When Should You Upgrade Your Servers?

Server-upgrade

Small- and medium-sized businesses are under constant pressure to do more with less, which is why so many of them needlessly struggle with servers well past their primes. Many assume that sticking with the same hardware for years helps them reduce IT spending, but this actually has the opposite effect.

A report from data analysis firm IDC found that companies that hold off on server upgrades experience a 39% drop in server performance and a 148% increase in administration costs. Furthermore, older servers are prone to breaking under pressure, which puts your business at risk of downtime.

Long story short: Knowing when you should upgrade your servers is crucial to your success.

Systems are processing at a snail’s pace

Poor performance is a tell-tale sign that a computer is on its last legs. Slow or frequently crashing applications indicate that your servers may be lacking disk space, processors could be overburdened, or hardware components have gradually degraded over time.

Studies show that server performance declines by 14% annually, which means you need to constantly monitor your infrastructure. The best way to determine if a replacement is needed is; to use monitoring tools to assess the health of your servers. Generally, if CPU and storage usage are at or below 70%, it’s time to upgrade.

Servers are out of warranty

On average, warranties last for about three to five years, after which the manufacturer is no longer responsible for providing server support. Should an old server break down; there’s no guarantee that they will have any spare parts in stock, and even if they do, you may have to pay a higher price.

Aside from this, servers over five years old are at greater risk of breaking down. Experts’ estimates indicate companies that continue to use servers beyond their optimal life span experience over five hours of unplanned downtime throughout the year, which doesn’t like much, but can significantly affect employee productivity and revenues, and not in a good way.

Reports have also found that due to increased likelihood of downtime and fewer technicians specialising in legacy systems, maintenance costs can increase 200% by the fifth year of the server’s lifecycle.

Ultimately, buying a new server and getting a new service warranty is more economical than trying to prolong the life of a legacy system.

New apps require beefier specs

If you plan on using resource-intensive applications like Microsoft Dynamics ERP or video editing software; your server specs need to be more powerful. That’s because software apps that place higher demands on a server’s processing power may not load properly if the hardware is not up to spec.

This problem can be exacerbated if the server also runs other mission-critical functions like email, website hosting, and cybersecurity appliances.

Before installing your software, check its hardware requirements and make sure you’ve got enough under the hood. If your servers fall short in terms of RAM, processing, and storage; ask your managed services provider (MSP) to either upgrade these components or replace the server completely.

Power and cooling costs are out of control

Legacy servers waste a lot of energy, and given how stressed they become by large workloads; they are prone to overheating. This means powering and cooling your server room becomes more expensive every month; and is why you’ll want to find more cost-efficient alternatives.

For example, cutting-edge servers, like those offered by Dell; sport better DC voltage regulators, processors that consume less power, and more powerful cooling fans. Newer operating systems like Windows Server 2012 R2; also come with dynamic power settings that automatically scale energy consumption up or down based on workload demands.

Security is a concern

Refusing to retire ageing servers; leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks because hackers have had more time to learn how to break past the safeguards. Servers with Windows Server 2003, for instance, are no longer receiving security patches, and are completely vulnerable to modern-day intrusions.

What’s more, finding compatible firmware updates gets harder and more time-consuming the older your server becomes; forcing you to create sub-optimal solutions for easily fixable security problems.

To avoid this; purchase MSP-supported servers that come with up-to-date firmware and patches as soon as your machines become vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.

Are you ready to upgrade?

Remember, a server that appears to be working fine is not the same as a server that is running optimally. It therefore pays to diligently monitor your servers’ health and always be mindful of expenses associated with maintaining them. If you think upgrading your servers can eliminate performance bottlenecks, guarantee security, and save you money, then talk to Empower IT.

When you consult with us, we thoroughly assess your servers and recommend upgrades that can positively affect your performance and bottom line. Call us now to discuss your upgrade options.