes, but some hold on to their aging equipment. The time a server refresh occurs can vary greatly depending several factors.
- circumstances of the business
- demands of the software running
- performance needs of a growing business
When to Upgrade?
Is Your Server So Old that It Should Be Carbon Dated?
Every business gets to that point where the server must be replaced.This is part of the server lifecycle. When a server goes from productive to nonproductive is a debatable subject, but you should begin planning for upgrades on servers that:
- Do not provide important features; like new memory types, processor extensions, power throttling or conversation features.
- Do not provide satisfactory workload performance. workload performance will typically degrade over time as more demanding application updates and patches combine with a growing user base. This results in slow speeds.
- Become unreliable or cannot be maintained. As systems age, the cost of parts can increase while the availability of parts decreases. Maintaining the system can become cost prohibitive compared to refreshing your hardware.
- Are out of computing resources. It may be possible to optimize the computing resources allocated to any underperforming workloads, or even perform workload balancing to move some workloads to other available servers (freeing resources for the remaining applications). But older servers that fall below minimum capabilities are prime candidates for upgrades.
- Can no longer support management initiatives. The end of the server lifecycle is inevitable, but the timing and urgency of those upgrades can vary dramatically depending on the size and needs of your business.
Hardware Upgrades: Server Refresh Options
Once you have determined that a server refresh is needed, it’s time to pick the best fit for your business for now only the present but also your future business goals. The upgrade process is a good time to review your current hardware. Does it still fit your needs with minimal component upgrades or is a completely new system needed? Are cloud or in-house virtualization an option? Now’s the time to take a look at every option prior to making any changes.
- Choosing a server-storage model that works for your infrastructure. While storage is an obvious checklist item during your upgrade process, it is vital to ensure your system can support newly added hard drives.These drives may not be compatible if not branded by your vendor. The use of cheaper drives may help the bottom line short term, but may also void a server warranty. Older systems may not need to take this into consideration as the warranty may have already run its course.
- Network considerations between servers. A faster internal network connection can work wonders if your server uses te network for any serious traffic. A 25+ Gigabit connection is becoming the new standard, as price continues to go down as adoption in its use continues to rise.
- Updating can be less effective than upgrading. As server architectures continue towards faster memory, embedded network port offering 25 Gigabit speeds, updating versus upgrading should be reviewed with care to avoid overpaying for a short term solution.
Software Upgrades: The refresh continues…
You’ve chosen the hardware adjustments for your server refresh, and it is time to look at the software.
Does your current operating system need to be upgraded? Or maybe you will be transitioning to a new one. Software and hardware should be reviewed together to ensure compatibility and proper performance needs are met between software requirements. This is also true for applications with volume licensing or that have newer versions available.
This is also a good time to build server monitoring software into the system’s budget or add in additional automation to the network. We recommendreviewingALL current software requirements as well as any possible additions that may be added at a later date. this allows for increased flexibility in the growth of the business without having to re-invest a large sum into the infrastructure. If your server is built with longevity in mind, you may have to plan for 4-6 years in the future.
Take you time a plan all options, then cut down to what you need. It is better to aim high and roll back, than to start slow andattempt to add additioanl infrastructure later.