Things we consider when looking at replacing a client’s server.
In our profession, we all need to weigh at which point it’s more economical to replace a client’s server vs maintain it. While updating it can improve its performance, efficiency and reliability to get a few more years out of it – sometimes it’s best to just put the old fossil to rest.
A well-functioning server gives your client’s staff the best chance at doing their job efficiently and effectively, without server-induced interruptions. Especially in new client relationships while you’re still establishing trust, they may need more concrete evidence on your recommended course of action. Sometimes, you can help a client get a few more years out of a server, but sometimes investing in a new server is more cost effective for them, when you factor in the decreased downtime caused by sluggish speeds and cost of repair. We like to relate it to an old car for our clients.
So… what are the top 5 factors to help a client understand why you are recommending a server update or upgrade?
A server’s performance backslides the older it gets
We tell our IT clients, on average, server performance deteriorates by 14% annually. By the fifth year, a server has only 40% of the performance it had when it was new. Lower performance and higher failure rates increase unplanned downtime by 20% annually. At the same time, higher maintenance costs require additional investment in aging systems. Once they understand this, and we do the math, they are usually on board with whatever makes the most sense.
Modern features enhance asset management
To help our non-techy clients get it, we explain that newer technologies have better, more advanced components and therefore much more effective capabilities. When they purchase a new server to replace the old one, it will come with the latest firmware and patching updates, keeping their workstations even more secure and in compliance with enterprise and government specifications. This is especially important if your client is in the medical field, working within constraints of HIPAA etc. Sometimes the cost of limping along an old server with maintenance and parts will cost them more in the long-term than replacing it altogether, while also jeopardizing the security factor. Additionally, as we all know, some operating systems are phased out. With Server 2012 and Server 2012R2 no longer supported by the end of 2023; some organizations will be forced into replacing their servers in order to remain SEC and HIPAA compliant. We like to begin approaching these conversations and planning discussions at least 2 years out so clients are not hit with an immediate surprise.
Optimized systems accelerate performance
We know that modern servers improve the capability for higher virtual machine density and larger virtual machines – but this one is a bit beyond the layperson’s comprehension. High-end business applications can migrate and run in a virtualized environment. We like to explain to clients that simply, newer servers reduce energy and cooling costs, because they have newer components and more efficient ones; they also have smaller footprints and require less maintenance.
Predictive diagnostics improve reliability
This is the fun part! Through artificial intelligence and predictive capabilities, the newer systems can predict their own failure, and alert you, as their IT Provider, that it may require service. It’s the continued effort of encouraging clients to be more proactive to avoid costly reactive (and surprise) services. Continued usage beyond the optimal life span of servers often causes unplanned downtime due to mechanical components and software aging. Once we help our clients understand that newer systems come with data-driven predictive capabilities that warn of incompatibility issues or imminent failures, they are on board. Alerts in real-time of the impending failure give them the chance to call you, but you have already noticed this because you have alerts as well. Proactive IT support is one of the biggest value propositions we use to continue to let our clients know that we have their back and are monitoring for problems before they occur.
Soon-to-expire service warranties
Following the average server life cycle, service contracts typically expire after three to five years. More frequent failures result in higher labor costs, and replacement parts are expensive and hard to find right now with the supply chain, as you know. Altogether, buying a new server is sometimes more economical than extending the lifespan of a legacy system. It is our duty, as IT professionals, and stewards of our client’s business investments, to guide them through the process of weighing options and deciding what option is best for their business.
What do you do to help walk your clients through server upgrade discussions, and collaborative budgetary planning? Ultimately, we want to save our clients time, money, and continue to build their trust. To learn more or talk about the advantages of being part of our Atlantis IT community, contact us today!