A few months ago we were in the market for a couple servers to run our business. Considering our warehouse was stocked with more than 1,000 servers from corporate lease returns, we didn’t have to look very far. It wasn’t that we needed to replace our early generation HP Proliant DL580 and Dell Poweredge 2600, but both were about 7-years old and we feared a failure. Truth is, the servers had been working perfectly for more than 3 years and that’s after the initial user deployed them for about 4 years. Disk space was running low and it was time to move off of the Server 2003 operating system. Proactively speaking it was time to make a change.
The computing environment here is typical of many small businesses. Email is externally hosted and we run much of the business on the Macola ES ERP system which is a similar product to many others and uses Microsoft SQL. We do a lot of file sharing, and provide data backup and connections for about a dozen users who also use Microsoft Office. Our test and configuration area installs software images and we have a few custom-written programs for special purposes.
We wanted our next servers to be “BEASTS”. After deliberating with our technicians, we settled on an HP Proliant DL380 G4 and a Proliant DL380 G5. These are models that have been retired from most environments but we’ve sold thousands of them in recent years and our technicians always felt that they were high quality machines. That and both have 64 bit CPUs which means we could take advantage of some performance gains over the older model servers currently installed. After a memory upgrade and the addition of a few disk drives we migrated from the old servers to the “new servers” and life has been good since.
Our hardware investment for both machines came in under $1,000. When you stop to reflect on that and realize how much productivity is delivered by this small investment, it is truly amazing. At the time of this writing, many HP Proliant G6 and Dell Poweredge “R” series servers are trading at under $1000 fully configured. This is about 10% – 15% of their original cost and they’ll run most of the current day operating systems, virtualization and databases. Makes you wonder why more organizations don’t take advantage of the opportunity. In a world where prices for gas, food, taxes and anything carrying the “insurance” label are on the rise; used technology is one of the grand bargains still out there.