Keys to Hardware Management: The Hardware Refresh (Part 2 of 3)

In our most recent post, we introduced hardware upgrades and refreshes and discussed situations that would call for one versus the other. In the second post of this 3-part series, our experts weigh in on the most effective way to go about planning and executing a hardware refresh once you’ve decided that is the route for you.

Why a hardware refresh?

As a quick refresher (pun intended!), there are a few situations in which a hardware refresh would be preferable to an upgrade:

    Outdated hardware: Sometimes, hardware simply reaches a milestone where it is no longer supported by the OEM or third party providers or is so badly outdated that it just needs to be replaced.

    Data storage increases: Just as most people don’t keep smartphones or tablets around for more than a few years due to the quickly evolving technology, rapid refresh cycles are required in data centers. A refresh will be necessary if you find your servers simply cannot hold the amount of data you need to build your business around understanding the whims of your customers down to the smallest detail.

    Industry Compliance: Auditors can and will fine companies for failing to update unsupported systems, particularly in some industries that have tight data security regulations. While refreshes are typically more expensive than refreshes, if a refresh prevents you from costly compliance audit fines, then your decision is easy.

Benefits of a Refresh

There area number of benefits that come along with having the latest and greatest equipment. The first is cost savings; while many focus on the expense of upgrading, newer equipment consumers less energy, which results in lower operating expenses, including power, cooling and networking. Along these lines, newer systems tend to be more user-friendly and have fewer glitches, which improves the efficiency of IT workers. Second, the newer the hardware, the tighter the security: updated datacenters come with more cohesive structures, meaning less holes and vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of. Lastly, new equipment tends to have less system downtime as a result of their fewer glitches, bugs, and vulnerabilities.

Planning for a Refresh

Our resident experts weighed in on a few key steps when planning your hardware refresh:

    Re-evaluate Server Options
    First and foremost, it is important to address the question(s): should you maintain your own data center? Split servers between your own premises and the cloud? Outsource your servers entirely? These choices will have a huge impact on how your IT department plans and structures a refresh, so it’s important to always be thinking “is what worked in the past going to be the best option in the future?”

    Conduct a Physical and Network-Based Analysis
    Many companies think to do a network analysis, but not all have someone do a physical site audit as well. We have heard of data centers with hundreds of servers turned on but not connected to anything – only a physical audit will catch costly issues like this!

    Look for Redundancies
    Do you have unnecessary hardware? Or data centers that could be moved to the close for lower cost? If you haven’t done an extensive audit of your servers recently, this is a must. Once you have audited servers and removed any redundancies, you will be in a great position to replace your outdated hardware with the latest and greatest technology, bolstered by a more efficient structure.

Still have more questions? Contact us to have a conversation about your particular situation and/or upcoming refresh.