Business thinking - PC replacements



  • I've been asked to write up a proposal an reasoning for my hardware replacement thinking.

    Help me make it better please

    Explanation:
    Business wise we replace equipment under a few specific considerations:

    1. broken equipment
    2. new equipment is more efficient and will make workers more efficent
    3. prevent outage from equipment failure (due to age, error rate, etc)
    4. Updates to follow compliance are no longer available on current equipment

    As such it is my proposal that we do not replace any equipment until one of these conditions is met.

    Our last major hardware refresh, 3 years ago, was because of #4. Windows XP was no longer going to receive updates. So to stick in generally accepted compliance, we replaced our 7 year old computers instead of upgrading the Windows OS with a supported version.
    Microsoft has indicated that Windows 10 is the last desktop OS they will be releasing. Instead MS is updating the OS going forward. I believe it's unlikely that we will run into a requirement to replace a massive amount of units due to #4 again.

    As units age, we can budget yearly for x% of units to be replaced, but not spend the capital until the actual need arises. Under this plan, we could easily accrue several years worth of replacement budgets before spending the bulk of those budgets based on #3 above.

    The end result could lead to the same thing that happened 3 years ago, a massive spend in a single year. But we would be planning for this possibility by accruing funds for just such a situation.

    As a side note, IT maintains 2-3 laptops and 2 desktops as spare units to replace failed units same day. There should be few situations where a user's damaged device can't be replaced in the same day, often the same hour.



  • Assuming the above is generally accepted -

    @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    As units age, we can budget yearly for x% of units to be replaced, but not spend the capital until the actual need arises. Under this plan, we could easily accrue several years worth of replacement budgets before spending the bulk of those budgets based on #3 above.

    I feel this section should have a specific time frame listed for when machines should be replaced. I'm thinking 7 years seems good.

    The original fleet of laptops was replaced at 7 years. This really was probably 1-2 years longer than it should have been, but considering the users, I'm not sure new devices would have really provided much improved efficiency, but at 7 years, processes were definitely noticeably faster with the new computers.



  • How are you going to confirm the funds are there available when you need them? Budgets flow, and just because you don't use the money in one budget year, doesn't mean its there just sitting in a desk drawer waiting to be spent. .



  • @dustinb3403 said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    How are you going to confirm the funds are there available when you need them? Budgets flow, and just because you don't use the money in one budget year, doesn't mean its there just sitting in a desk drawer waiting to be spent. .

    In real businesses that do accrual, yes it does mean that.



  • To me 7 years seems a bit over the top / long in the tooth for a laptop. The Dell laptops we used at my last job were good for about 5 years before they started developing issues.



  • @dafyre said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    To me 7 years seems a bit over the top / long in the tooth for a laptop. The Dell laptops we used at my last job were good for about 5 years before they started developing issues.

    Which is one of the reasons I talk about starting the accrual process at year 3.

    But even so - one of the issues my boss is trying to avoid is the need to replace machines in huge amounts all at once. But really because they were all originally purchased all at once, I would expect the majority of them to be replaced at roughly the same time if they are being replaced under #3.

    We have roughly 110 machines. 40 or so were replaced 3 years ago. There has been very little PC turn over in the mean time (I think I've purchased maybe 10 computers since then) So let's assume 50% of my fleet is less than 4 years old, and the rest are more. I'm already looking at 50+ machine likely needing to be replaced in less than 2 years, and laptops again (those 40) will likely need to be replaced between 2-4 years.



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dafyre said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    To me 7 years seems a bit over the top / long in the tooth for a laptop. The Dell laptops we used at my last job were good for about 5 years before they started developing issues.

    Which is one of the reasons I talk about starting the accrual process at year 3.

    But even so - one of the issues my boss is trying to avoid is the need to replace machines in huge amounts all at once. But really because they were all originally purchased all at once, I would expect the majority of them to be replaced at roughly the same time if they are being replaced under #3.

    We have roughly 110 machines. 40 or so were replaced 3 years ago. There has been very little PC turn over in the mean time (I think I've purchased maybe 10 computers since then) So let's assume 50% of my fleet is less than 4 years old, and the rest are more. I'm already looking at 50+ machine likely needing to be replaced in less than 2 years, and laptops again (those 40) will likely need to be replaced between 2-4 years.

    Instead of starting the accrual process at year three, why not just schedule to upgrade 25 computers a year or something?



  • @dafyre said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dafyre said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    To me 7 years seems a bit over the top / long in the tooth for a laptop. The Dell laptops we used at my last job were good for about 5 years before they started developing issues.

