When Should I Replace My Server?

You’re driving down the road in your trusty car that you’ve had for years and everything seems fine. All of a sudden you hear a *Clunk!* and you pull off to the side of the road. Of course, this happens at the worst time possible when you’re late for an interview or a big business meeting.

You’re confused. You take good care of your car. You get the oil changed regularly and try to keep up with routine maintenance. What just happened? Your car, even if you take care of it, can still require that you replace parts beyond routine maintenance due to wear and tear and a material End-of-Life.

Similar to our cars, the technology that we use every single day to operate our business has an End-of-Life that is often much shorter than that of a car. Even the highest quality parts will begin to fail eventually and it’s very important to plan ahead for those unexpected “side of the road” situations.

"So when should I replace my server?” you’re asking.

Here are some situations which merit a conversation with your Managed Service Provider to answer that question:

1. When your server warranty is reaching the expiration date

 “What? I just bought this thing.” True, it feels I’m sure as though you just shelled out some money to get this new server installed. While that may be true it is important to save for those unexpected events and plan ahead for the replacement of the server.

 Most servers will last anywhere from 4-6 years depending on the environment they’re in, the workload placed on them, and other factors that impact aging material parts. There is a reason that most don’t have a warranty past 3 years and require a renewal if you do want to continue having a warranty placed on it for parts (which is always recommended.)

 What you can do about it today: Get in touch with your Managed Service Provider. They are IT professionals, know your network, and keep up on hardware changes, trends, and technology enhancements. They can help you to determine if extending the warranty or replacing the server makes more sense. This strategy helps you anticipate the expense, build it into your technology budget, and avoid any nasty financial surprises due to a part failure or when the time comes to replace the server.

2. When you’re looking at a new application

 Some organizations provide cloud-hosted solutions that you can take advantage of (still on a server – just hosted by the vendor). Others require an application be installed on your physical server have very specific requirements.

 What you can do about it today: If you’re looking at new applications, the best thing you can do is ask for a spec and install sheet from the vendor. After that, talk to your trusted IT Managed Service Provider and partner to evaluate and get a solution for you. This helps avoid any unanticipated, downtime, and frustration as you move to that new application. It may end up that you don’t need to purchase a new server at all.

3. When you’re looking at growth or more locations

 Growth and new locations usually means more employees, more load on the server, and more technical workings to get the best experience and productivity for your employees. Do you need a terminal server? Should more lines be run? Do we need more horsepower here?

 What you can do about it today: Your Managed Service Provider (MSP) is also your trusted business partner. They help maintain and secure your date while everything runs as smoothly as possible for you. It is recommended to get in touch with them or at least alert them as far in advance as possible of these expansions or moves. They should even be able to assist you with a move or setup of a new location.

4. If the software on your system has compatibility issues or your software has reached End-of-Life

 If you’ve got something that isn’t broken then why fix it? This is the mentality that most have for their Line of Business applications and server software. Which isn’t a problem until that software company catches up and cuts out support for an older system or Microsoft stops sending out patches resulting in security holes in your system. The great news is that server will go through a cycle or two before actually having to replace this software.

 What can you do about it today: Your IT partner should be working with you and having regular meetings (at least quarterly) to ensure you’re taken care of, up-to-date on any changes in the environment, and recommend projects to help you stay ahead. While you can replace software while your server is only 3 years old it may be recommended to update the software at the same time as the server to minimize downtime and save on budget. This is a conversation that the IT provider can answer with a brief conversation and a bit of research to get you the right solution.

5. You don’t have a server

 What? You don’t’ have a server? How do you do anything? This is the response regularly received; however, one may not always be necessary. With things evolving and new options being offered such as the Mode5 Cloud, it is becoming increasingly easy to find a solution that is an absolute fit and could be an alternative to purchasing a new server to replace an older one in the first place.

 What you can do today: Do your research, ask yourself what is most important to you, and figure out if this route could be a fit. Your MSP will be willing to explore those options with you and guide you to the appropriate decision. The Cloud is not for everyone and a server maybe more appropriate – but shouldn’t you at least know if it’s an option or a fit?

You’ve probably figured it out by now, but the moral of the story is to talk to your Managed Service Provider just like you would bring your car to a trusted mechanic. They’ll be able to diagnose, educate on what the solution is, and implement while keeping you and your budget in mind.

If you would like more information about Mode5, our IT Services, or to request a free assessment of how well your business's current IT solution meets the unique needs of your business, click here.

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