For many small businesses, their first server is a key investment, empowering a growing workforce to be more productive. It supports those workers wherever they’re working, providing secure and reliable storage and the resources they need to get things done. What’s more, through remote management and administration tools, it enables small IT managers to manage their small estate as it also grows.

The mistake some companies make, however, is to try and keep that server up and running for too long. On the one hand, the team is getting larger and more demanding, the needs of the business changing. While an old server might have a long potential lifespan, it’s often better for the business and more effective to invest in new hardware past a certain point. True, it might seem smarter and more cost-effective to keep existing hardware going, but there are seven solid business reasons to think again:

us mb customer jan2012 017

Performance

Servers slow down as time goes on. Research from IDC has shown that, on average, server performance decreases by 14% year on year. Just as the needs of the team build up and up, an old server might sruggle to meet their requirements, where newer, faster hardware would have the additional performance to cope. As a pioneer and innovator in server technology, Dell EMC regularly refreshes its PowerEdge servers, now in their 14th generation, and they include the latest advances in processor, storage and platform hardware. Designed for virtualization and demanding workloads, who knows what new applications they could drive?

Reduced costs and downtime

This struggle puts strain on ageing hardware, so it’s no surprise that older servers suffer more from downtime and a rise in operating costs. Between years one and five in a server’s lifecycle, IDC’s research has shown a 62% rise in unplanned downtime, a 148% rise in support costs per server and a 40% increase in application management costs. The most effective way to reduce these costs is to upgrade and take advantage of the latest, most reliable server technology.

The asset management tools keep getting better

Thanks to advanced monitoring, performance analysis and analytics, server management tools keep getting better, making it easier to monitor and optimise every aspect of your server’s performance and manage patches, updates and user accounts remotely. For instance, Dell PowerEdge servers with OpenManage technology will intelligently automate updates and many other routine tasks. This makes it easier to secure systems properly and ensure they run effectively, reducing the burden of administration on small, overworked IT teams.

Enhanced productivity

The knock-on effect of improved performance and more efficient management is a server that can drive real productivity gains. There might be opportunities around virtualisation and consolidation to run more applications in more virtual machines, opening up new business capabilities. And when users aren’t being held back by creaking server infrastructure, they can get more crucial work done.

Reliability

New management tools also work hand-in-hand with new features built into server platforms that can significantly improve reliability. For example, new Dell PowerEdge servers ship with embedded intelligence that can spot potential problems or compatibility issues before they occur. What’s more, Dell’s ProSupport services can use the same technologies to detect issues, send notifications and proactively handle faults, so that they’re resolved before downtime hits.

Security

Automate patches and updates and you already have a significant boost to security, but newer servers have more advanced features to protect against intrusion.

Dell PowerEdge servers with Cyber Resilient Architecture can detect unauthorised changes to a server’s firmware and recover and remediate in the event of an attack. They even have a lockdown mode to prevent any changes to firmware or critical configuration data.

Warranties

Server warranties don’t last forever, typically expiring after three to five years. After that point you could be looking at reliability issues and higher labour costs to put them right, particularly if parts fall out of supply. Sometimes, in terms of overall TCO, buying a new server can be more cost-effective than extending contracts on legacy hardware, let alone supporting and fixing the server without outside help – and you’ll get the benefits of new technology on top

Hanging on to an existing server might seem the most economical way forward, but more often than not it isn’t the case.

If you’re ready to take your business forward, Dell’s Technology Advisors can help. They understand how the latest server technology can enhance productivity and scale to match the needs of a business as it grows. If you’ve outgrown that old server, it’s time to move on and upgrade.