Server Decommissioning 101: Everything You Need to Know

Server Decommissioning 101: Everything You Need to Know

As with any piece of hardware, your servers will eventually come to the end of their lifespan. But what do you do with your server afterwards? How do you remove it from your systems and ensure everything remains stable and secure in the process?

This process is known as server decommissioning and is vital to consider whenever you take servers out of your organisation, as failing to do so will leave your company with lots of challenges and risks.

In this article, we’re going to go over the basics of server decommissioning and discuss the best ways to go about it, as well as some of the challenges that you might encounter along the way.

What is Server Decommissioning?

Server decommissioning is the process of removing a server from your infrastructure. This might seem as simple as turning the server off and calling it a day, but the whole process is much bigger than that.

There are a few reasons as to why:

  • Security: A server improperly disconnected from your network can leave security vulnerabilities, meaning that you need to be careful to ensure that any holes are patched as you take that server out of your organisation.
  • Data: Your servers may have important data on them, meaning that you’ll have to make sure that all of the data is taken off of the servers before unplugging them, otherwise risk losing it.
  • Stability: Just removing a server from your infrastructure could cause the whole of your infrastructure to work less optimally or even become unstable — part of the process of decommissioning is working out what to replace that server with.

To ensure all of this is done correctly, the process of decommissioning a server can be expected to take from two to three weeks — in which the whole process of backing up, removing, and replacing the server is completed.

It may seem like a lot of overhead for a simple server. This might make the process of upgrading your servers seem unattractive. But, this is a vital part of the server lifecycle, as upgrading your hardware will become inevitable as your hardware becomes both outdated and worn out.

Ultimately, this is because your hardware will eventually reach the end of its life. It’ll leave vulnerabilities and inefficiencies within your organisation due to this, and so failing to upgrade your hardware when required will have a detrimental effect, making server decommissioning something that you’ll have to do, as long as you’re using on-premise hardware for your servers.

This is why lots of organisations are looking towards the cloud as the future of servers within their organisation. After all, the cloud removes the need to maintain your own server hardware and lets you simply pay for the service of using well-maintained, up-to-date servers at your provider’s data centre.

Best Practices for Decommissioning a Server

When decommissioning your server, several steps are essential to the process. Making sure that you’re familiar with the process before undertaking it is paramount, as decommissioning your server ineffectively can lead to lots of problems —

  • Planning and scheduling of milestones: It may seem like a simple process, but planning and scheduling milestones of what to expect is important. Keeping track of this is the only way to know that the decommissioning process is going as planned.
  • Backing up data and license details: Ensuring that your data is taken off of the server and stored safely is part of the reason why the decommissioning process takes place. However, ensuring that you keep track of any license details to use with the new hardware that’s replacing your current server is also important.
  • Removing all data and information: This step will wipe the hardware of all information, to ensure that it can be disposed of correctly.
  • Taking the server off the network: Taking the server off of your network infrastructure so it can be ready to be shut down is vital, so don’t just pull the plug on your server hardware without checking this first.
  • Unplugging your hardware: This is the final step, and will be the end of the process. Remove your hardware, and get ready to start the lifecycle again.

Making sure to do this at a time of relative ease for your organisation is also important. After all, adding more stress to a stressful period is just a net negative for everyone, whereas doing this during a peaceful time means that you can solve problems as they arise.

Common Challenges

The process of server decommissioning can have lots of complications and challenges, and being aware of these is also vital —

  • Time consumption: Server decommissioning is time-consuming and the whole process of replacement could take weeks or even months.
  • Administration: Between firewall management and network management, network administration during decommissioning can be a strenuous and confusing process — and getting it wrong could be disastrous.
  • Personnel: Server decommissioning takes up resources and personnel, meaning that those people won’t be able to spend that time working on other important tasks.

All of these are simply the downside of on-premise hardware and the reason that the cloud is such a popular option nowadays.

How We Can Help

The process of server decommissioning is a vital part of your servers’ lifecycle, as failing to do so could mean that you open the door to lots of vulnerabilities, inefficiencies, and errors. Following the process of server decommissioning will allow you to easily ensure that you’re not left with any problems or gaping holes in your systems in the long term.

If you want to move away from restrictive on-premise hardware and take the first step towards the cloud, reach out to us today. Our experts are here to help and will guide you through the entire process, providing you with support and a helping hand along the way.

Contact us now and see how we can help.