Servers are expensive things. But what do they actually do?
They just sit in the corner of a room, flashing the occasional light and spinning hard disks around. It’s not like they have a massive burden placed on them, right?
Well, sort of, but it’s not that simple. For a kick off, your server will run 24/7/365 almost its entire life. What other products are expected to cope with that?
Erm…nuclear reactors, that’s what. Your server probably has a manufacturer’s warranty of 2-3 years and maybe an expected lifecycle of 3-5 years – under optimal conditions. i.e. the right operating temperatures, within load, not being exposed to a dusty environment, always having the most up to date software installed, etc.
Unfortunately, that environment is a pipe dream for most businesses. The perfect environment is a rarity and at the other end of the scale, we’ve literally seen companies where the cleaner has unplugged the server at the wall to plug in the hoover EVERY DAY…(and they wondered why their server wasn’t stable!).
Plus, if you have software on your server that isn’t up to date and not really optimised for the architecture of your hardware, you’re placing an unnecessary load on it. It’s a bit like driving from Manchester to London in 4th gear when you’ve got a 5th or even 6th gear to lighten the load.
The problem is, much of this happens without you realising what’s going on, meaning your server works harder than it was designed to and making it more susceptible to failure. And sure, it might go on for years to come and give you no trouble, but it might go ’pop’ tomorrow.
If it did, what’s the cost to the business of coping with that? Compared to being able to manage your risks by planning server upgrades in good time, we know which situation we would prefer our clients to find themselves in.
To go back to the analogies used, it might be a flat tyre that causes you a problem or a leaking reactor, the question is do you wait for the worst case scenario or pre-empt potential problems?
Anyone who has ever dealt with an extreme server failure will only give you one answer. Don’t leave it too late!