Despite predictions of its impending demise, the U.S. data center market remains healthy. More than half of all IT workloads are still running in on-premises data centers, and industry analysts predict steady market growth over the next five years — even in the face of pandemic-driven IT budget restrictions.
In-house infrastructure offers undeniable benefits. Organizations with their own data centers have more control over their data and systems, they can better support homegrown applications, and they can customize infrastructure to suit their needs. Nevertheless, in-house infrastructure also carries costs and challenges that can’t be ignored.
Hardware vendors recommend replacing servers every three to five years before they begin to experience performance issues due to memory, processing and I/O limitations. Many organizations are nearing that threshold today. Nearly half of U.S. of server hardware is more than four years old, according to research from Forrester.
While nobody wants to risk downtime or lost opportunities due to inadequate hardware, there are ways to maintain efficiency without busting the budget. Here are a few steps you should take before committing hundreds of thousands of dollars to a full-scale hardware refresh:
- Evaluate your existing hardware. Don’t judge servers on the basis of age alone. Conduct a thorough inventory of your on-premises environment and use data collection tools to capture and analyze current usage and performance data about each machine. Don’t be in a hurry to replace servers that are supporting their assigned workloads with plenty of capacity to spare.
- Consider consolidation. If you are operating multiple data center locations, assess whether you can combine any operations. You may be able to save costs by moving some workloads to the cloud. If so, you may also find that you have some hardware that can be refurbished or repurposed to handle different workloads such as storage or testing.
- Think about extended support. If hardware has reached end of support but is still performing reliably, you may be able to arrange an extended warranty or a third-party maintenance agreement that will allow you to delay an upgrade.
After you’ve considered your options, you may determine that a data center refresh is required. Like any mechanical device with moving parts, data center hardware has a finite lifespan. Once it wears out, it can lead to system crashes, poor application performance, reduced functionality and security vulnerabilities. However, there are still ways to meet your business requirements while conserving your limited budget.
Data Center Hosting
A hosted data center arrangement can give you access to the updated infrastructure you require without upfront hardware purchases. In this model, you essentially rent infrastructure from a third-party provider who runs your workloads on either shared infrastructure or on dedicated data center resources. You access your resources through a secure network connection.
A hosted environment also offers management advantages compared to running workloads on public cloud platforms. While providers manage and maintain the cloud infrastructure, you must manage your applications, along with updates and security patches. In a hosted data center, the provider assumes responsibility for the bulk of administrative and management functions.
Third-party providers can also deliver robust data protection capabilities. For example, RMM Solutions has implemented advanced physical and cybersecurity measures at our data center locations in Milwaukee and Appleton, Wis. Both are built to Tier III standards and have SOC 2 Type 2 certification, which demonstrates we have implemented appropriate security policies and procedures to protect customer data.
RMM’s managed data center options are great choices for organizations that are looking to maintain control of their IT infrastructure while conserving cash. Call us to discuss your options for a cost-effective solution that addresses your operational requirements.