Trying to Decide if it’s Time to Upgrade?

GUEST BLOG BY Paul Scaini… Today, there are tons of options available to help extend a server’s life. If you’re like most small businesses, you’ve already taken advantage of the fact that servers last longer than ever. But, if you’ve reached the inevitable point where your server is just too old to keep up with your business and it’s time to upgrade, there are a few important things you need to consider when make a new server purchase.

Upgrade before your server crashes and burns
The average business will ideally update their servers every three- to three-and-a-half years, but many companies are pushing their servers and keeping them for four or more years.  By delaying a new server purchase, you not only risk slowing down your business, but you also risk… “knock on wood” a failure.

Take advantage of new technology
On top of the typical generational Intel CPU performance improvement of 10-20 percent per year, there are new technologies that you could be taking advantage of by updating your server. Memory and solid state drives, just to name a few, have made drastic improvements in speed and capacity and are significantly cheaper and use less power than they did since you last looked at purchasing a server.

Consider what could be a cloudy future
You’ve probably heard about all of these wonderful new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications online, such as Dropbox, Salesforce.com and QuickBooks. In addition to being really easy to set up, these applications allow you to be flexible and save on IT investments. Migrating applications to the cloud also allows you to access data wherever you are, using devices such as smartphones and tablets. These are great offerings and many small businesses — especially if you’re a startup, a very small company or have employees distributed around the world — rely on them every day. 

Be smart
However; these applications are not for everyone. Here are some reasons why businesses are NOT relying on the cloud.

  • Privacy:  By keeping your IT in house, you can ensure your data is safe and that there isn’t anyone collecting your confidential company information. You may also have a legal requirement for keeping data in house.
  • Availability: You never know if your cloud service will go down unexpectedly, leaving you without access to critical data for hours or more. Gmail outages are widely reported and happen frequently. If you’re using a smaller e-mail provider, what guarantee is there that they’ll be around in a few years?
  • Data mobility: Some data cannot be shared between different cloud services. If you decide to stop using a cloud service, be aware that you may not get all your data back, and if you do, it may be in the wrong format. Also, can you be sure that the cloud service will destroy all of your data once you’ve moved on?
  • Tool robustness: Cloud-based tools frequently aren't as powerful as internal software applications and are definitely not as customizable.
  • Cost:  For an established company, the cost of migrating your current application data to the cloud compared to moving it to a new server can be prohibitive.

All things considered, an upgrade is in your future. Do it soon before your old server goes down and take advantage of the latest technology. Take a look at some of the great cloud options out there and find out which ones are right for you. But be smart about it. Remember, owning your own server keeps you more flexible and secure, and in many cases is the right thing to do for your business.

For more information about things to consider when upgrading your server, visit the ThinkServer refresh page or try our Server Refresh Calculator.