When it comes to server upgrades, waiting around doesn’t get you anywhere. Today’s servers, powered by the latest Intel® Xeon® processors, are far more powerful and energy efficient than the previous generation. So you can quickly achieve higher ROI through improved utilization, reduced operational costs, and a more efficient IT team.

Find out what you should look for in your next server purchase in Server Success Checklist: 20 Features Your New Hardware Must Have.

Server Success Checklist: 20 Features Your New Hardware Must Have

x86 rack servers keep getting more powerful, more energy efficient, and easier to manage. This is making it worthwhile for many organizations to purchase new hardware to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) – even if their older servers aren’t yet ready for retirement.

Part of the reason for this phenomenon is the new generation of Intel® Xeon® processors, which offer significant performance improvements and are far more energy efficient than older generations. According to Forrester Research, infrastructure and operations professionals “may want to evaluate earlier upgrades of in-place servers to gain these efficiencies – especially those who’ve hit or will soon run into the power limits available to their racks but need more capacity.”

The additional cost of new server hardware can be distributed across many more workloads, and ROI can be quickly achieved not only through increased energy efficiency, but also through improved utilization, greater application availability and performance, reduced operational costs, and significant personnel efficiencies in the IT department.

Plus, waiting too long to purchase new server hardware can put your company at risk. Older devices often lack readily available replacement components and can be impossible to repair. What’s more, older servers typically fall under higher cost service contracts, which makes replacement a more cost-effective option.

According to the online site TechTarget, “The key is to identify when increased performance potential, energy efficiency requirements, and reduced risk of hardware failure will justify a new purchase.”

Making Smart Choices in Server Hardware When you’re ready to purchase new servers, you’ll want to choose devices with the following 20 features, broken down into four key categories.

1. Features to Help You Cut Costs

  • Energy Efficiency When shopping for servers, look for products with energy efficient features and components. For example, Lenovo servers feature 80+ Titanium power supplies and support operating temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius during continuous operation without impacting reliability. Additionally, Lenovo offers ThinkServer Energy Manager with our premium management package, providing power management for servers, enabling server density and data center capacity to be increased through the use of power capping.
  • Effortless Integration The last thing you want to do is find that your new servers don’t work with your existing tools, management consoles, and storage devices. Look for products like Lenovo ThinkServers featuring industry-standard, IPMI 2.0-compliant management interfaces and protocols for troublefree installation and integration. These servers are purposefully built to capitalize on best-in-class, industry-standard technologies, coupled with differentiated Lenovo innovations. Robust startup and configuration tools save you time and money on deployments.
  • Value Pricing Know what you’re getting with your hardware. When you don’t have to pay extra for premium features like advanced RAID, hot swap, rail kits, and Web-enabled remote management, you’re getting a much better hardware value.

2. Features to Help You Improve Performance

  • Multi-core Processors/Extra Memory Powerful processors improve application performance, and high memory bandwidth helps you successfully manage heavy node session traffic. Lenovo ThinkServer RD650 offers dual-socket Intel® Xeon ® E5-2600 v3 technology, which is significantly faster than previous generation servers. With up to 18 cores and 32 threads per socket as well as up to 768 GB of DDR4 memory, you enjoy lightning-fast performance.
  • Advanced Storage Solutions Solid-state drives (SSDs) are popular with organizations that require extreme performance. Lenovo ThinkServers offer highly scalable SAS, SATA, and SSD storage choices, with enormous scalability up to 36 terabytes, to meet rapidly growing storage demands. These storage-rich servers feature an industry-unique Lenovo AnyBay® design, allowing multiple storage types in the same drive bay. In addition to the standard 3.5-and 2.5-inch hard drive chassis, the RD650 offers a unique hybrid option with nine 3.5-inch and six 2.5inch front-access drive bays in the front and two 2.5-inch drive bays in the back – ideal for creating a tiered storage environment. M.2 and SD card options are available, enabling flexible boot-drive choices.
  • Multiple Network Adapters Servers with multiple network adapters let you increase throughput by providing more than one connection to the same network, or by using a single server on several physically distinct networks. Greater flexibility gives you greater performance.
  • Virtualization Compatibility If you’re buying new servers for virtualization, make sure your new servers are compatible with your virtualization platform, applications, and operating systems. Lenovo, for example, has performed extensive compatibility testing with virtualization software from Microsoft®, Novell, Citrix®, VMware®, and RedHat.® In addition, the processors in Lenovo ThinkServers offer Intel Virtualization Technology. This hardware-assisted virtualization accelerates key functions of your preferred  virtualization platform.

