There are a number of reasons why organisations may want to replace a server. Often it’s because of a need for expansion or performance issues with existing equipment. Another reason is that a part may have failed outside the server’s warranty period, so the opportunity is taken to upgrade or expand.
Regardless of the reason, the secret to success lies in planning.
One of the first things to look at is what the new server actually needs. There are three areas to look at here;
- What’s on the existing server that needs to move over. This will also identify any compatibility issues between the existing systems and the new server’s capabilities.
- What’s not on the existing server but is needed – new applications, for example.
- Potential future requirements so there is a degree of future-proofing built in.
Each of the three areas also has specific things that need to be considered. For example, when looking at what needs to move to the new server, housekeeping exercises such as a full clean-up of existing data should be undertaken, including archiving files no longer needed or used only occasionally.
The purchase and configuration of a new server can be also be an excellent opportunity to consider what the organisation needs from an IT perspective. Back-up and disaster recovery routines can be reviewed and tested with any required amendments incorporated, rather than introduced later when the scale of the job may have become larger.
So a successful server installation requires an understanding of all these areas, which will require lots of advance planning involving both the organisation and the IT maintenance company.
This doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening quickly though.
With only two weeks notice, we recently replaced and upgraded a server system for an organisation with 125 workstations over the course of a weekend including the installation of an Exchange email system and virtualisation for business continuity. But we were only able to do that because of our IT experience, putting the effort into advance planning and the number of experienced engineers we were able to call upon.