Old servers are a company liability that usually isn’t addressed until it’s already too late. Many business owners often underestimate the current state of their servers, which makes them more prone to breaking down. Others can simply not have the resources to address this problem, particularly small to medium enterprises.
But how often should you upgrade your servers? On average, a server needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. A lot of factors can affect this time, so it’s crucial for business owners to have experienced IT staff oversee and test their setups.
Signs That A Server Is About To Fail
Keep in mind that all servers can be different depending on their hardware, so there will be some variance with their lifespan. Sometimes it’s best to wait before upgrading a server for better tech or a bigger budget, and sometimes upgrading a server isn’t necessary at all.
But once your server declines in performance or failing entirely, then it’s time to replace it. Here are three of the common signs that a server is about to fail:
- A sudden slowdown of the network
One of the most obvious signs of a degrading server is that network tasks or any connections to your network are slower than usual. While this could be because of other factors like server errors or device slowdown, persistent slow access to the network means the server can no longer process requests as efficiently as it could.
Network slowdown doesn’t just make your workplace slower: it significantly affects the general processing power of the network and everyone that uses it. These delays may seem minor, but a consistent slowdown of server activities can compound.
- Frequent crashes with no immediate cause
A more immediate concern with server slowdown is that when the load gets too much, the servers will shut down. This can cause more significant damage since it’s possible that saved work or currently opened shared files will close without changes made. Not only will this undo progress, but it will also waste precious time and resources your employees can spend on something else.
It’s important to note that crashes are an inevitable part of server activity. Sometimes you can expect to have downed servers (usually because of maintenance or awaiting integration of a software update), and these crashes are not usually a cause for alarm. What differentiates these crashes from the ones caused by server slowdown is that these events are scheduled by your IT team and usually take place when the demand on the network is slow.
- The ambient temperature of the server room
Finally, a physical sign a server is getting overloaded is the ambient temperature around the hardware. The more processing power of a server crunches through to make up for it slowing down, the more intense the heat generated from the hardware components. So if your server room is overheating, then your hardware can’t keep up with the server demands anymore.
While there’s typically some cooling system involved inside server rooms, they may not be enough to reduce the ambient temperature if they aren’t maintained. What’s dangerous about hot server rooms is the risks of hardware damage compounds on other problems: the hotter it is, the more likely servers are to shut down.
These issues don’t need to occur together to show that a server needs replacing: frequent occurrences of one are more than enough to get your hardware tested and changed. The worst thing to do would be to wait until the entire network goes down before replacing the server.
Factors To Consider When Upgrading
Upgrading a server isn’t a simple task and requires a lot of upfront expenses, depending on what kind of server upgrade is being installed. So while keeping servers upgraded is an essential part of any company’s IT strategy, there are factors they should consider before doing it:
- Overall mechanical components of your servers
This is more of a technical aspect that’s best left to your IT team, but still has some oversight into how this area works. Hardware for servers can last for a long time, but sometimes innovations in technology – or a simple reduction in pricing of parts – can justify a server upgrade.
Like most electronics, there are upfront costs for both buying and installing hardware. Balancing what your business can spare for server upgrades versus the benefits that you’ll get from upgrading can be a difficult thing to determine, which is where the advice of an IT expert may come in handy.
- Frequency of your maintenance schedule
The more maintenance a server undergoes, the less likely it is to break down – and the longer its lifespan will be. Regular maintenance doesn’t always equate to a well-functioning server, since it’s also likely that frequent maintenance and repair means that the server needs to be replaced immediately.
Again, this is an area that’s best left to your IT team but also crucial to note whenever it happens. If the frequency of your maintenance is increasing or there are more unscheduled maintenance sessions than usual, then it may be a sign that the server is slowing down.
- Needs of your business
Finally, the needs of the business are a crucial factor in determining if the servers need an upgrade. A general rule of thumb to follow is that server upgrades can be considered when the company moves to a new headquarters, integrates more software in their work, or gets the budget to purchase more hardware. Because of the added load on the network, a server upgrade is necessary if the company grows rapidly in size and operations.
If these factors agree with your company’s priorities and budget, then a server upgrade is an excellent action to take. Otherwise, you may need to wait until conditions are more favorable – or if the server suddenly starts malfunctioning.
Optimize Your Online Database With Abacus Managed IT Services
Servers should always be regularly maintained and checked for signs of wear and tear. If newer technologies and budget allows, upgrading a server is a worthwhile investment. Some of these benefits include server virtualization, additional capacity for incoming traffic, and a smoother overall website experience.
Abacus Managed IT Services has considerable experience with helping commercial businesses establish and manage their online databases. We aim to provide long-term data management strategies that consider database security, user access, and overall network operations.
For more information on what services we can provide, contact us today.