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  1. #1
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    How long does a server "live"?

    Let's suppose that i buy a server with raid and a redundant ali.
    What's the standard life for one of these? 3 years? 5? 10?

    And do this change from vendor to vendor? Supermicro, Dell, IBM..

    Thank you.
    Last edited by cedivad; 04-30-2011 at 12:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    From experience, disks are the things that die first.
    We have Dell / Supermicro servers that are already running for over 3 years now, never had any problems with them.
    I think 3-4 years is about the max amount of time a server can run, but I'm sure there are exceptions.
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  3. #3
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    I meant by changing the HDs and the power supply when they breaks
    Only 3-4 years? I hoped much more!

  4. #4
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    A server could live 5 years or more before it breaks (the Motherboard and CPU i mean), however after 2-3 years it will be too old and outdated compared to the modern servers at that time. I would suggest to replace it after 2 years if possible.

  5. #5
    1 year is preferred! Maximum 2 years.

  6. #6
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    I dont want to take into consideration the moore law, I know that it gets old

  7. #7
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    We have servers that have been online for over 5 years now. They are used for internal stuff nonetheless, but still... No HDD issues or anything.

    You pay for what you get.
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  8. #8
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    For about 4-5 years I rented a (Fujitsu) Pentium III and a (Dell) Pentium IV. After a couple of years, the W2K3 running on the old Dell P4 started to show some HD errors in the log -- fortunately the drive was replaced by the provider before any damage. Recently, the P3 was replaced by an Atom and the P4 by a VPS just due energy inefficiency as the hardware were running fine yet after much more than 5 years of continuous service.
    BTW it is not unusual to find dedicated providers offering P4 and old Xeons.
    Last edited by dotHostel; 04-30-2011 at 02:01 PM.
    You will only find out how good a provider is when the going gets tough

  9. #9
    I would say that 3-4 years is about how long it makes sense to keep a server running, just based on it becoming worthless in that timeframe.

    I would expect an average server wouldn't have too much problem physically lasting 4-6 years, which is longer than it's useful life anyway. Out of a dozen servers I might expect a couple hard drive failures and maybe one power supply failure.

    Motherboards are also likely to fail, but I would say you're most likely to either have to replace all of them or none of them in that timeframe . I.E. you bought a bad model of motherboard and / or you subjected it to dirty power, and so most of the boards are failing, or, you bought a solid reliable board model and / or subjected it to clean power, and so none or only one failed over the timeframe.
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  10. #10
    I think how long a server will actually last (motherboard and CPU) with replacing drives and power supplies as needed, and how long it will be useful for are two different questions. I have seen servers 10+ years old which were still working perfectly fine. However before the server hardware gives out most likely it will be outdated and you would have outgrown it (and need to upgrade to something more powerful) or will be able to replace with VM running on newer hardware which should be more reliable.

  11. #11
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    Some of the very first servers we bought (Pentium4 based mind you, so in some minds, "Desktop Computers") are still running eight years later.

    Our oldest active server (one that has been rented by the same customer non-stop) was installed in September 2004. Also a P4.

    I believe we have some old Dell PowerEdge, Dual P3s from my previous business still running. Those were purchased in 2000.

    As long as you use quality parts, they will last a good long while. But as they've said, hard drives are the first to die. We replace about 100 hard drives for every power supply or motherboard we have to replace.

    JoseQ

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedivad View Post
    I dont want to take into consideration the moore law, I know that it gets old
    In that case indefinitely. At least from a technological point of view. CPUs don't die for decades. Motherboards can suffer from leaky capacitors so they will last 10 years or so. PSUs and hard disks can die earlier. Depends on the quality with PSUs,mobos and its a case of luck with HDDs. So basically you can use the server until its so obsolete that a newer server would be cheaper to deploy.

    BTW I can prove the above. Just look at the number of providers selling pentium 4s. Those must be at least 5-6 years old.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedivad View Post
    Let's suppose that i buy a server with raid and a redundant ali.
    What's the standard life for one of these? 3 years? 5? 10?

    And do this change from vendor to vendor? Supermicro, Dell, IBM..

    Thank you.
    I generally depreciate my servers 2 - 4 years, but that does not mean you can't run them for longer if you really need to. We finally migrated a customer here who had the same server since 2003.

  14. #14
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    Big Thank you to everyone!

  15. #15
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    I just had a Supermicro server purchased in early 2007 failing one of the original harddrives (WD RE3 500GB) last week. With the aggravating facts that it has travelled the US back and forth already into multiple datacenters (Seattle - Houston, Houston - LAX, LAX - LAX, LAX - Miami, Miami - Miami, Miami - Miami (no, not crazy, it changed physical locations twice in LAX and three times in Miami, involving it bumping on a cart and car trunk between locations).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedivad View Post
    Let's suppose that i buy a server with raid and a redundant ali.
    What's the standard life for one of these? 3 years? 5? 10?

    And do this change from vendor to vendor? Supermicro, Dell, IBM..

    Thank you.
    I've got a HP 9000/735 workstation (99MHz/512MB that was made in 1993 and still works if I turn it on
    Maybe I'm lucky, but I suppose as long as the server is run in somewhat clean environment, no power surges happen and the inside is dusted off at times you can expect 5-7 years without problem. I'd figure lower cost boxes will die earlier when some of the capacitors dry out etc. Same goes for ultra-highend stuff which is just too complicated to run for long without issues.
    Check out my SSD guides for Samsung, HGST (Hitachi Global Storage) and Intel!

  17. #17
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    Capacitors can be substituted easily and cheaply, but then some people don't want to deal with fixing hardware at this level and simply want to substitute the whole thing. Depends much on cultural nuances and mentalities.

  18. #18
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    Dell PowerEdge 1800:

    12:20:42 up 1402 days, 22:14, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

    One of our original monitoring servers... So that is approaching 4 years of continuous operation.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cresci View Post
    Capacitors can be substituted easily and cheaply, but then some people don't want to deal with fixing hardware at this level and simply want to substitute the whole thing. Depends much on cultural nuances and mentalities.
    He asked how long it lives (by itself). With fixing it would go on forever
    Check out my SSD guides for Samsung, HGST (Hitachi Global Storage) and Intel!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLHost View Post
    Dell PowerEdge 1800:

    12:20:42 up 1402 days, 22:14, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

    One of our original monitoring servers... So that is approaching 4 years of continuous operation.
    He has a lot to do ... 0.00 anyway a 4 years uptime is something amazing!

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