How often do you have to refresh or (replace) your server and workstations?


It is often we are asked, “How frequently do you have to replace our servers and workstations?” Unfortunately, there’s not a straightforward answer as the same rules do not apply in the case of a server as opposed to a workstation. 

The term for completely replacing all server/workstations or for that matter any electronic digital device is “refresh.” 

Some people interchangeably use an upgrade and refresh. In the case of the upgrade, you change components such as memory, hard drives for storage, graphic card, power supplies, and in some rare cases, motherboards and CPUs. Therefore, the upgrade is often performed more on workstations than servers. 

Of note: Most enterprises do a refresh every three years. This way, they keep up with the latest technologies, software applications, and operating systems. As well as, you have a manufacturer’s warranty as well as software support. The cost is part of their IT budget and it is written off.

If you do not want to refresh every three years, then you should consider the following conditions and situations for your next refresh: 

  • The hardware has reached its end-of-life (EOL), and no more support or parts are available.
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) warranties are expiring or expired. 
  • The performance is not meeting your operation’s requirements, and slowness affects your productivity.
  • Significant business expansion requires an overhaul in data storage devices and related capabilities.
  • System failure due to wrong parts or compatibilities issues with OS or other applications.

Line of Business Applications (LOB) such as accounting, medical, SQL-based programs, etc.

  • Security and compliance. Simply your server/workstations are not complying with security compliance such as HIPAA, PCI, etc. 
  • A virus has damaged the integrity of your server/workstation and is no longer safe to use.
  • It has been 6 or more years that you have owned the server/workstation.
  • It is more cost-effective to refresh than to upgrade. Or the money spent towards the upgrade can be invested in getting new equipment with a more extended warranty.
  • Reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your IT infrastructure. This could mean choosing to take your server to the cloud. Either in a colocation (a shared data center where you share servers alongside the other companies’ servers) or a hosted cloud environment such as Microsoft Azure. In this scenario, you do not have to pay an upfront cost to acquire the server, but you subscribe to a monthly subscription with one to three-year contracts. But the IT support costs for both on-premise and cloud-based servers remain the same.

It is an excellent policy to regularly audit all your network components and nodes. At least once a year. These should include:

  • Office computer devices
  • Office mobile devices
  • Peripheral devices, such as monitors, printers, and copiers
  • Network devices, including routers, switches, and network printers
  • Network infrastructures, like cabling and internet connection
  • Phones and VoIP
  • Backup System.

Also, you can include your licenses for antivirus, remote access such as VPN, Cybersecurity, contracts for internet, phone services, firewall, etc. 

During this inventory process, you come across many things that require attention. However, in many ways, they result in savings and better performance for your network and operation. 

Having a manufacturer’s extended warranty is crucial. Server components are hard to find, and they are expensive. You want to minimize the downtime. If the warranty is no longer offered, then it is a red flag that you need to replace your server. The same goes for an unsupported operating system. The server/workstation will not get any updates, which makes them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. 

Nowadays, no business can tolerate any kind of downtime. So it is imperative to figure out your tolerance for downtime and act according to your budget. If you have a mindset, do not fix it unless it is broken, which could become costly. Instead, it is a better policy to refresh regularly so it does not become a major headache and cost behemoth.

You can evaluate other options, such as finding out if your vendor’s line of business (LOB) software is hosted by them. Therefore,  no need to have an in-house server to run it. Use SharePoint or other applications such as Dropbox to share your data. Use Office 365 for your email. This way, you have more flexibility and lower IT costs. 

We will offer you the consultation necessary to make the right decision. Contact us at 818-501-2281 or for a free consultation. 

Posted in IT Blog