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Articles & Insights • 6 min read

Take charge of your hardware refresh plan

You have carefully planned your organization’s hardware refresh and you’re counting on the advantages it will bring to your IT department. But now the CFO is pushing back. Is this refresh really necessary? Can you justify this expense? Why does the refresh have to happen this year? All good questions that you have already answered for yourself. However, your directive today is to reduce CapEx and OpEx spending. Let’s evaluate the strategy behind the traditional OEM refresh cycle and identify cost-saving options to consider for your hardware refresh plan.

How to plan for a hardware refresh?

  • Take a strategic look at your current plan: address infrastructure needs and specific objectives.
  • Consider timing and frequency of your hardware refresh cycle: target disruptive coverage gaps and determine cost-cutting tactics.
  • Rethink the 3-year refresh cycle: consider another option from OEM hardware. Compare your options.
  • Determine how equipment reliability impacts your refresh decisions through failure rate data.
  • Optimize your hardware refresh plan to increase efficiencies and cost savings for your infrastructure strategy.

Can You Postpone Your Hardware Refresh Plan?

What are you trying to accomplish with your refresh? A hardware refresh should be your go-to if it’s the only means to boosting operating efficiency and meeting business demands. For most IT departments, it’s a decision to add capacity, power, speed, comparability and interoperability.

By considering all of your options, you’ll find opportunities to significantly reduce the cost, risk and time associated with a hardware refresh – potentially postponing your hardware refresh altogether.

Keep Pace With Infrastructure Needs

You’ve prioritized a refresh due to business growth, remote workforce demands, or new applications needs. With increased speed and capacity, you are able to meet your performance benchmarks and achieve business goals.

Address Your Specific Objectives

It’s very possible that an innovative upgrade can get you additional speed or capacity without the cost and time delay required for a complete hardware refresh. Even older systems can benefit from adding newer technologies like solid-state drives or higher throughput I/O cards to boost performance. To save money and effort, connect with a hardware solutions expert to zero in on what you can accomplish with strategic upgrades.

Anticipate the Wider Impact

With new equipment comes a degree of complexity and disruption in your data center. It is important to determine all the upstream and downstream effects that go along with an IT asset refresh. Will it cause the need to change out other hardware or to patch existing applications or platforms?

If It Isn’t Broke…

If performance isn’t an issue, but your post-warranty costs are skyrocketing, look at your alternatives. Gartner points out that TPM contracts offer customer 50% to 70% savings off net OEM support prices. You don’t have to lock into a three-year refresh cycle with third-party maintenance (TPM) options that include post-warranty, End of Life (EOL) and End of Support Life (EOSL) solutions.

Scheduling Your Hardware Refresh

The timing and frequency of your hardware refresh cycle play a significant role in your infrastructure operations. You can manage the impact on your workload, risk factors and budget in several key ways.

Prepare For Change

You must captain multiple steps for a successful refresh. Larger IT asset refresh projects require coordination from application, software, facilities and infrastructure teams. You need to ensure there is enough power, connectivity and a well-constructed plan to test the migration of applications. Upon completion, plan for the orderly removal or relocation of the decommissioned systems.

Target Coverage Gaps

Depending on the timing of your refresh, you may need to delay your hardware refresh and keep your existing hardware available for 6-12 months in case a rollback is required. During this transition, you can mitigate risk while preserving OpEx dollars using a flexible maintenance agreement and the lower support costs offered by a TPM provider.

Identify Cost-Cutting Measures

Your hardware refresh project was on schedule, but now you’re facing unwelcome budget constraints, causing delays. Time to pivot! You can extend the life of your current equipment (saving CapEx dollars) and lower your post-warranty support costs (saving OpEx dollars) with third-party maintenance. As you wait for the IT budget to rebound, you can use your immediate savings toward other infrastructure priorities or staffing needs.

Rethink the 3-Year Refresh Cycle

Pausing and postponing your refresh cycle for one year or more maximizes your investment. Using TPM for support provides even greater savings that you can use to help fund your next refresh.

3-Year Refresh Cycle
OEM Maintenance

60 member
PowerEdge x86 Cluster

Refresh 1/3 annually

$900,000 – Equipment
Maintenance Included

Total 6-Year Cost

*For two refreshes

6-Year Refresh Cycle
OEM Maintenance

60 member
PowerEdge x86 Cluster

Refresh 1/6 annually

$450,000 – Equipment
$270,000 – OEM Maintenance

Total 6-Year Cost

6-Year Refresh Cycle
Third-Party Maintenance

60 member
PowerEdge x86 Cluster

Refresh 1/6 annually

$450,000 – Equipment
$120,000 – TPM Maintenance

Total 6-Year Cost

Equipment Reliability Impacts Your Refresh Decisions

The popular assumption is that as equipment ages, it begins to break more often, causing production loss, customer issues and downtime. The good news is that most server and storage equipment is highly reliable for over 10 years. Our failure rate data strengthens the long-term outlook for equipment and can alleviate concerns you may have regarding the viability of your data center equipment’s future performance.

“Drawing from our dataset of over half a million devices in the course of 20 years, we’ve established that failure rates hold steady or even decrease as server and storage equipment outlasts failure assumptions.”

– Jake Blough | Chief Technology Officer at Service Express

Data Center Critical & Non-Critical Storage Failures Graph by Failure Rate & Tenure | Service Express
Data Center Critical Server Failures Graph by Failure Rate & Tenure | Service Express

Comparing Your Refresh Options

To upgrade data center performance, speed and capacity, keep an open mind about how you can balance your performance and budget needs.

Don’t Postpone Your Refresh: Stick With The Status Quo

Regardless of your budget or performance realities, OEMs and VARs tend to recommend the newest gear. You can go ahead and purchase the latest and greatest version, knowing that although it’s a hefty CapEx investment, your research shows it’s the right decision for your data center.

Consider A Recertified Option

There are cost benefits to using a recertified previous or current generation hardware solution. A current generation device is offered in the recertified market since products are in manufacturing for three-plus years. For example, a factory recertified Generation 10 can be purchased for less than a factory sealed Generation 10, with no change in performance or reliability. These alternative solutions cost 30-60% less than a brand new purchase.

Control For CapEx & OpEx: Discover a Third-Party Option

You will find the most value in combining a recertified hardware option with third-party maintenance coverage. If this solution fits your data center needs, you lower both your capital investment and your ongoing support costs substantially.

Refresh Planning

Status Quo vs The Alternative



CapEx For Hardware
  • Current generation price tag

  • 30-60% lower with recertified options

OpEx For Support
  • Increases as equipment ages

  • Save up to 70% on maintenance costs

Refresh Cycle
  • Every 3-5 Years

  • Based on your needs

Optimize Your Refresh Plan to Increase Efficiencies & Cost Savings

Hardware refreshes and equipment life cycles tie directly to the efficiencies and expenses in your data center. Your plan should address cost, performance needs, timing and long-term ROI results. Working with both OEM and TPM solutions helps give you the advantages of new technology when needed, equipment longevity and the control to better manage your CapEx and OpEx costs for a stronger, more flexible infrastructure strategy.

Additional resources