Friends don’t let friends buy servers

Maybe your small business has outgrown its humble beginnings as a handful of people working around a table. Maybe a large company has hit that point in their IT life cycle when it’s once again hardware and software refresh time. Thanks to the proliferation of inexpensive, high-bandwidth Internet connections, you may not need to dump a big wad of cash into new servers and software licenses.

In the old days, it really was necessary to maintain network domain controllers, file and print servers or application servers locally where they could be connected at high speed to desktop workstations. But with ever faster and nearly ubiquitous high-speed Internet and increasing use of cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, the need to buy, maintain, power, upgrade, fix and replace on-site systems is significantly diminished. Even the need for a local, on-site Windows network server may not be necessary for many companies.

Computer hardware has been made into a commodity over the past couple of decades and with virtualization technology now allowing a single, high performance machine to be carved up into multiple virtual systems, IT service providers are more interested in the actual set-up, management and configuration of these systems – regardless of where they physically reside – than they are in dropping another box on-site and trying to carve a few points out of the commodity hardware and software licensing.

Another benefit to leveraging the low monthly cost of cloud services and licensing is ensuring that end users get the services and the updates they need. It might be tough for a company to swallow tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in hardware and software costs, whether up front or a few years after their last purchase. Sometimes, as a result, hardware and software upgrades get pushed off until the server finally gives up the ghost or some business application requires a more recent version of the operating system. Cloud-based virtual systems offer perpetual licensing options with automatic access to updates plus underlying hardware enhancements every time the cloud provider upgrades or adds to their platform.

The next time you see or hear somebody about to purchase a bunch of new computer hardware and software, make sure they’ve checked out all of their options and aren’t about to drop a lot of cash unnecessarily. Because, friends don’t let friends buy another server.