Old network and servers may seem reliable, but the “they don’t make it like they used to” philosophy does not apply well to computers and technology. I will touch on a few areas of importance to consider if your small business is operating on a server that is more than three years old.
The performance of the equipment is the most notable factor. An older server is equipped with older technology. Significant gains in data access and task processing can be had by upgrading the server hardware, and efficiency gains in newer Operating System design will provide additional enhancements at the software level.
Computer warranties will generally extend for three years – there is a reason for this. Once devices reach a certain age their failure becomes more predictable. This is especially true for Hard Drives and Power Supplies, which – along with the cooling fans – are the only moving parts. Having old server hardware means there is a higher chance of failure of one of the components, and a higher risk of down-time or even a disaster-recovery scenario.
Old server hardware is lacking in a lot of technology advancements that have really opened the doors for new improvements that re-shape the way the technology is utilized, increasing the power of hardware exponentially with features like hypervisors and virtualization, which allows for the operation of several “virtual” servers that tasks can be split-out to, maximizing it’s potential and available resources. It also provides for incredibly fast maintenance, since system reboots of a virtual machine do not require re-initialization of the hardware, which slows down the loading time. An older server may not be capable of virtualization, and the reboot times for the operating system can be as much as thirty minutes or longer.
The time is 3:00 AM. You are fast asleep – then the phone rings. “Hello?” you say. “Server is down,” you hear through the tiny (and tinny) cellular phone speaker. This means one of two things: You will either have a very bad morning in a few hours when you have to go fix it, or you are going to have a very bad morning starting immediately when you have to go fix it (more often the latter, of course.) Why must we suffer so?
Well, for several years we haven’t had to, but not everyone realizes this yet. For a relatively cheap investment that easily covers its return after the first server-down scenario, a remote access card can be included with your server that allows for offline-servicing and direct console and KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) connection to a server that is either in an offline or “hung” state. This offers several advantages in the world of IT. An entire infrastructure can be deployed by an expert from anywhere in the globe starting from the ground-up with the operating system install. A server that needs you to press the “F1” key during a reboot because of a failed component can be brought online by the technician on-call before the official start of the business day even draws near.
Not sold yet? Imagine what the means if you outsource your IT support – response times can be greatly reduced because blocks of time do not need to be set aside for the dispatch. Travel & boarding costs are reduced tremendously or eliminated entirely.
Look for integrated baseboard management and lights-out cards from server manufacturers such as HP, Dell and IBM.
- by Jon, "GingerSnap", Pentecost
With the advancement of multi-core processors, hot-swappable RAM and hard drives, the server you buy today may last into the year 2020 or beyond. So says the article written by Paul Venezia for InfoWorld. Paul talks in his article about using virtualization in order to host multiple servers on one piece of hardware, which will cut down on the number of physical servers you will need and all the cost savings that go along with it (less power needed and less heat generated, increasing a server’s lifespan).
Paul also talks about how cheap servers have become, sighting Dell’s “My First Server” as having a quad-core processor option and another only costing $299 for 2.26 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB RAM. With prices like these and the cost savings stated above, why wouldn’t you want to replace a number of your aging servers with a single hardware box that can support multiple virtual servers and still provide a speed boost?
Another article from InfoWorld, indicates that a new processor from Intel is due out in the first half of this year that boasts 10 cores. Can you imagine having that in your new virtual server – a 10-core processor? You could assign one core to 9 virtual servers and get rid of 9 physical boxes. Imagine the cost savings in your Data Center from only running one server, rather than 10. Even if you are a small business and only have a small handful of servers (say 4 servers), you could assign two cores to each one and still have two cores left over for the physical server.
Are you interested in replacing some of your aging physical servers with one virtual server? Talk with our IT Strategy Specialists at Trigon Technology who can talk with you about our Data Center IT Solutions. Or contact us about our Small Business IT Solutions that can move some or all of your older servers into a single physical box and greatly reduce your IT overhead.