When is the right time to replace servers?

Everyone wants and needs to extract every last £ of capital investment, that’s the right thing to do. So when is the right time to replace the company server?

When it stops working?

Let’s stop for a moment and think what that means……..

A server is powerful computer, but like all electronic and mechanical equipment at some point it will fail. It isn’t anyone’s fault, not yours, not ours; computers just do that, just like light bulbs blow and old cars, they break down.

You put a call into Arnclan and this time it isn’t just a power cut over the weekend. The server just won’t start.

The realities are:

  • If you don’t replace your server whilst it is still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed.
  • As the server gets older……the day that it will let you down gets closer.
  • Just like the light bulb, where life expectancy is often written on the packaging, a server’s life expectancy is not a secret; 5 years is typical, but from experience, we’d say closer to 4 years if hard disks aren’t duplicated (with SAS or SCSI).

So what happens when it fails?

Of course, we will sympathise. We always do our best to get hold of replacement parts (most likely available on next day delivery), reload the operating system (about half a day’s work) reinstall your business application software (say, another half a day’s work) and finally restore backup data (which, of course, could be from the night before the failure).

It is an emotional time, we’ve been through it with new customers many times. It is worth repeating the obvious, because you definitely don’t want to be in this position

If your server isn’t replaced whilst still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed.

Can this scenario be avoided?

Yes, absolutely it can. The scenario described is the inevitable outcome of not making a conscious decision to replace a server before it fails.

Adopt a strategy to replace ageing equipment before it fails in service.

On the one hand, in the current economic climate, you want to squeeze every last bang out of your hardware buck. On the other, the cost of downtime (potentially 3 days of it) that will result from a server failure could have a dramatic effect on your company’s bottom line.

So in the absence of a crystal ball, when is the right time to pull the plug on the company’s existing server?

The answer is server life-cycle management

There are many different approaches to managing hardware life cycle, taking account of company size, number of offices, financial priorities, but the most import thing about a life-cycle plan is to have one!

Many large corporations, for example, make decisions about how long computer hardware will last at the time of purchase. By specifying this from the beginning these companies are able to:

  • Budget for acquiring new systems at that time
  • Plan to evaluate the systems prior to that time
  • Analyse what condition they’re in
  • If necessary, for financial reasons, take steps to extend their useful life by replacing or upgrading components

In the absence of an existing life-cycle plan we suggest that 4 years is a reasonable life expectancy for your server. To run it past 4 years without replacing, at least, the hard disks, your company runs an ever increasing risk of inevitable server failure.

We would very much like to help you avoid this scenario

Hence this post, because we never enjoy these situations either.

The very last thing people think about is prevention, urgent things have a habit of getting in the way of the important. But why not let us do all the planning for you? That’s what we’re here for.

Drop us a note and we’ll be delighted to put forward a range of options. If you don’t do it now…..


  1. Thanks for your nice experience to share with us. Really awesome article with plenty of informative things to be known for us.

  2. David says:

    My name is David and I work with Dell OEM. Server lifecycle management will save companies a lot of money and headache. The trick is to plan it out according to the needs of your company. It will be a win win situation in the end.

    Great article! Thanks for posting.

Speak Your Mind