How Your Ageing Server Might Be Costing You A Fortune

How Your Ageing Server Might Be Costing You A Fortune

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.”


  • Sounds like a case of Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics to me..
    Sounds like they’re measuring power usage vs performance to get those figures.

    If you don’t need the extra performance, then your power bill will remain roughly the same… So you’ll have spent tens of thousands on new hardware (plus the time and inevitable issues of rolling over to new hardware) to save tiny amounts of power.
    Sure, if you have 25, 4 year old servers, it would probably make sense to upgrade them to 1 box, but the complete logic doesn’t flow to reality.

  • I moved a lot of separate servers to a blade server and had to upgrade the power to our server room, buy a bigger UPS and increase cooling. So no power savings for us.

  • One thing that might be of more importance when replacing old server hardware is the cost of 3rd party and hardware support.
    Most 3rd party vendors charge a fortune if you need to extend warranties on aged hardware, plus, finding spare parts might also be a problem and is normally not only more expensive but it also takes longer for the hardware to be obtained, which can translate into longer downtimes for the business, thus costing a lot of money.

    These are the decisions and calculations that a business need to make.

  • Wow, Angus. That first sentence took me far longer than it should have to read. Please fix it.

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