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How a Server Update Can Save You Money

3 Aug 2017 by Jillian Sloan

Technology upgrades, such as a new operating system or cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) release, can be exciting. Even a software update can inspire anticipation because we know we have something to gain, whether it’s a security patch or a new feature to help us achieve something we couldn’t do before. But the upgrade that is most often delayed or undervalued is arguably the most critical to your company: a server refresh.

Your business success depends on the performance of your IT and data infrastructure. IT teams should have a plan for a server refresh as part of managing the IT lifecycle. Nonetheless, many organizations delay a server update, deterred by the capital expenditures (CapEx), time and resources needed for such an undertaking.

When done strategically, however, upgrading your server infrastructure can result in major benefits for your company — and ultimately cut costs.

The importance of regular server updates

Your servers are the invisible backbone of your business. To maintain a competitive edge, your business needs an IT infrastructure that can be nimble and efficient and capable of handling increased workloads. Outdated infrastructure could be holding you back, requiring extra IT support, incurring unexpected maintenance costs or failing to meet business objectives.

Still, companies may choose to defer a complete update to avoid upfront costs. Maintenance for aging systems may save money in the short term, but July 2016 research analysis by IDC revealed greater economic benefit of regularly scheduled server refreshes over the risks of delaying. Server performance continues to decline over time, resulting in additional hours of unplanned downtime, increased annual costs for support and reduced employee productivity.

Sever performance drops to 41% once it reaches year seven while maintenance costs increase from $4,200 in year one to $17,000 in year seven.
Figure 1

Figure 1 shows year-to-year changes in server performance for invested costs. As the years progress in a server’s life, maintenance costs rise while performance deteriorates.

“By neglecting to upgrade their server infrastructure in a timely fashion, IT organizations can lose up to 39% of peak performance and add up to 40% in application management costs, and up to 148% in server administration costs,” according to the IDC report.

Greater demands push aging infrastructure to grow and scale with more applications stacked on. The result is unreliable service quality that fails to meet user expectations.

A complete and regularly scheduled server refresh, however, ultimately reduces operational costs with superior server performance, greater efficiency and consolidation, advanced security and improved reliability.

When to make the case for a server refresh

Many variables affect the appropriate time for a server refresh. Ad hoc server updates become necessary when events such as an operating system upgrade, data center consolidation or expansion occur — or in the unfortunate case of hardware failure. Organizations may also plan an update in order to leverage integrated systems, such as converged or hyperconverged infrastructure.

Keep in mind, as management and operational costs rise with delaying a refresh, this is also the case with ad hoc environments. Combining new data center components with aging assets creates potential for compatibility issues.

The best scenario is, of course, a scheduled refresh determined by a specified lifecycle or the end of a warranty contract. Depending on the server classification and use, a refresh is necessary about every three to five years. According to IDC, “Server performance erodes on average by 14% annually so that by the fifth year in, it has 40% of the performance as when it was new.”

When building a business case for a server refresh, consider these key elements:

  • Operational and maintenance costs for legacy hardware vs. a refresh
  • Consolidation opportunities
  • The impact of disruptive technologies
  • Company trajectory and requirements for High-Performance Computing (HPC)

Once you’ve convinced stakeholders of the value of a server refresh, you’ll need to decide which server option will best fit your company’s current and future needs.

A server to power your IT transformation

In addition to analyzing current and future business needs, you’ll need to be aware of emerging disruptive technologies.

In May 2017, Dell EMC introduced its 14th-generation PowerEdge servers. Designed to future-proof your data center and drive IT transformation, the new servers are capable of scaling efficiently with flexible configurations and advanced connectivity options. In response to increasing demand for HPC, these servers are equipped with next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors for enhanced compute, network and storage capabilities.

According to Dell EMC, the “Dell EMC PowerEdge 14G with OpenManage Enterprise unifies the server management experience and provides full data center monitoring. Dell EMC OpenManage Enterprise is a new virtualized enterprise system management console with application plug-ins, an easy-to-use interface and customizable reporting.”

The servers support traditional applications, virtualization and cloud-native workloads. Hybrid IT environments especially excel with vast automation and proactive features for operations and support.

The new server portfolio also minimizes IT challenges with features such as:

  • Scalable business architecture that can adapt to variable workload demands
  • Remote deployment and intelligent automation for lifetime management
  • Built-in analytics and support
  • Integrated security in the server hardware and firmware

A refresh with Dell EMC PowerEdge servers essentially pays for itself through improved performance and greater business agility. With reliable, high-performing servers, IT teams are freed from maintenance tasks and can focus on strategic innovation to drive the company’s competitive edge in a digital world.

If you’re wondering if it’s time for a server refresh for your company, or you’re searching for other ways to improve your IT infrastructure to boost overall performance, Insight has created a free assessment to help you find opportunities for improvement. Answer a few short questions on our lifecycle services selector to learn whether you’re procuring, configuring and maintaining your technology as efficiently as possible.

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