When planning an IT budget, one of the biggest expenses a company will see is maintaining equipment. All data center companies should have a written hardware refresh policy that lays out a time frame in which to replace old equipment.
Most of the time, equipment should last anywhere from three to five years before it needs replacing. If it is used beyond the standard refresh cycles, it can result in some serious problems for the IT staff and the company.
Below is a list the most common issues that are caused by outdated computer equipment, and what impact it could have in the coming year.
Unexpected Hardware Outages
The biggest issue that you’ll face when you are using outdated hardware in your data center is unplanned hardware outages. All computer equipment has an expected usable life before the failure rate begins significantly increasing.
Companies that are running equipment that is older than 3-5 years are going to experience much higher failure rates. In many cases, hardware failures can cause major outages without any warning. This can have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line and their ability to serve customers.
Following a set hardware refresh schedule will ensure all your hardware is still well-within its expected lifespan. While hardware outages are always a possibility, it is less likely that they will occur during first 5-year period.
Out of Warranty
New hardware will almost always come with a warranty from the manufacturer. In the event that anything fails, it will be replaced free of charge. Depending on how the purchase agreement and warranty is written, it will also cover same-day delivery and installation of any parts that are required.
This can help to dramatically reduce the costs associated with any hardware issues that may arise. It can also help to ensure any outages that do happen will last for as little time as possible. The manufacturer will either send out a technician to fix it, or get the part to your technicians as quickly as possible to meet the warranty obligations.
Advancements in technology don’t just make computers faster and more powerful, but also efficient. Keeping up with the latest equipment will help ensure your data center is operating at a maximized performance.
In addition to benefits from more advanced power reduction technologies, your equipment will also be operating at peak efficiency while it is newer. As hardware ages, it becomes less and less efficient. This can happen as fans wear out, collection of dust, and other issues associated with hardware getting older.
While this type of thing may not be a huge concern when talking about individual PCs or even servers, it can add up to huge savings in energy usage when looking at an entire data center.
Unable to Meet Minimum Requirements for Software
When buying new software for a company, or upgrading existing software, there will be a set of minimum hardware requirements to run. If your data center is filled with outdated hardware, it is very likely that you will run into issues where the software you need won’t run on the hardware you have.
Even more commonly, you will have hardware that will meet the minimum requirements for the software, but not by much. The minimum requirements listed are rarely good enough to operate software on any type of enterprise level without serious problems.
Keeping your hardware up to date will ensure you don’t have to worry about this type of thing for most software packages.
Unsupported by Vendors & Suppliers
Both hardware and software vendors have limits on how much support they will provide for their equipment or applications. If your hardware does not meet the supported levels, these vendors and suppliers will be unwilling or unable to help with troubleshooting when you are running into issues.
Even in cases where the vendors and suppliers will be willing to help troubleshoot, they often charge extra when working on outdated equipment. They may charge for extended coverage or have a high hourly rate when working on this type of thing. Regardless of the details, you will almost always end up paying significantly more for the technical help that is needed when there are issues on old equipment.
More Headaches to Come
These just a few of the many issues that companies experience when they don’t keep up with standard hardware refresh strategies. While it can be tempting to put off new hardware purchases, in the end it is most cost efficient to continually update and replace your equipment.