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Will I Have to Replace My Server in Six Months

Once you've determined that your business needs a server, you may find yourself concerned that you’ll have to replace it in six months.  Continue reading to get a better understanding of your server’s life expectancy.

Server Life Expectancy

Once you've determined that your business needs a server  and you've started researching how much it will all cost, you may find yourself concerned with the prospect of having to replace your new server in six months or so.

Before investing in a new server, you need to consider its applications, storage, processor, and form factor, as well as the server's life expectancy and ROI to help make sure you get off to the right start.

How Long Will My Server Last?

As with many purchases, in general you get what you pay for when buying a server. While a server purchased or acquired on a tight budget may only meet the needs of your business for a limited time or may become obsolete quicker than expected, the good news is that since servers are typically configured with built-in redundancy and high-quality, enterprise-grade components, in most cases you can expect your server to last much longer than six months.

Some servers can keep running smoothly up to a decade or longer, especially if they're used in less-demanding roles or if they support only a limited number of users. However, the more realistic time frame for the life expectancy of a server is between three and five years. There are several key reasons to consider either replacing your server or transitioning it to handle less mission-critical tasks as it gets closer to four or five years of age.

When Should I Replace My Server?

How will you know when it's time to replace your server? Ideally, you'll replace your server before it ever has a chance to break down, as most business can ill afford the downtime that comes from having a mission-critical server fail.  For this reason, servers are typically replaced when the server service contract expires or when the cost-to-performance ratio gets too high.

Service Contract Expiration

The purchase of a server typically includes a limited-period service contract through either the server vendor or a third-party service.  Once this service contract is up it typically becomes very expensive to extend or add a new service contract – it's not uncommon for a 1-year contract extension in year 5 or 6 of the server's life to cost close to half what a new server would cost.  As a result, when a company's vendor service contract expires, most businesses either replace the server or transition it to handle tasks that aren't as critical to the ongoing operation of the business.

Cost-to-Performance Ratio

Cost-to-Performance Ratio

The costs associated with your server's ongoing maintenance as well as employee productivity need to be weighed against the server's ability to perform its tasks efficiently and effectively. 

Once you start to see performance degradation in your server or when components start to show signs of wearing down, you can expect increased costs to your business resulting from employees accomplishing less work or taking more time to get their work done as well as additional repair and maintenance expenses related to the ongoing operation of the server.  As a result, a significant increase in the server’s cost-to-performance ratio is often a key impetus for its replacement.

Summary: Server Replacement Options

If you can gain performance benefits and/or cost efficiency by purchasing a new server, of if the likelihood of failure and risk of downtime becomes too great, you'll know it's time to replace your server. While hardware parts can fail at any time, with the higher-quality components used in servers as well as the built-in redundancy for fail proof operation, in most cases you can expect your new server to last much longer than six months.

Before investing in a new server, you need to consider its applications, storage, processor, and form factor, as well as the server's life expectancy and ROI. 

Congratulations! Now you understand how long your server will last and whether or not you'll need to replace it in six months.

This article was originally published on April 07, 2011

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