Every piece of equipment dies at some point. The question is; do you want to suffer the pain of unexpected equipment failure, or plan ahead to avoid the suffering?

IT Equipment Replacement Rule of Thumb

  1. Replace IT equipment very early whose failure would result in downtime for a large number of staff (2-3 years)
  2. Replace IT equipment early for things that result in downtime for multiple staff members (3-5 years)
  3. Replace IT equipment 1 year after the warranty expires for computers, laptops, tablets, and phones (4-6 years)
  4. Replace IT equipment when it starts to give you trouble for everything else (no more than 9 years)

Equipment that fall into category (1) are things like firewalls, backup batteries, routers, switches, and servers. When these pieces of hardware fail the entire campus/building/company could be down.

Equipment in category (2) are things like printers, wireless adapters, projectors, etc. where more than 1 person uses the equipment and a failure would be annoying but not debilitating.

Category (3) equipment are end user devices. A hardware failure in this category typically only affect the assigned user and there is generally no reason to replace theses any earlier than 1 year after the warranty is up.

Category (4) is other IT equipment that’s needed, but a failure has very little effect on day to day operations. This could be a lobby phone, wireless thermostat,┬ábar code scanner, surveillance camera, etc.

Technology Replacement Caveats

We recommend servers with a 6+ year functional lifetime. Even though they are category (1) devices (mission critical), they generally last several years.

A commercial grace UPS (uninterrupted power supply) will last 6 years. They typically require replacing the internal battery every 2 years.

How soon should I replace my equipment?

Every company and organization has to decide their own risk level when it comes to equipment failures. Remember, its not IF but WHEN. If unexpected network and computer downtime seriously affects your bottom line, then follow this replacement schedules.

If hardware failures and downtime isn’t an issue for your organization, then wait until things break before you replace them.