We have all heard by now, but last month Meta confirmed that it is canceling multiple data center construction projects, and is extending the expected life span of its servers to 5 years. This move is designed to optimize Meta’s investment in its massive data infrastructure.
The company said that it completed a lifecycle assessment in January this year, and realized that it could up the lifespan of its equipment after previously running them for four years.
That brings up the question, “Can you extend the life of your own servers?”.
In this blog post, we will delve into the lifespan of a server, from its birth to its eventual retirement. We will cover the different stages of a server’s lifespan, factors that influence its lifespan, and how to prolong its life.
Stages of a Server’s Life
A server’s lifespan can be divided into three stages: the deployment phase, the operational phase, and the retirement phase.
The deployment phase is the first stage of a server’s life. It begins when the server is purchased, delivered, and installed. During this phase, the server’s hardware and software components are configured and tested to ensure that they are functioning correctly.
Once the server is up and running, it is usually placed in a data center or server room. This environment is designed to provide optimal conditions for the server to run efficiently. The server room or data center is usually equipped with backup power, cooling systems, and fire suppression systems to ensure that the server is always running and protected from external factors.
The operational phase is the most extended phase of a server’s life, and it can last anywhere from three to ten years, depending on the server’s usage and maintenance. During this phase, the server is used to perform its intended function, such as storing and processing data.
However, the server’s components are subject to wear and tear, and this can lead to performance degradation over time. Factors such as power surges, heat, and dust can cause the server’s components to fail prematurely.
To prevent premature failure and extend the server’s lifespan, regular maintenance and monitoring are required. This includes performing routine checks, replacing faulty components, and upgrading the server’s hardware and software to keep up with the changing technology.
The retirement phase is the final stage of a server’s life. It occurs when the server is no longer capable of performing its intended function or is too expensive to maintain. At this stage, the server is either decommissioned or repurposed.
Decommissioning involves the removal of the server’s components, including the hard drive, memory, and motherboard. The components are then destroyed or recycled. This is usually done to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Repurposing involves using the server for a different function, such as a backup server or a testing server. This is usually done if the server’s components are still functional and can be used for another purpose.
The Dilemma – To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade
It’s crucial to understand that computers do not just wear out over time like vehicles or other devices do when determining longevity of your server hardware. The main distinction is that the majority of your car’s parts are mechanical. No matter how well those components are made or how well you maintain them, eventually, they will fail. On the other hand, the majority of the parts in servers are not mechanical.
No moving parts in CPUs, memory, or motherboards deteriorate with use.
The non-mechanical components of a server will always work as long as you properly cool them, shield them from electrical surges, and do routine maintenance.
Hard drives are a significant component of servers that will eventually wear out.
A hard disk has a six-year average lifespan. Fortunately, hard disks are some of the least expensive server parts to replace.
Your server’s useful life has not ended just because your hard disks have become worn out.
3-5 Year Cycle For Hardware – Fact or Fiction?
Contrary to popular belief, servers endure much longer than you may imagine. A server refresh cycle is frequently considered the OEM-mandated warranty and maintenance schedule, typically 3-5 years. But according to a report from a top analysis firm, servers might last for 7–10 years (usually 6–10 years for integrated systems and up to 10 years for rack servers), which is “up to three times longer than the typical replacement cycle for servers and storage arrays.”
On an organization’s downtime, costs, and ROI, the discrepancy between what an OEM advises and what a top analyst provides can have a significant influence. Replacing IT equipment indeed requires a period of downtime during which infrastructure must be removed. A corporation invests money that would be better used elsewhere to replace equipment that is fully working. When you maintain your still-functioning hardware longer than planned, your return on investment rises.
Keeping The Costs In Mind
OEMs frequently release new technical advancements, but you should think about whether the expense of a refresh or upgrade is in your best interests. Although servers have a defined end-of-life date, you are are not required to choose that date. For your data center and your company’s benefit, regular maintenance can extend the life of last-generation technology. Servers and other pre-owned or reconditioned gear can last far longer than the recommended 3, 5, or 10 years. Pre Rack IT offers third-party support to extend the life of your server hardware. Reach out today and get a quote.