By Mark Benson
To say it has been an unusual year is an understatement, and we still have a lot to face in the coming months; one of those being a new period of austerity and potential recession. When times get hard, organisations will naturally review their budgets and projects they have on the roadmap, and tough decisions will have to be made about where to make investments. Now for many people that will be investing in things such as business continuity and remote working solutions to prepare for the “new normal”, but what happens to the other projects?
This is where the idea of ‘Good Enough’ IT comes in. If that five, six or even seven-year-old server that was due to be replaced this year is still doing its job, then you will probably take the view of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ and pay your maintenance for another year. But is this the right thing to do?
Legacy Hardware introduces a number of challenges and risks for a business and was highlighted in a recent IDC report in 2019 as being the second biggest challenge to Digital Transformation behind Departmental Priorities.
So, what are the risks your business faces?
Are you are running that old server or storage because it is cheaper? This may not be the case as legacy hardware comes with legacy support, which you will probably be paying a premium for. Also, using older infrastructure can lead to performance challenges and the inability to consolidate. This is again something picked up by IDC and they found that by neglecting to upgrade server infrastructure, IT organisations can lose up to 39% of peak performance and add up to 40% in application management costs and 148% in server administration costs.
It is no surprise that older hardware has a higher amount of hardware failures and these will increase in number over time. The damage to a business can vary depending on the criticality of the systems in question; for a minor issue it could just mean a few hours of lost productivity (this is still a cost though!!!). However, a major outage can have several financial repercussions, as well as the reputational damage it can do. No one wants to be the next major news story just because they delayed refreshing their servers and storage.
Hackers are becoming smarter and are constantly finding new ways to attack companies. By running legacy hardware and operating systems that are no longer supported, hackers can study and learn the holes in the systems to gain access. A great example of this was the attacks on RBS back in 2013, where customers could not access their accounts or make payments. After the event the bank admitted that the problems had been caused by servers that were decades old and had not been maintained. Just like with downtime, no one wants to be headline news and with the added pressures of GDPR, businesses need to stay compliant.
People are always looking at new ways to get one over the competition; but imagine if you cannot change the way you do things because of your legacy systems. New businesses are able to take advantage of all of the latest technologies and probably don’t own a server or datacentre as it all lives in the cloud. If the systems you run are that old you probably can’t even move to the cloud, as they are not supported. As IDC stated the second biggest barrier to Digital Transformation is legacy hardware, so if you want to be a digital leader you need to modernise.
So, what do you do next? Take the risk and sweat your assets for another year or two? Or move forward with the planned modernisation of hardware? If you do the analysis you will probably find that actually refreshing your hardware will save you money and mitigate the risks above. This is something that Logicalis knows only too well, so contact us today to see how we can assist in modernising your datacentre architecture.