Is it time to upgrade your hardware?

If your hardware is a few years old, it may be time to think about upgrading.  We tend to forget about our current hardware as long as it is doing what we need it to do at an acceptable level of performance.  This is particularly true of servers.  They tend to be turned on, and left to run with little thought given to them.

In addition to having faster processor speeds, and system bus speeds, new hardware has other speed enhancing features. One of the biggest being multiple-core processors.  Multiple-core processors essentially give you additional CPUs in a single module.  Dual-core gives you two CPUs, and quad-core four, for example. 

Your CPU intensive applications, such as large spreadsheets, and SQL servers, benefit from this by using two (or four) CPUs on calculations, instead of just one.  All major operating systems support multiple CPUs. Most have support for at least two CPUs included in the base cost.  While a dual-core processor will not cut spreadsheet calculation time in half , it will likely be reduce it by 30% or more. 

Another thing to think about, is how long your existing hardware is going to physically last.  The longer you have been running it, the greater the likelihood one of the components will fail.  Moving parts wear over time.  I’ve seen systems where the tape drive had to be replaced every year, due to the amount of data being backed up.  Replacing Critical Server hardware every couple of years is not uncommon.

Fans wear out frequently. If one of your fans stop, other failure will follow due to heat buildup.  Especially if it is a critical fan, such as the CUP fan. Hard drives tend to last the longest. If you have a catastrophic drive failure, such as a head crash onto the drive platter, the data that is on that drive is gone. You will have to go back to your latest good backup.

Even the electrical parts can fail, often due to temperature fluctuations.  Even if your computer is in a room with a constant temperature, internally the temperature will vary due to the workload.  When the computer is under heavier load, it will run hotter than it will when it is idle, even if the room temperature does not change.  It is not unheard of for a computer to run for years, then be powered down, and never start again.  This is called thermal shock, and is due to the internal electric components cooling off and failing.

So, upgrading your hardware makes good economic sense, in addition to getting better performance.  The cost of a good computer system is very reasonable, and certainly much cheaper than the cost of salvaging your existing data, if it can be salvaged, in the event of a major failure.  An upgrade can be planned to have the least impact possible. A major failure often happens at the worst possible time, such as in the middle of your busy season.

You will notice that our Home Page has a link to some excellent bargains for replacement hardware.  Contact us to take advantage of these bargains or ask for more details on how you can phase in replacement hardware.


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