How Long Do Servers Serve?
Planned obsolescence exists, but sometimes it’s not the planned obsolescence but simply advancements in the IT field that cause us to want to upgrade to newer-generation servers. They offer improved quality of service at an increased speed. They can be cost-efficient, lowering OpEx.
Just because more advanced IT hardware exists, however, doesn’t mean that you have to give up a perfectly well-functioning server, no matter what an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) says. Each data center manager needs to do what is best for the situation at hand, taking into account the needs of the users, how well the hardware is performing, and budget considerations. If monies could be better used for other projects, is it the best use of funds to replace working net gear?
Curvature conducted a LinkedIn survey, asking if people agreed that servers were intended to last 6 – 10 years. The responses were varied:
Some disagreed, noting that “servers built on a budget age more quickly than well-planned servers,” and wondering “What sort of productivity is lost in holding onto aged servers?” One responder clearly stated, “You should replace your hardware between 3 – 5 years to renew your productive software environment.”
On the other side, however, we heard that servers lasting 6 – 10 years was a “great concept. I think businesses should make a decision to upgrade their servers based on their applications and how they meet their business requirements.” This seems more than reasonable.
We also heard that “virtualization has changed my views on server longevity. Plan your platform to survive the failure of every possible element and buy quality equipment secondhand at a fraction of retail.” That seems intelligent to us since we sell preowned hardware.
Germane to this conversation is the lingering question: How long do servers actually last?
Is a 3-5 Year Cycle for Hardware a Fact or a Myth?
The truth is that servers last a lot longer than you might think. A server refresh period is often understood to be the warranty/maintenance timetable dictated by the OEM, which is typically 3-5 years. According to a leading analyst firm’s report, though, the potential lifespan of servers is between 7-10 years (typically 6 years for rack servers and up to 10 years for integrated systems), “up to three times longer than the typical replacement cycle for servers and storage arrays.”
The difference between what an OEM suggests and what a leading analyst reports can make a huge impact on an organization’s downtime, costs, and ROI. Yes, it takes time to replace IT equipment and infrastructure has to come down during that time. Replacing equipment that is perfectly functional has a company investing money that could be better spent elsewhere. The return on your investment increases when you keep your still-working hardware longer than originally anticipated.
Hold Onto Your Servers
OEMs introduce new technological innovations regularly, but you need to consider if the cost of a refresh or upgrade is in your best interest. While servers do have a legitimate end-of-life date, the time does not need to be determined by OEMs. Consistent maintenance can extend the life of last-generation hardware for the benefit of your data center and your organization. Pre-owned and refurbished servers and other hardware can continue their life cycle long past the suggested time of 3, 5, or 10 years.
Eventually, all things come to an end, and IT equipment does need to be upgraded or replaced. Whether you need to refurbish or replace a single asset or multiple pieces of hardware, Curvature has options for you and saves you 65 – 85% over manufacturers’ costs. You find both new and pre-owned equipment at a fraction of OEM prices with us.