Business decisions and financial pressure can sometimes force organizations into making snap judgments on critical infrastructure like technology spend. While it is important to keep budgets in mind, it is vital to know where you can cut corners and where you shouldn’t. Skimping on server hardware is one such mistake you need to steer clear of.
IT strategy, especially with regard to hardware purchases must be forward looking. Unless there is major organizational or strategic change, the server should last you 5 years.
Crippling expansion plans
If you plan to settle for a cheaper server that just about meets your organization’s current capacity requirements, it will probably fall short of your long term needs even a few months from now. Expansion is an intrinsic part of the DNA of any organization. With this will come the need for more server capacity, better performance and greater efficiency. The savings in your recently purchases server will be more than doubled with upgrades, replacement and the labour involved in such a change.
While a cheaper server may seem like a great idea to earn some brownie points with the management and save the company some money, it could be a white elephant. Your server while cheaper upfront may require repairs and replacement sooner than a slightly more expensive alternative. For example, if you purchased a server without hot swap hard drives, a replacement of a failed drive, would result in the server being completely powered down and the entire organization down for this upgrade, where with hot swap hard drives, a failed drives is a 2 minute job and requires no downtime or coordination with all staff. Even warranty coverage can be hidden cost. It’s very easy to feel comforted about a 3 year warranty on a server, however, there is a major difference and ultimately cost, in understanding the difference in the service level agreement. A cheaper server will only have 8×5 next business day service for parts and labour. This could translate into an entire weekend of downtime. A mission critical server will have the same 3 year warranty, however have a 24×7 4 hours parts and service warranty, meaning the most you would ever be down for a hardware failure is 4 hours, any day of the year.
It’s the internal parts the matter.
With servers, you get what you pay for. A cheap server simply does not have the performance nor redundancy a properly configured server does. You will get slower performing hard drives, will not get redundant power supplies, network cards and hard drives. Memory configuration can even be limiting making future upgrades a complete rip and replace, rather than a simple drop in and go upgrade. These internal parts translate to business costs and delays.
If you skimped and bought a slower server or one with less capacity, you will end up having to buy a new server much faster than anticipated. This will mean redundancy, some duplication and all the attendant expenses with the new purchase. Instead, if you went with the slightly more expensive server to begin with, you would probably be able to stave off any replacement purchases for a much longer term.
If you plan well, the right choice could see you through the medium term and free up valuable resources to be used on other technology spends, as the business grows.