Letting Go of Old Hardware
Goldberg: A common but shortsighted and potentially costly practice is delaying replacement of servers and PCs.Its no secret. Reality today in IT looks like this: lowering costs, reducing spending and if you must spend money, spending it on things that have measurable value. Those goals are laudable, yet one of the most common practices is one of the most shortsighted and potentially costly: delaying replacement of servers and PCs. While delay offers the benefit of reducing capital expenditures or out-of-pocket costs for system leases, there are many real, less obvious costs in dealing with older machines. These costs include soft- and hard-dollar items that arent always considered during the upgrade decision process. The largest single area of cost for older equipment is increased support. For servers, its not unusual to find that system stability and uptime become compromised as patches, upgrades and new utilities are added. While many older servers remain stable, in many other cases, its an almost daily battle to ensure uptime. Further, rolling out new production systems can often cause downtime as incompatibilities or conflicts are raised based on the vendors inability to test for every older version of operating systems and middleware.
The cost of older PCs can be substantial. One CIO found that PCs that are 4 or more years old cost $46 per month more to support than those less than 2 years old. The additional cost is primarily due to system lockups and instabilities caused by DLL conflicts and driver incompatibilities. In addition, as Windows 98 nears the end of its life, providing support for Windows 98 systems will be more difficult and costly.