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How to Know the Right Time for a Hardware Refresh

No one likes to replace “what’s working” with new devices, even when the new device may be a shiny new “toy.” But how do you balance being financially responsibility with the need to be safe, secure, and productive?  Typically, industry experts and IT professionals will tell you that a “hardware refresh” should occur every three to five years – but that’s a big range for something that’s likely a big investment.

Refresh too early and you may be leaving valuable hardware life on the table… but refresh too late and you’re leaving your business vulnerable and employees less productive.  The first question you need to ask yourself is how critical is it for your business to be always up, running, and available?  If your clients rely on an always-available, partner you’re best served to replace hardware on the conservative end of that three-to-five-year window.

Another example of why you may be outpacing your current hardware is big data processing needs.  What are some other factors to consider?  Here are a few:

What Do You HAVE Now?
Make sure you audit your systems, from desktops to servers, to have a clear understanding of the specs of what you have now.  An audit that catalogues things like processing power, memory, I/O and bus speeds of your server hardware are all worthwhile tracking. Only when you know what you have can you gauge what additional computing power you need. Audits can even reveal when you can keep older servers and rely on updates versus a full replacement.

What Do You NEED Now?
Understanding your business’ needs including what’s needed to run all apps as well as your storage and processing requirements to is critical to know if you or your staff members are currently working below capacity.

Business Case
Is there a compelling case to be made for what you will gain through an upgrade? Will you be improving performance and productivity, protecting your environment more effectively, adding stability and reliability, preparing for advanced applications, or all of the above? Knowing what the hardware refresh will achieve will help you understand if the investment is worth the value received.

Maintenance Costs
Have you ever had a car in the shop more than your own garage?  It’s the same way with hardware – how much time are you spending fixing boxes versus putting them to work for you?  Maintenance has its own costs and as they say in sports, availability is a key ability.

When you consider the “total cost of ownership” of your hardware include the associated costs including power, cooling and networking. New hardware may actually be cheaper to run on a daily basis.

To Virtualize or Not to Virtualize
If you’re already virtualizing or considering it, it can help you run your hardware longer.  You may need more powerful hardware (including more memory and faster I/O and bus speeds). Highly virtualized environments can quickly become complex.

Upgrades Required?
Upgraded hardware may be a requirement to take full advantage of the very latest IT trends.

Make sure you understand no only what’s required today, but what major technology is coming down he pipe.  You don’t want to be the guy who buys multiple 32-bit machines a week before 64-bit is released.

We’d be happy to help you understand your options and whether now is the time for a hardware refresh or if you should wait.  If you need help, contact us at info@agilitysys.net. 




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