Extending hardware life cycles a key efficiency consideration

Hardware Maintenance


Parker October 10, 2013

Data center efficiency discussions often center around environmental issues. The concern in these conversations is that using excess energy to power systems and keep them cool contributes to fiscal repercussions that can be difficult to deal with. While this is definitely an issue, efficiency conversations must be taken beyond power and cooling and spread to other facets of the data center.

Fiscal waste is a major efficiency issue in the data center and businesses can address this problem by extending the life of their hardware systems. As this strategy becomes more prevalent, IT managers can benefit substantially from third-party hardware maintenance and operating system support partnerships.

Understanding the roadblocks to extended hardware life cycles

Extending the hardware life cycle is, in many ways, an issue of total cost of ownership. During the initial years of owning hardware, the systems are supported by an OEM warranty and the costs are minimal outside of power, cooling and management. However, refreshing the hardware creates business disruption that can contribute to significant costs that are added to the equation. Avoiding these costs can enable organizations to improve fiscal efficiency, but only if their strategies to extend hardware life cycles are efficient in their own right.

Extended OEM warranties, such as Dell support, tend to be fairly expensive. Many of these OEMs have a reputation for being trustworthy, but their priority is generally to get customers to purchase new hardware. As a result, it is not uncommon for organizations considering the option of extending hardware life cycles to face a cost-prohibitive situation. This is why many IT managers prematurely refresh hardware, even though that option is not particularly cost efficient in its own right.

Developing a partnership with a third-party hardware maintenance provider can be an ideal path to improving fiscal efficiency by extending hardware life cycles.

Looking at the benefits of extended life cycles

Extending hardware beyond the initial warranty becomes much less expensive when companies take advantage of a third-party maintenance partnership. As a result, IT managers are able to use hardware for longer, spend less on new systems and avoid disruptive data migration tasks that come with a hardware refresh. This is particularly valuable because it maximizes the investment that goes into hardware in the first place.

While storage arrays and servers may not be as expensive as they once were, new hardware can still have a hefty impact on the budget. This can prove problematic because many components within a system can easily last for 8 years, a decade or even longer without experiencing a failure. Generally speaking, hard disk drives and power supplies are the most prone to failure, but they are also relatively simple to replace and, if necessary, repair.

This creates a situation in which organizations that can extend the effective life cycle of hardware systems can create incredible value because they avoid unnecessary capital expenses. All of this is incredibly difficult to achieve without the help of a third-party hardware maintenance vendor. Besides being expensive, OEM support plans also eventually hit an end-of-service-life date. When this point is reached, organizations can no longer use OEM support plans and must either work with a third party or refresh the hardware.

Moving to a third-party hardware maintenance program gives IT managers the ability to control costs after the initial warranty and continue using functional hardware well beyond an OEM EOSL date. The end result is a data center that is much more fiscally efficient, leaving companies with more money to divert to revenue-generating projects and similar efforts. Efficiency is vital in every facet of the data center and moving past energy concerns is key to optimizing operations.

About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant