Banking

How does your company refresh its hardware? Take the poll.

A new report claims that your company will save money by holding to short PC refresh cycles. Coming at a time where many organizations are trying to make their machines last longer, I started to wonder how your business replaces its systems.

A new report claims that your company will save money by holding to short PC refresh cycles. Coming at a time when many organizations are trying to make their machines last longer, I started to wonder how your business replaces its systems.

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Intel would like to make sure your company regularly obtains new computers. This should come as a surprise to no one. The chip manufacturer is publicizing a new report that claims that several hidden costs come with keeping your computers around for longer than three years.

From eChannelLine.com:

The economic downturn has convinced a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to put off PC and notebook refreshes to cut costs, but according to data from a Techaisle report, the average cost per year to maintain a three-year-old system is $500 (US), while the maintenance costs for a newer PC is only $125. According to [Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Business Client Group Robert] Crooke, the return on investment for a new PC can be seen in less than one year.

When I worked for a small nonprofit, we spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how we should address this issue of system replacement. We budgeted regular expenditures for our hardware costs, but we’d often have to stretch the lifespan of our machines if it became necessary to save some money. Always hoping to find the best possible value, we considered entering into a leasing agreement to obtain our machines. Leasing is touted as a way to ensure your technology stays current while keeping expenditures predictable. It is even possible to arrange for technical support from some hardware lessors, which could provide savings by reducing the necessity for maintaining an in-house support staff.

Ultimately, my company decided not to lease machines. The cost for a three-year machine lease was significantly more than it cost us to purchase a new machine outright. Since it was important for the company to have an internal support tech, our management decided that the additional money the company would have spent each year to lease machines was better spent in funding my salary. I was then responsible for making sure that we got the best possible return from our hardware purchases.

Leasing didn’t make sense for my company at that point, but your company may be in a different situation. How does your company obtain new machines?

What has been your experience with your company’s choice for refreshing its hardware? Do you think your employer is getting the best possible value for its tech investment? Is it easier to provide support for machines that are part of a leasing agreement? You’ve answered the poll; now share your experience in the comments.

27 comments
wwilson
wwilson

We are getting off this cycle by moving to a virtual desktop solution and the use of thin desktops or thin clients when the machines die. It takes a big step to make this change, however if you already have a VMware ESX or Hyper-V you are over halfway there. We will not longer be swapping boxes in the 3-4 year cycle and instead will be moving to a 6-7 cycle with some of the thin clients out there.

aalshaqqa
aalshaqqa

We bought the machines with 4 years warranty and support then we replace them every 4 years. Now we are planning to extend the warranty to 5 years. The advantage of this mechanism is that the cost of purchasing is less than the lease and upon replacement we give the PC to the employee as a gift which reduce the PC problems and protect the PC.

microface
microface

We have a mixture of Linux, Windows XP, and MAcintosh clients. All Servers have been switched to Linux after 5 years of convincing my Pro Microsoft Bosses that we could hire 2 people to maintain the array of My SQL servers, Backup Serves, and Support Microsoft Outlook. I do not anticipate ever retiring these servers until 2012 at the earliest, because LINUX rarely ever needs a reboot. All Windows XP Clients will be moved to Linux, unless there is absolutely no alternative to the WINDOZE. AS far as the Microsoft TAX, I buy computers 12 - 20 at a time, from CDW, or DELL and INSIST ON NO OS !!!! If they will not play by my rules I buy from somewhere else. This company I maintain all this for is in several locations across the USA, CANADA, and provides VPN, and Webmail, ALL WITH NO MICROSOFT SERVERS !!!! If you are willing to learn,. you can save your company 10K or so a year !!! I agree with previous comments about the cost iof maintaining older equipment, it is around 2 - 3 hrs per year, just like new equipment. Since I NEVER install Internet Explorer, except on Software development machine, and there is always a DMZ I have maybe 1 -2 infections per year, because some one insists on bringing software in from home. These people get 1 warning, the second time their supervisors are notified of the infraction, and then they are transferred to the IT department help desk for no less than 2 months, to see what we have to deal with. I HAVE NEVER HAD A REPEAT OFFENDER, and in many cases those people have become advocates for the IT department rules, because once they have had to deal with the inane and sometimes ridiculous questions they understand us on the help desk far better..

lonnie_heston
lonnie_heston

We purchase our machines, but since the license is tied to the machine, the cost of the new license is an additional expense. MS makes it hard to separate the license from the cost of the hardware. I also disagree with the average of 500/yr, I see tons of old machines humming along, some still from the Win2k days, and we don't spend a nickel on them. Our cost averages about 125/yr for maintaining all PCs, regardless of age.