3. Reliability Features to Help You Maximize Uptime

  • RAID Support for Local Disks RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is important for applications that leverage internal direct-attached storage that’s used for file, Web, database, and email applications. ThinkServer RAID controllers, for example, ensure maximum redundancy and data protection.
  • Other Built-in Redundancies and Hot Swap Capability Server power supplies, cooling fans, memory DIMMs, and hard drives can all be made redundant for maximum uptime. Lenovo gives you these redundancies, and gives you the ability to replace components on a running server without shutting it down.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) device can provide a lifesaving 15 to 30 minutes of emergency power if the main power fails.
  • Web-Based Management Tools New Web-based remote-management tools make it possible to manage your servers from anywhere. ThinkServer System Manager (TSM) is Lenovo’s integrated systems management technology standard on all next-generation ThinkServer systems. TSM operates independently of the server, providing hardware-based, out-of-band remote access and management to ThinkServer systems regardless of the server’s power state or the condition of the operating system. TSM provides important health and status information to system administrators, and enables administrators to remotely perform most functions that would otherwise require a visit to the server.
  • Tool-Free Maintenance Tool-less maintenance makes it easy for IT to access and upgrade internal components when necessary. Lenovo ThinkServers offer front-panel, Intelligent Diagnostics and extensive shared parts across platforms for easier servicing.
  • Well-designed Cooling System High thermal output is one of the most common sources of damage to computing devices. Ask vendors how they help manage this heat. Lenovo lowers thermal output with an innovative spread core board design and sophisticated cooling segmentations, with six zones to maximize efficiency.
  • Vibration and Shock Protection A bad fall can ruin a good server. Look for hardware that includes extra durability features to prevent unnecessary repairs and replacements. As an example, Lenovo offers robust chassis designs and drive carriers for outstanding resistance to vibration and shock.

4. Service and Support Features That Provide Peace of Mind

  • Rapid Response Options Make sure your vendor can provide the support you need when you need it, from wherever you need it. Lenovo offers a variety of options, including 4-hour onsite response time in a 24/7 service window and upgraded support offerings for large organizations.
  • Warranty Extensions Warranty extensions can help you budget for system expenses more accurately and match coverage duration with your expected server lifecycle. Lenovo gives you the option to extend your warranty beyond the normal term with a variety of fixed-term, fixed-price solutions.
  • Flexible Financing Large companies can often maximize purchasing power by financing technology assets. Unlike other vendors, Lenovo can help you finance your entire solution, from hardware and software to service contracts, installation, training, and sales tax. If you decide weeks or months  later to add to your solution, Lenovo can consolidate everything into  a single invoice and help you with department billing codes as needed.
  • One-to-One Servicing  Large accounts enjoy personalized attention from a dedicated Lenovo finance specialist from first invoice through asset return or purchase. This specialist – and a trained back-up person – develops an in-depth understanding of your preferences and processes for a high-quality, positive financing experience.

Conclusion
To get the best server hardware available, use the checklist above to ensure that the devices you purchase have the right features. Consider what the devices you like offer in terms of cost-cutting features, performance, reliability and support, and make sure you work with a vendor you can trust.

As you evaluate your options, be sure to consider the ThinkServer RD550 and RD650 from Lenovo. These powerful new servers give you everything you need to ensure the success of your organization’s operations. For more information on the complete Lenovo ThinkServer line, request a call from a ThinkServer specialist or go to http://shop.lenovo.com/smb/us/en/systems.