How to Decide If You Need a New Server
Business technology is everchanging, and servers are an important aspect of your business technology plan. Before you decide to replace, upgrade, or continue using your existing server, consider the factors laid out by Daniel below.
Determining the right server for your business needs can seem like a difficult decision. But we can break it down into smaller pieces so you can figure out what’s best for your budget, your current environment, and your future growth plans.
Where to Start
For an honest evaluation, you should inventory what your business currently has. List the number of servers, how old they are, their storage sizes, operating systems, whether they are on-premise or cloud-based, and whether you receive any storage limit or space warnings.
Then think about the next 5 years and consider the requirements of future products and software you may use.
If your servers are cloud-based, they should be receiving regular updates to their operating systems. This should happen without any effort from you and typically without any, or with minimal, interruption. Check your vendor agreement for specific terms.
If you have an on-premise server, you need to be aware of its current operating system and any required updates. For example, if your business is using Windows Server 2008r2 or older, you need to come up with a plan to replace this immediately as Microsoft is not releasing any security updates and it is a huge risk for your company.
If your premise server is running a Hypervisor operating system (such as VMware that hosts guest operating systems such as Windows or Linux), be wary of the end of life support for the Hypervisor, VMware vSphere 6.0. The end of general support for that was March 12, 2020, so update to Hypervisor 6.5 or higher. But please be aware that older hardware may need to be replaced in order to be compatible with the new Hypervisor.
If your server hardware is over 5 years old, it is most likely out of warranty, and a plan will need to be put in place to get it replaced. Older hardware has security vulnerabilities in things like the processor and bios that may not have been patched.
If you have a network rack with space available, a rackmount server could be most beneficial for keeping everything together and reducing network outages. When servers are added haphazardly and placed on desks or cabinet tops, they have a higher likelihood of being unplugged accidentally.
When considering your drive space requirements, take your current usage as a starting point, not a target. For example, if the old server has 600GB of space used, you would not want the new server to have a similar size as this leaves no room for expansion. Consider what your business plan includes, and if you may be adding additional items that will take up considerable space, then plan accordingly.
Also, consider the speed of the storage. Raid 10, for example, will be very fast, but will increase the amount of drives required to get the storage you need. Raid 1, on the other hand, provides redundancy but will be limited to the speed of 1 drive. A Hot spare (drive in the system that is not used unless a drive fails to help rebuild automatically and prevent data loss) is always recommended.
If your business requires numerous terabytes of data storage and easy expandability, a SAN device should be considered. But keep in mind that your network hardware will have to be able to support high speed data transfer of 10G or higher to not limit storage accessibility speed.
Memory capacity also needs to be sized appropriately, depending on all of the software requirements that are hosted on that hardware. If one software requires 12GB of RAM and another requires 8GB of RAM, you’ll need at least 24GB of RAM for headroom for the rest of the operating system. To put it another way, if you simply add up the required amounts of storage and get a server with 20GB of RAM for this example, you will only be able to load those programs on your server. You won’t have any space left over to actually use them.
Of course, when you work with Infinity, we will go over all of these details and recommend the appropriately sized machine for your current needs and future plans. Reach out with your questions, and use the tags below to find more helpful information for your business.