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

I believe the best bet is to replace 25% of the systems each year. When you do, you can give the new, fastest systems to the staff that do the most work (and need the best computer performance). Then you can take the systems they use and migrate those PCs to the next tier of employees needing fast computers. Using this system, you only need to refresh a quarter of your systems inventory a year. Yet, every employee receieves a faster PC each year and you never have legacy hardware older than four years!

locum
locum

I have gotten in the habit of buying my boxes from a dealer that specializes in "after lease" machines. When you are done with them, this guy picks them up in bulk and sells them to me at an average cost of $110 per machine (with the COA tag on it). They're great condition and usually 2 years or less. I buy them about a hundred at a time and place them in the harsh environments like a shop or factory. The more you all turn over your equipment the better deals I get and the lower the price. TCO is nominal. If one machine goes bad we have several, on standby, (because they are so cheap) to turn around in less than 10 min. So not only do I buy them outright. I buy someone else's equipment that they've taken the 80% depreciation on.

dbucyk
dbucyk

I build all of my computers, but I recycle them as long as I can because of using Linux I can use older hardware without having to purchase a new operating system every couple of years. Linux uses very little resources to make it run.

mpinnell
mpinnell

refresh workstations every 4 years (Staged) Servers are refreshed every3 to 5 years depending in use (Staged)

Slayer_
Slayer_

What the heck kind of crap hardware are you buying that only lasts 3 years. The computer sitting next to me, which often doubles as a database server whent he main goes down, is 10 years old, we haven't spent a cent on it. My computer at home (It just finally died) died at age 15! And all that actually died was the power supply after being running non stop for 15 years.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...according to data from a Techaisle report, the average cost per year to maintain a three-year-old system is $500 (US), while the maintenance costs for a newer PC is only $125 Exactly why do they think a three-year-old PC so much more expensive to maintain than a new one? Today's hardware is extremely reliable, and usually the only components likely to fail in 5 years are easily and inexpensively swappable ones like power supplies and hard drives. This may be more of an indictment of Microsoft Windows, which tends to get clustered after 18 months, but in a corporate environment even that problem can be mitigated for less than it costs to replace the machine.

chutikorn
chutikorn

How do you justify the cost of addional ESX servers & licenses and VDI licenses and software subscription? I have been grappling with thin client ideas for years, but with falling PC prices (even with 5-year onsite warranty built-in) and low support cost (in Thailand), we can't justify the always high software cost.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I have a amazing numbers of Windows 2003 servers and I only reboot the servers during maintenances. I have this servers working since 2004 with good results. We need to use Windows OSs for workstation because we use Interwoven, Interaction and Workshare. Any of this software are available for Linux.

ijusth
ijusth

consider buying all of your computers WITHOUT an O/S then contract with M/S for an enterprise licensing package for BOTH the O/S and Office. Be sure you know how many computers you have so you can get accurate pricing. Compare the quote from M/S plus the computers WITHOUT an OS to the costs for computeres WITH the OS. That is a starting point and you will need to do more research on software support etc. but you need to do your homework.

peterl
peterl

Getting new, more powerful machines into the hands of the most active and productive users makes sense. And just as you mentioned it allows us to rebuild the equipment coming from those users and reissue it to those whose function puts lesser demands on their workstations. More bang for the buck, and everybody gets the benefit of some sort of upgrade. Of course we are a small shop and I can see where this would be logistically difficult in a large organization.

ssampier
ssampier

Would you care to share what that vendor is? I really need to refresh my 5.5 year old desktops. I would love to buy 1 to 2 year old machines. I can't buy 100s of these machines, however. I would buy maybe five or six if the price was right.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

We have GX280 computers purchased in 2005, 4 years old, and are very fast. XP with 1Gb original (now I added 1gb more). XP performs extremely well with 2GB and Pentium 4. I have 28 of this machines and only have a couple with PSU damages (will be replaced soon). We purchased with extended warranties so during the first three years we had peace of mind. Now we purchase damaged components, but we spend about 300 a year for 62 computers!!! I believe the trick is to purchase the right harware.

