If a server is working, it's easy to go into 'set and forget' mode. However, running older server hardware can have one unfortunate impact: operating costs are much higher.
Analysis by Intel suggests that servers that are more than four years old take a whopping percentage of the power bill.
"Servers older than four years deliver four per cent of the performance but have 65 per cent of the energy requirements," Intel enterprise technical specialist Peter Kerney told a press lunch in Sydney last week. "In other words, one third of servers use two thirds of all power consumption."
Obviously, Intel is hardly a disinterested party; it would like everyone to regularly upgrade hardware. Its own analysis suggests 32 per cent of servers are in the 'four-year-plus' bracket, so it isn't a problem for the majority of deployments.
Nonetheless, reducing power bills seems a worthwhile goal. One reason it doesn't always happen is that the power bill isn't always tied to the IT function. "Who owns the power budget? It's a discussion that often has to happen with the finance guys," Kerney said.
Existing data centres also often don't take full advantage of virtualisation. "From a server perspective, even though we've seen a massive increase in virtualisation, utilisation is still only 50 per cent," said Intel ANZ national sales director Andrew McLean. "A lot of the workloads are very bursty and companies get very conservative in their consolidation."