We did a site visit to a potential new client today to do a survey of their network and look at what we will be supporting. Frankly, it was a hot mess. The complexity that existed was SUPER high for a business with around 25 employees. There was a TON of legacy systems that were all still on, still sucking power, and needing maintenance. We discovered that none of these systems are currently in use. They need to be turned off.
Why Don’t We Turn Stuff Off?
It’s becoming more and more common for me to see scenarios like this in the businesses I visit. At some point in the past (sometimes recent, sometimes ancient) they had servers that were in house running some function for the business. They moved that function to the cloud, or perhaps a SAAS application, but the server somehow remains.
Maybe they wanted to make sure the transition went smooth before they decommissioned the server. That’s understandable. Perhaps they needed access to the data in that legacy system for a while longer. That’s also possible. It could also be that you have a full-time IT employee that is trying to justify his existence by creating more servers to manage. None of these are good reasons to leave servers on. Once you’ve transitioned off the systems they should be shut off.
Everything has a cost
What business owners and executives don’t often think about is that maintaining those legacy systems has a cost. Power for each of those servers has a cost. Support for them has a cost. Backups have a cost. Just because you don’t get a separate bill doesn’t mean it’s not costing you anything.
Let’s take servers for an example. ZDNet does a pretty good job explaining the cost of power consumed by servers.
If the average use is 850 watts per hour, multiplied by 24 that equals 20,400 watts daily, or 20.4 kilowatts (kWh). Multiply that by 365 days a year for 7,446 kWh per year. According to the US Energy Information Administration (PDF), the average kWh cost for commercial use was 9.83 cents. So that means it would cost $731.94 to power a server for one year.
The client I visited today had 5 physical servers running around 20 Virtual Machines. That’s a cost of over $3500 per year in power alone. Paying someone to support those legacy systems, monitor them, and back them up will cost even more.
The Big Turn Off
The solution is to turn it off. All of it. Take inventory of all your servers and their main function. Are they currently in use? Do they have data that you need to save or archive? Are they systems that haven’t been touched for a long time?
If they aren’t in use, and don’t have data you need, turn them off. If you want to be safe, archive a copy of the server off onto an external HD first and call it a day. Once all the VM on a host have been decommissioned turn off the host and remove it from the rack. If the hardware is still good you may want to take the time to wipe your drives so you can resell it.
Part of efficient IT operations is knowing when it’s time to turn stuff off. Sometimes the work to properly decommission servers can be a barrier for IT teams. They are too busy putting out fires to take the time. If you take the time to understand the underlying costs, you’ll make the time to turn it off.
We Can Help
i.t.NOW are big proponents of efficient IT operations. If you have a big rat’s nest that needs to be evaluated and turned off, we can help. We’ll go through all your systems and help you determine what you need and don’t need. Then plan to streamline down to only essential systems. Less hardware is needed which lowers your costs, there is less to maintain which lowers support costs, and you can save a bunch on that power bill. Call us today for a big turn off!