    Which is one of the reasons I talk about starting the accrual process at year 3.

    But even so - one of the issues my boss is trying to avoid is the need to replace machines in huge amounts all at once. But really because they were all originally purchased all at once, I would expect the majority of them to be replaced at roughly the same time if they are being replaced under #3.

    We have roughly 110 machines. 40 or so were replaced 3 years ago. There has been very little PC turn over in the mean time (I think I've purchased maybe 10 computers since then) So let's assume 50% of my fleet is less than 4 years old, and the rest are more. I'm already looking at 50+ machine likely needing to be replaced in less than 2 years, and laptops again (those 40) will likely need to be replaced between 2-4 years.

    Instead of starting the accrual process at year three, why not just schedule to upgrade 25 computers a year or something?

    The problem with that is - why spend money replacing PCs/laptops that are still working? isn't this a waste of money?

    For example, yes I have 50+ machines today that are just at 5 years or so in age. But they are working fine. Looking over my current fleet, I have around 6 PCs that long in the tooth and I'm looking at replacing them very soon (in fact just waiting for the users to squawk even a tiny bit - bam, new computer), replacing them beforehand seems like a waste.

    I asked the same about replacing my WiFi setup a few years ago. Around here most everyone said - what happens when your 7+ year old WiFi system fails? what's your DR? I said - BB and buy a few junk home WiFi to get by then replace with Unifi ASAP. The MLers said - then do nothing until it fails.
    So I sat for another 2 years and to keep from having an emergency outage of WiFi (and to upgrade from 802.11G - yep not even N - to AC) I replaced our now 9 year old WiFi setup with a Unifi one. To me this was #3 in action.



  • @dashrender So are you playing catch up all the time? I would rethink this. It is like not being proactive at all (Not saying you are not being proactive, I am pretty sure you have asked many times for changes all the time).

    I would say devices should be changed when warranty is expiring or there is no more renewals for warranty.



  • @dbeato said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender So are you playing catch up all the time? I would rethink this. It is like not being proactive at all (Not saying you are not being proactive, I am pretty sure you have asked many times for changes all the time).

    I would say devices should be changed when warranty is expiring or there is no more renewals for warranty.

    I don't warranty PCs beyond the default. It's totally not worth it.

    10 years when I bought our full new fleet I took a gamble that completely paid off. Just the default 1 yr warranty. The cost of the warranty for 3 years was the same as 10 additional machines. I bought 2 extra machines. Inside that 3 yr timeframe I only used one of those extras machines.

    The machines I bought three years ago with 1 year warranty, only lost one since then. Warranty is now over we just coast the remaining time out replacing here or there as needed until they age out at 5-7 years.



  • @dustinb3403 said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    How are you going to confirm the funds are there available when you need them? Budgets flow, and just because you don't use the money in one budget year, doesn't mean its there just sitting in a desk drawer waiting to be spent. .

    That's not his problem. That's his boss' problem. It's her mistake to make, her price to pay.



  • I don't understand the Windows 10 "last version we will release" logic. We are already past that and new versions past Windows 10 have been released. Windows 10 might be the last prefix used, but we already know that it wasn't the last OS and a totally new OS version is already out in preview for server and we know that that will be reflected in the client as well.

    What issue with XP will be resolved with Windows 10? I see all of those risks continuing just as before. You will still have old version that get old and you still risk not keeping your systems up to date.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    I don't understand the Windows 10 "last version we will release" logic. We are already past that and new versions past Windows 10 have been released. Windows 10 might be the last prefix used, but we already know that it wasn't the last OS and a totally new OS version is already out in preview for server and we know that that will be reflected in the client as well.

    But not in the name or license of a new version. We'll get those new updates/features for free as an upgrade to Windows 10

    What issue with XP will be resolved with Windows 10? I see all of those risks continuing just as before. You will still have old version that get old and you still risk not keeping your systems up to date.

    That's not true. Assuming MS keeps it's printed word, there won't be a Windows 11, or Windows 2020 for the desktop (though I do expect MS to drop the number portion at some point). So the next thing we do have to worry about is MS dropping hardware support from an update. At which point we do actually kind of run into ol' XP issue I was mentioning - i.e. you need to remain supported, but support on that version of Windows 10 is no longer getting updates, and your hardware prevents updates, so you must replace hardware to get newer/supported version of Windows 10.

    I did consider this while writing my OP, I just opted to leave it out until called upon.



  • OK @scottalanmiller so outside of the picking on one point - how do you like the rest of the writeup? What would you change?

    What is your hardware replacement strategy going to look like for your new company?



