In todays virtual world it is still very popular to purchase physical servers for the operation of company IT infrastructure. We decided to leave the reasons behind but instead focus on what is actually interesting to everyone – how much is it?
It is possible that the IT department has received a budget to purchase servers – of course, they are looking forward to the whole sum devoting the the purchase of the state-of-the-art physical machines. But in the end, everyone is disappointed. Why? Because there is a difference between how much IT costs and how much it really costs.
We will look at the total cost of ownership and operation of physical servers. Because every company is different, we cannot work with generalized specific calculations – there is not such thing in this area. Better, we look at the the items of the costs list that can help you make your own picture.
And here already comes the first disappointment. Outside of the servers salone, there is a need to purchase additional hardware that is necessary for the quality operation of physical infrastructure.
First, we need to chose servers that approximately match with their configuration the needs of your company and at the same time as closely as possible cover the future needs. Does it seem confusing? Agreed.
Second, we buy a back-up battery system (UPS). It can be found for a relatively low price but as the saying goes – if you do not pay up, the band does not play. The main criteria is how long of an outage you need to cover and if the back-up systém has more elements (for example a data center also has a large motorgenerator). It also needs to be said that the average life span of the UPS system is not 5 years – this is the life span we assume for the physical servers. This means we need to calculate with this element twice in our budget. Many companies decide to leave this device out but…
Third, we include a regular cooling unit. Servers can be cooled with a window up to a certain power output but we have mentioned that we want to have a quality infrastructure. Which means we don’t want the temperature to be unnecessarily fluctuating so we ensure a continual access to stable cooling. Besides, some systems are quite susceptible so if you do decide to use your servers as the mmeans to heat the office, your hardware will not thank you for the 40 degree tropical environment.
You already have access to the Internet in your office and probably there will still be roomm left in the switch. But if IT is a critical elemment to your company and you can withstand only short periods of outages, you may want to reconsider adding a secondary connection.
Fourth, we cannot forget the extinguishing system. Some companies leave this item out but if you have your server in your office and something goes wrong, there will be any office or any server no more.
Fifth, you will surely want to ensure security on the cyber level for your data not to get lost (back-up) and also physical security for your hardware not to get stolen. In addition to all of these costs, you also need to add the costs for transportation, assembly and instalation.
We have successfully spent our time and effort getting all the necessary equipment. And now we are looking at 5 long years of issueless operation… of course, this is not anyone’s guess. But it is also probably not anyone’s guess how mmany operations costs are related to their physical infrastructure.
Sure the invoice will include costs for elektricity – for the servers, coolling and back-up systems. Your technicians will also have to take some time to take care of the quipment.
We also cannot forget to include costs for regular maintenance for the individual devices including the unplanned mmaintenance, repairs, updates and checks.
Especially the annual check up sis very important because the servers are like giant vacuums without any filter. It sucks in all particles floating around. This is why the sut down is necessary – every corner needs to be cleaned. But during this time, you need a back-up system for your IT to keep on working.
And all of this gets even more complicated when we take into account the life span. The costs we have been talking about so far are related to the 5 years during which the system should work. But what happens after the 5 years? Yes, i tis time to do all of this again. But now the technologies, devices and manufacturers have changes so i tis not just about repeating the same order 5 years later.
Each situation like this costs something. With IT we are facing several potential crises – failure, human error, theft, accident and attack.
Hardware is not immune to breaking and so it can happen that once in a while the components fail. It can also happen that the server system encounetrs an error and it is necessary to restart it.
But for instance, resolving a situation with commponent failure that ensure the connection of drive sis not easy. In most cases, t is not possible to just take the drive and connect it to another server (which by the way the cloud can do very easily).
Given these issues, the revenue often escapes because the whole operation is stopped. This is due to the time needed to disconnect the system ,find the failure, resolve it and then restart the server.
We are used to spending a lot of tim eiwth our devices and so sometimes a smart device becomes an expensive table setting for our snack. And technicians are hummans like us but for them the table setting becomes a device that hosts the whole company.
Physical servers are also threatened by the potential theft. Not only do you give a chance for your data to be stolen but you also risk the very expensive equipment itself.
And the thieves only need to take the drives from the servers, they do not need to carry the heavy servers. And when we mentioned that drives do not automatically click with every server, it is not impossible. The time that you can only hardly sacrifice during an outage is in the hands of thieves an infinite asset so they can calmly insert the drive to a different server and steal the data not only physically but also digitally.
It happens sometimes there is an overvoltage, an outage or maybe a water or seweage pipe brakes. In such situations, the accident threatens not only your office but also every piece of equipment. And let’s be clear – none if this has a good impact on your hardware.
And even though it is good for your company to has a NAS to regularly back-up your data – the plug still goes into the same power grid branch as the servers‘- When a lighting strikes, not even twenty back-ups will help you because they burn out as one. The samme applies for your neighbor flooding you.
If your are afraid of a ransomware attack – a malicious software that encrypts your data and requires you to pay a ransom – then the solution is not to leave the back-ups in one house. Not only do plugs lead to the same outlets but the Internet cable i salso the same. So unless you are carefull on disconnecting your back-ups from the network, then your servers and back-ups are left encrypted all the same after such an attack.
It is sure your commmpany has a good insurance for your property. Does that also apply to your IT infrastructure? When an insured event occurs, sometimes it is a very hard fight to deal with the situation and receive the insurance money. But if you utilize IT insurance well, the technologies actually repay you very generously and the system works as you need it.
And how does IT insurance work? It has two parts – a risk analysis and a distater recovery plan.
These two documents will include a list of costs but you should always compare it with another very important number – revenue loss. Today, majority of companies are dependent on IT. It is crucial to calculate, how much revenue is lost every hour the IT system does not work as it should. These values should then be compared to the costs listed in the analysis and plan.
Cloud relieves you from a lot of these costs and stresses because they are the responsibility of the provider. Thanks to cloud you save also your nerves.