3 Steps for an update-free COVID-recovery period

Park Place Technologies

Paul Mercina April 13, 2021

We witnessed unprecedented events in recent times. As the world cautiously emerges out of the pandemic, the financial legacy and remediation burdens left by Covid-19 will stay with us for many years to come. The pace of recovery is also uncertain or what recovery will mean for growth planning and bounce-back expansion. In the pandemic, IT helped organizations morph in the face of extreme adversity, enabling remote working and fast adoption of digital business. In doing so, we spent significantly more IT budget than predicted and the knock-on impact will be felt in future monetary planning for the next few years. Short-term, savvy IT leads are examining their usual spends with a view to stretching budgets without impact to the digital gains made in extra-ordinary circumstances of 2020. It’s worth examining if your IT can survive the next 12 months avoiding significant refreshes and upgrades. At Park Place Technologies, we suggest three steps that will help you achieve an upgrade-free recovery period, giving you a window to focus on the next essential stages of digitalization and to re-energize your budgets.

Your users will have already successfully migrated and been secured onto remote working platforms as part of the ‘new norm’, so it’s time to turn your attention back to the data center space. Start planning now to prevent unpleasant surprises later in 2021. Begin by checking impending server and storage hardware end of support dates (EoSL), keeping in mind that continued supply chain interruptions – especially to chips- are predicted for the foreseeable future. If your estate has become incredibly complex within the pandemic and includes significant volumes of edge devices scattered across geos, you may require third party assistance via a hosted asset management service to deliver accurate, holistic results on what is approaching EoSL along with knowledge on the state of health for all devices.

Once you have assessed your infrastructure and determined essential assets due for upgrade, you can begin to consider your options in detail. Not every piece of hardware that falls within the refresh timescale needs fresh acquisition because of a pre-assigned vendor date stamp. Broadly, we recommend three considerations to help make hardware refresh decisions:

  1. Where possible, leave what you have working well without intervention – sounds straightforward, but how do you orchestrate that?

Our first recommendation on leaving without intervention is to avoid BIOS updates on hardware both for servers and storage, unless deemed essential. Conducting a BIOS update is no trivial matter, so if the BIOS is stable, then leave it functioning. A second tip:   servers and storage that are approaching end of life (EOSL) within a year , question whether replacement is essential.  A lifecycle survey done by a leading analyst firm a few years ago highlighted that even in ordinary times, normal usage can be extended to  5 years, and that just under half (47%) of all organizations already extend server lifespan for four years or more. So, go ahead and rank how critical each piece of hardware is in the server room and apply the 80/20 rule. If 20% of your applications supported by the hardware are deemed Tier One critical, then they deserve access to latest hardware. The remaining 80% can be extended, taking advantage of a maintenance contract delivered by a reputable TPM.

2. Decrease costs now by combining support from OEMs with TPMs to achieve greater options for flexibility, agility and cost savings.

IT budgets are set to look increasingly stretched, so consider how much is being paid for post-purchase support and to seek big savings and compelling OpEx relief through a hybrid maintenance model. Indeed, 59% of top Fortune global customers already made this consideration for some assets in brighter economic times. What appears beneficial to these global enterprises translates just as efficiently to smaller data centers. In short, analysts say a 60% average saving can be achieved on IT maintenance. Blending third party support into your maintenance strategy also allows you to access the secondary market hardware and managed spares market, which could be useful in the months to come. Plus, if you are worried about managing fluctuating staffing levels, by using a TPM’s technical support staff on a flexible contract arrangement, you can alleviate concerns of IT department gaps by plugging into their 24x7x365 support.

3. If you are already working mid-project, expect shipment delays and engage with the secondary market to fill gaps.

Whether it be delays to the hardware manufacture process, getting resources onsite, or potential shipping issues, consider purchasing pre-owned IT hardware to reduce costs and ease installation with simple plug and play of preconfigured devices to decrease staff installation overhead.

Set up access to the secondary market now where you can find increased availability and large savings for pre-owned hardware, which can give you additional years of useful life. You can then access inventory of certified previous generation servers and storage from all major manufacturers and realize significant discounts compared with purchasing new hardware. Reputable TPM providers offer a lifelong guarantee on authenticity and assurances on firmware updates alongside reliable warranties that extend to at least a year. Look for flexibility and partnership in the coming months.

Park Place Technologies recognizes that no two organizations will emerge out of Covid-19 with the same momentum or budget bounce-back. Regardless of individual needs, we are here to assist your return to the new norm.


About the Author

Paul Mercina, Director, Product Management Marketing
Paul Mercina brings over 20 years of experience in IT center project management to Park Place Technologies, where he oversees the product roadmap, growing the services portfolio, end-to-end development and release of new services to the market. His work is informed by 10+ years at Diebold Nixdorf, where he worked closely with software development teams to introduce new service design, supporting implementation of direct operations in a number of countries across the Americas, Asia and Europe.