How Long Do You Hold On To An Old Server?

There are many reasons to have a server in house as opposed to using a hosted (in the cloud) server. Like anything else, there comes a time to replace it. Resellers and IT service providers salivate at this idea so they can make the sale. But how do you know when to replace it? This article should help you determine that.

Manufacturers of servers stop supporting them at some point. That means you can’t get support for a malfunction on the server, the hardware. Manufacturers of the software that runs the server, like Microsoft who makes Windows Server Operating System, stop supporting a particular version, like Windows Server 2003, at some point. What also happens along the way is technology improves and requires a certain level of functionality to work with. What I mean is, an operating system may require a better, stronger, newer technology to run on, like a server that is not older than 7 years. Conversely, a new server will not work with an old version of an operating system because the old Operating System (OS) can’t work with the newer technology in the server. So many times we have seen companies holding on to their old servers and the antiquated OS because “it has never been a problem and it works just fine”. Well, let me give you an example why this strategy is not the best idea.

Say you have an old server running an old OS as well as running Microsoft Exchange. For this example, assume that all of this is very old. You decide to upgrade because another software product you need for your business, that would be loaded on to this server, can’t work with these old products. Now you must upgrade before you buy that new software. An upgrade will require the migration of the data to the new server. If your server and associated software is too old, this step will not be a direct migration. You will have to migrate in steps. For example, from Exchange 2003 to 2010 to 2016. You will need to purchase the intermediate software version, load it on another server and then migrate to that first. Then, when all is working well after that first migration, you can load the final latest version on the new server and then migrate to that. See my point? All of this will take a lot more service hours which means a lot more money. You may have saved money earlier by not upgrading your server but in the long run you are now paying a much bigger price because your products are too old.

You can call the manufacturers of each product you own and find out their respective support life. Server manufactures will tell you what software version their servers can work with. After finding this information you can then better determine when the time is to upgrade your server. Trust me, it will be cheaper in the long run to not wait too long.

Just trying to help.

Robert Lane
ASE, Inc.
Getting you ready for tomorrow today
703-273-8388 ext 111

ASE, Inc. is an IT technical support services and consulting firm in the Washington DC Metro area. Since 2000 ASE has focused on providing outsourced IT department services to small and medium businesses as well as providing senior level expertise designing, installing and managing complex networks as well as security consulting to very large entities in both commercial and federal markets. Call ASE today – 703-273-8388.

The Small Business Dilemma: The right outsource

stockxpertcom_id8109922_size4Who do you get to work on your company’s IT infrastructure?  Are you big enough to hire someone full time or not?    If not, what rate do you pay for the services you think you need?  I get asked these questions every week.  It’s amazing how many companies make the same mistake: picking the wrong skill sets, the wrong person for your company.  For this article I will address outsourcing – contracting someone to work on your company’s IT infrastructure.  Hopefully, when I’m done you will be able to make a good, educated decision.

You are a company too small to hire a full time employee as an IT administrator – the person who will keep the network that runs your business working.  You have a server, router, firewall, switch and a bunch of end user machines (desktops, notebooks etc… say ten of these).  You know nothing about IT nor do you want to but you don’t know how much to pay someone.   The problem is that a small business needs to look for someone who can handle a wide range of issues for a network like this.  This means someone who knows how to perform Moves, Adds & Changes (MAC), break/fix and remediation services to all of the equipment not just the end user machines, also known as clients.  If you get someone who only knows the clients then you are setting yourself up for disaster when disaster occurs.  Why?  Because the lower end administrator will have a harder time analyzing the problem, probably won’t know how to solve it and have to hand off to a higher skilled person who needs to schedule time to come see you.  All this equates to hours burned that you have to pay for and downtime.  The higher skilled administrator will figure out problems faster, solve them faster and know how to do this to handle all of the equipment you have.  This means less hours burned (most likely) and less downtime.

So what do you pay?  In the suburbs of Washington DC for on call support meaning that you call when you need help, a lower end administrator will charge from $60.00 to $80.00 per hour for skills that handle the client side and have mid level server skills.  A server expert with knowledge of various operating systems and the applications that go on servers like Exchange, and well skilled at switches, firewalls and routers for a company of this size will charge from $125.00 to $175.00 per hour.  Please keep in mind that long term contracts will affect these rates lower as the person is guaranteed a certain level of time. 

As a last note, on call services or even a routine schedule is areactionary mode (waiting for problems to occur) and will ultimately cost more long term.  Companies of the size described above should look at managed services that monitor and are proactively(monitoring trends to head off disaster or reducing traditional support time spent) supporting you network.  This is complimented by on site visits.  The savings will be realized certainly in the first year and most likely in the first six months.

For further discussions on hosted and managed services contact Robert Lane of ASE, Inc. @ 703-273-8388 ext. 111.; ASE, Inc. is an IT consulting, engineering, hosted and managed services provider in the Washington DC metropolitan area since 2000.