Making the Case for Shorter Hardware Refresh Cycles

Written by Alexander Shapero on Jan 31, 2018

Establishing a solid hardware refresh cycle strategy has always been a tough feat. Not long ago, it was common practice to follow a five to eight year refresh cycle. Even with that seemingly simple guideline, companies faced two critical challenges. If they replaced servers too soon, they were wasting precious cash. If they waited too long, they would potentially be putting the future of the entire business at stake on aging and inadequate infrastructure. Yet, businesses need to take new approaches to their hardware refresh strategies if they want to survive in  today’s hyper-competitive, cloudy and mobile world with shrinking IT budgets. To do so, shorter hardware refresh cycles have now become essential.

Agility, elasticity and automation dominate

Think about it this way: people today expect on-demand access from any location or device. If you can’t provide this basic requirement, your users will voice their frustrations to whoever will listen (including management!). Infrastructure of yore was simply not designed to handle the demands of end users who are accessing cloud and mobile applications and data. These demands are also changing at lightning speed, requiring the underlying infrastructure to be more agile, elastic and automated than ever before.

Benefits of shorter hardware refresh cycles

In a study of mid to large enterprises conducted last year by IDC, it was found that that companies that refresh their hardware more frequently were able to reduce operating costs, increase revenue and accommodate new technologies with more efficiency. In other words, the investment in new servers pays off in today’s rapidly changing technology landscape. Let’s take a deeper dive into the report.

  • Operations: By deploying new x86 servers that are more efficient, reliable and cost-effective, companies were able to reduce operational costs by 59 percent over a three-year period. On a per-server basis, that amounts to $76K in cost savings.  Companies were also able to reduce their maintenance, power and facilities costs by 61 percent after a server refresh.
  • Maintenance: As servers age, they become more expensive to maintain. For instance, a server in the sixth year of its lifespan costs 181 percent more to maintain than in the first year.
  • IT Staff: A server upgrade enabled companies to reduce IT staff time and costs to manage and support servers by 59 percent over three years. This is a result of new management features, faster deployment times, easier configuration and better overall performance.
  • Productivity: New, more powerful and efficient servers reduced unplanned application downtime by 78 percent. This is driven by more granular management controls, automated patching and updating capabilities, and increased support for new applications.
  • Business: After a server refresh, businesses were able to become more agile, improve performance and drive new revenue streams. In other words, instead of fighting fires on old servers, they were able to leverage more powerful and efficient infrastructure, and innovate to stay competitive.

Accelerate your hardware refresh cycle in the cloud

You might be asking yourself: “While that sounds great on paper, what if I don’t have the budget to buy new servers to begin with?” Enter the cloud. Modern and efficient infrastructure is what major cloud providers like Google Cloud specialize in, so you can simplify and shorten your hardware refresh cycle by leveraging their state-of-the-art data centers and network. In other words, your critical business workloads could be running on the most up-to-date, efficient, powerful and secure infrastructure available today, and at a fraction of the cost if you were implementing it on-premises. By using a cloud migration, automation and orchestration platform like itopia’s Cloud Automation Stack (CAS), you can easily deploy and manage your production workloads on cloud infrastructure through a single pane-of-glass. Further, with the granular and automated Server Uptime Scheduling capabilities in CAS you can spin servers up and down on an as needed basis.

In the end, getting new products and services to market faster is imperative in today’s rapidly changing technology landscape. If you don’t have the latest and greatest infrastructure to support new cloud, mobile, IoT, big data and intelligent workloads, you will fall behind your competitors — that’s just a fact. By leveraging the cloud and its state-of-the-art data centers and pay-for-what-you-use pricing, you can eliminate both capital and operational expenses. Furthermore, your hardware refresh strategy will be much simpler to execute. As we all know, servers aren’t cheap, so moving to the cloud with an automation and orchestration platform to manage your IT environment will inevitably save you money. More important, it will free up time to work on more strategic projects that will drive innovation and revenue growth in the super competitive world we live in today.

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