CIOs and IT managers are being challenged to increase the business value of their company’s existing investment in IT. One of the most effective ways to assist in addressing these challenges is to optimise the IT hardware refresh policy. A well-designed IT hardware refresh policy delivers a wide range of operational and financial benefits.


  • Reduces risk of incidents/outages
  • Reduces duration of outage incidents
  • Reduces IT infrastructure complexity through hardware standardisation
  • Adds new capabilities / functionality by using new hardware
  • Reduces security audit items by replacing unsupported hardware


  • Reduces IT infrastructure capital expense (CapEx) and operating expense (OpEx)
  • Increases the transparency of the IT budget and spend to business users
  • Improves visibility into future infrastructure investments
  • Centralises the funding of required infrastructure refresh investments

In addition to reducing operating expenses, significant hardware performance improvements can be realised through the proper and timely introduction of new devices. On a capacity and compute basis, hardware performance improvements are typically seen in the range of 30-50% and significantly contribute to the Operating Expense Impact Analysis.

Traditionally the refresh cycle has been driven by the “accounting useful life calendar”. However if we look to replace the traditional “accounting useful life calendar” with a more accurate set of “useful technical lives” we find ourselves with a powerful but often-overlooked way to impact a significant portion of IT’s capital and operating expense budgets.

IT hardware refresh cycles often vary greatly across technology towers, driven by factors such as:

  • Application requirements
  • Application roadmaps
  • Capacity planning and utilisation targets
  • Consolidation opportunities
  • Upgradeability of existing hardware components
  • Technology changes
  • Pricing changes
  • Reliability metrics

Using these drivers, a comprehensive policy will specify refresh cycles for the five (5) major technology towers:

  • Server,
  • Storage,
  • Network
  • Workstation, and
  • Security

As well as guidance on the categories within each technology tower (e.g. within servers, cycles for x86 and RISC architectures; within network, cycles for routers and switches).

With a rush of technology investment decisions on the horizon, broad implementation of server and storage virtualisation or PC upgrades to handle the next-generation of Windows, CIOs and IT managers that analyse their current infrastructure landscape and develop a hardware refresh roadmap provide their IT organisations with a framework to make decisions that drive the maximum business return out of tighter and tighter IT budgets.

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