Ian Thurston
Ian Thurston

One of my clients leases all new equipment every 3 years, ensuring that everyone has standard gear, imaging the drives, and making it possible to service all machines identically. Great idea in theory. Dell computers turned out to be non-standard inside unless you paid a premium to ensure that they used identical components. IBM were great, but when they became Lenovo on the last hardware refresh in December 2007 ... we've had 20% failure. "New" DOESN'T mean "more reliable" in this arena.

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

I don't believe it's an indictment of Microsoft Windows. Most failures and errors I encounter in systems older than three years are hardware-related (bad NICs, failed ATA controllers, bad motherboards, failed hard disks, etc.). I suspect hardware failure is largely responsible for the greater support costs beyond three years.

tiasmith
tiasmith

The solution that you have put forward are effective and can help a person to great extent. Tia smith Corporate Business

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

You only need to be smart when purchase. For example, our workstations (Dell GX280, 620 and 745) are 4 years old and are fast and current. I only upgrade memory one year ago. XP run well in Pentium D with 2 gigs of ram. Space is not a concern in the pcs because everything is stored in the NAS. Servers have 4 years as well, and are super fast (20gb ram, 4x 160 15krpm raid 5, quad 64bit cpu, vmware esx) - this servers have vmware esx and runs at 30% of full capacity - running every piece of hardware an exchange, ad, dns, dhcp, sql, interwoven server, eas email archive, etc.... so i don't need to purchase anything after 4 year of purchase. I only spend $$ in printers (maintenance and toners)

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

Unfortunately I disagree with this. OEM always will have better prices for OSs when you purchase new computers. If you get superb prices from MS or a dealer for Windows OS and you compare with the OEM price of the windows in your new pc, you will see a huge difference.

ijusth
ijusth

there is a magazine called the computer recycler. It has lists of categories and vendors inside and it quite thick. You should be able to find your source inside.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

Hardware failures in motherboards, Power supplies and other electronic components happens on computers and other devices mostly because lack of preventive maintenance. Three main bad factors for electronic component failure is dust, temperature and a bad/non-regulated AC power. We use cool UPs with power regulation and we perform maintenance in our computers two times a year. We have two electronic components with mechanical parts in computers (fans and hard drives). For fan you cannot do too much, only cleaning but a fan replacement is 10usd or less. In regards to hard drives, I don't care too much. all data is stored on servers, if a hard drive fails (can do it in days or decades) we just replace and Ghost the machine. I myself have old MFM drives still working nice from more than 15 years ago and have new Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Quantum drives with days with heavy failures (in electronic cards, heads or plates). I only see 2 bad nics in 15+ years working in IT, and failure on NICs mostly occurs because parasit current in the network cable. If you have a certified enviroment, this will not happen. An a nic card cost 10 usd!!!

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I understand your point. Maybe at the time of the purchase is better to compare prices but I believe in the case you get a good OEM OS prices, the difference will be minimum against the OS you purchase in your new workstation from DELL, HP, etc.... Nice point anyway...

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

I have found, on numerous occasions, that OEM OS pricing is more attractive than volume or open licensing. One potential "gotach," however, is when a client needs to preserve the ability to fall back to different operating system platforms (such as Windows XP). In those cases, open or volume licensing is often a better option. It just depends upon the client or organization's overall needs, as price isn't always the only measure (sometimes flexibility is key, too).

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

"I've seen two bad NICs in two weeks. Both were due to lightning strikes." Nice: I see a couple in 14 years! :)

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

I've seen two bad NICs in two weeks. Both were due to lightning strikes. Most small businesses (50 employees and less) can't certify their environments. I've seen servers crammed in storage rooms, network switches placed above ceiling tiles and a wide range of other non-recommended practices. I agree preventive maintenance is critical to smooth hardware operation. Unfortunately, many clients wait to call my consultancy, however, after they've experienced a hardware failure. Then, preventive maintenance is too late, of course.