What is Server Recycling?
Whether you own your own data centre or rely on a third party provider to house your IT infrastructure, one common pitfall that most of us have experienced at some point is the accumulation of old and outdated hardware. Whenever there’s excess equipment lying around in a data centre, it takes up space and doesn’t bring value like new equipment would.
To keep things as up to date and fresh as possible, it’s important to replace old servers with new ones as often as possible. This helps maintain operational efficiency and also cut down maintenance costs. However, not every company and organisation can afford to purchase new servers on a regular basis, which is where server recycling comes into the picture.
What is Server Recycling?
Server recycling is the process of reusing older servers as active replacements for new ones. The process consists of two main parts:
The first part is to get rid of the old hardware and then, replace it with new hardware. The second part is to distribute the old hardware among various customers.
Pros of Server Recycling
- Cost-effectiveness – Server recycling has been proven to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency, compared to upgrading or replacing the entire hardware. While an overhaul of the entire infrastructure is costly, the process of reusing/recycling can be highly cost-effective.
- Environment-Friendly – Recycling used hardware can reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by a huge margin. Also, the process of recycling saves a lot of space in storage, which means you don’t have to purchase new hardware.
- Saves Resources – Another great advantage of server recycling is that it saves resources. Whenever an old server is replaced with a new one, the new hardware consumes more electricity and resources (e.g. cooling and power).
- Hardware Flexibility – Because recycling firms usually purchase used hardware with some residual value, they can try out new models to replace old ones without incurring additional costs. This way, you can keep your servers as flexible as possible.
- Reduces Risks – Recycling used servers creates a diverse and flexible pool of hardware. This significantly reduces the risk of any single server failing, which is a serious concern for large enterprises.
- Share the Wealth – One of the most important aspects of server recycling is that the firms that engage in the process share the wealth with their customers. Therefore, if your company’s server goes old and you make use of the recycling service, you get the value of the server back.
Cons of Server Recycling
- Risk of Loss – If you do not handle reuse/recycling of used hardware well, you may end up losing some of your hardware. Hence, it is important to have a well-defined recycling policy.
- More Costs – The cost of buying new hardware is high, but the cost of reusing/recycling used hardware is also high. Hence, you need to decide which option is more suitable for you based on your budget.
- Increased Energy Consumption – The process of reusing/recycling servers increases the energy consumption of the environment, compared to buying new hardware. So, if you are concerned about the rising cost of energy, you should not engage in server recycling.
- Increased Space Consumption – The same amount of hardware can serve many customers, as in such a case, the hardware will take up less space in a data center. However, the same amount of hardware will take up more space, when recycled.
- Hardware Disruptions – A technological disruption occurs in the business and you need to re-engineer your IT operations, you may end up with a pool of partially used hardware. Also, when the new model of hardware comes out, you will have to re-engineer your IT operations. This can be a huge headache.
How does Server recycling work?
Let’s say your company’s server goes old, and you decide to re-use it for as long as possible. How does this process work in practice?
First of all, you will have to hunt down your old servers and determine which ones need to be recycled and which ones can be re-used. You can do this by using the following methods:
- Perusing through the equipment inventory – You can take a look at the hardware inventory of your data center and see which servers are lying idle. If you spot a machine that’s nearing the end of its lifecycle, you can recycle it.
- Peeking into the server utilization – The next thing you can do is to peek into the utilization of your servers and see how much of the capacity they are currently utilising. If a machine is lying idle at 80% capacity, you can recycle it.
- Checking the power consumption of the machines – You can also take a look at the power consumption of your servers and see which ones consume more or less power. This will help you categorize the servers and decide which ones can be recycled and which ones you should re-use.
After you have sorted out which machines need to be recycled, you need to find a recycling firm to sell them to. This is a bit tricky, as the firms handling this process tend to keep a low profile and don’t advertise on billboards.
Why you should do Server Recycling?
There are many reasons to recycle your old servers, and here are some of them:
- Maintain Operational Efficiency – Anytime you bring new hardware online, you have to train your employees on the new technology. Then, you have to repair the machines, etc. This process requires a lot of time and energy. If you reuse/recycle, you can skip the training part and just do the initial setup work.
- Hardware Flexibility – The same amount of hardware will serve many customers, as in such a case, the hardware will take up less space in a data center. However, the same amount of hardware will take up more space, when recycled.
- Faster Re-Engineering – Whenever a new technological disruption occurs in the business, you may end up with a pool of partially used hardware in your data center. The cost of re-engineering the IT operations after such a disruption is very high.
- Reduced Risks – The more diverse the pool of hardware, the lower the risk of any single machine failing, which is a serious concern for large enterprises.
How to do server recycling in data centers
If you are running a data centre on your own, then you have to follow these steps to do server recycling:
- Keep an inventory of your old and used hardware. This will help you in keeping track of what machines are lying idle.
- When an old machine approaches the end of its lifecycle, you have to discard it and recycle it.
- When a new machine is being purchased for your data centre, you have to keep an eye on the power consumption of the new machine. If it consumes more power than the new machines which have been re-used, then you have to purchase a new machine.
- When the new machine is being purchased, you have to keep an eye on the average power consumption of the new machine. If it consumes less power than the re-used machines, then you can go ahead and re-use it.
Server recycling is an essential part of modern data centre operations, as it helps you to save money and resources by re-using old hardware and reducing the risk of any single machine failing. In addition, the process saves space in storage and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.