Ghost servers – a drain on resources, or a missed opportunity?

Ghost servers coming in and out of focus

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018

According to one anecdotal estimate, as much as 20% of an ageing data center may be unused capacity. Nicknamed ‘ghost servers’, these systems are under-utilized – or perhaps even completely unused.

The issue of dead spend, budget allocated to keeping the lights on rather than strategic projects, is becoming increasingly important for the CTO. The more money that can be put towards digital transformation programs, the better able the business is to compete on the world stage. Which is why the CTO is always looking to cut costs related to older systems.

Under-used ghost servers are just one example of a potential saving that is being missed.

Don’t trash ghost servers just yet

According to many infrastructure specialists, there is just one correct way to deal with ghost servers. First, CTOs should conduct an audit to identify which servers are unused, or under-utilized. Second, these unused systems should be consolidated and retired as quickly as possible – they are nothing but a drain on resources.

Obviously this diagnosis is partially correct – an under-used system really is consuming power, rack space and administrative resources. And it does make sense to consolidate hardware to reduce waste. However ghost servers still have an important role to play – particularly as demand for capacity increases.

Back from the dead

Backed by a suitable maintenance and support contract, there’s no reason at all that ghost servers cannot be redeployed in a role where they do provide value. So instead of investing in brand new equipment to provide additional capacity, the CTO can use assets they already own. Which frees up even more cash for investment in other projects.

Ghost servers have a bad reputation – but they may still have a part to play in your business. To learn more about unlocking the hidden value of your ghost servers, please get in touch.