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    But not in the name or license of a new version. We'll get those new updates/features for free as an upgrade to Windows 10

    This is the key point on why it can be considered completely different than XP. There is no new licensing thing to drive a hang on to XP or to drive a disaster of an upgrade.

    The system is designed to be an in place upgrade and be basically transparent to the end user.



  • Dell's desktop (and probably laptop) life-cycle is basically 5 years. AFAIK,they won't warranty Optiplex desktops past 5 years. I am in the middle of my second PC refresh here and we are replacing desktops that are between 5 and 6 years old. In my case, it is the Optiplex 390 series that are EOL.



  • @wrx7m said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    Dell's desktop (and probably laptop) life-cycle is basically 5 years. AFAIK,they won't warranty Optiplex desktops past 5 years. I am in the middle of my second PC refresh here and we are replacing desktops that are between 5 and 6 years old. In my case, it is the Optiplex 390 series that are EOL.

    Is there anything wrong with them? i.e. are they failing a lot? are they no longer up to the task?



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @scottalanmiller said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    I don't understand the Windows 10 "last version we will release" logic. We are already past that and new versions past Windows 10 have been released. Windows 10 might be the last prefix used, but we already know that it wasn't the last OS and a totally new OS version is already out in preview for server and we know that that will be reflected in the client as well.

    But not in the name or license of a new version. We'll get those new updates/features for free as an upgrade to Windows 10

    Same as you had before if you had SA, used anything other than Windows or just paid for updates. Issues causing people to fall behind are often caused by people simply not caring, having some paranoia keeping them from allowing updates or a technological limitation that kept them stuck at some level. Those things will remain.



  • My point with that is that #4 would still happen, likely just the same. Your machines were around for seven years and stopped being able to reasonably run the current OS. So they got too far out of date. So if you try to keep hardware for a really long time, #4 will continue to be a problem.



  • @jaredbusch said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    But not in the name or license of a new version. We'll get those new updates/features for free as an upgrade to Windows 10

    This is the key point on why it can be considered completely different than XP. There is no new licensing thing to drive a hang on to XP or to drive a disaster of an upgrade.

    The system is designed to be an in place upgrade and be basically transparent to the end user.

    I feel like this is unlikely. So far we've seen only "in between" kernel version updates. MS is going to want the ability to update the interface, make big changes and so forth. Ubuntu offers, and has always offered, this "continuous small updates with no cost" model, and yet we see people running Ubuntu 12.04 regularly. There is something about "not updating" that intrigues a lot of people.



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    That's not true. Assuming MS keeps it's printed word, there won't be a Windows 11, or Windows 2020 for the desktop (though I do expect MS to drop the number portion at some point). So the next thing we do have to worry about is MS dropping hardware support from an update. At which point we do actually kind of run into ol' XP issue I was mentioning - i.e. you need to remain supported, but support on that version of Windows 10 is no longer getting updates, and your hardware prevents updates, so you must replace hardware to get newer/supported version of Windows 10.

    Right. The NAME isn't going to keep changing, except it already does, of course. The only OS that doesn't is openSuse Tumbleweed. Windows 10, Windows 10 Anniversary, Windows 10 Creator, etc. Two OSes following Windows 10 have already released. They are smaller releases, but releases nonetheless. All MS has done is tacked a "10" onto the name of Windows. It's no long Windows version 1, 2, 3, etc., the product is just Windows 10 version 1, 2, 3, etc. We've just made the base name longer and changed the versions to confusing things like "Anniversary" and "Creators". Nothing real has changed (other than licensing for non-SA users) and the issues of people not updating, and hardware support being only in certain versions remains.



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    What is your hardware replacement strategy going to look like for your new company?

    Might just be Chromebooks. Use 'em till they drop.



  • @dashrender Yes. They have random issues. PSU, RAM, HDD, MOBO. It takes time to diagnose and swap things out. Also, they are quite slow these days. Sure, I could throw in an SSD but I would still have the other issues as ticking time bombs. Newer machines tend not to have these problems.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    That's not true. Assuming MS keeps it's printed word, there won't be a Windows 11, or Windows 2020 for the desktop (though I do expect MS to drop the number portion at some point). So the next thing we do have to worry about is MS dropping hardware support from an update. At which point we do actually kind of run into ol' XP issue I was mentioning - i.e. you need to remain supported, but support on that version of Windows 10 is no longer getting updates, and your hardware prevents updates, so you must replace hardware to get newer/supported version of Windows 10.

    Right. The NAME isn't going to keep changing, except it already does, of course. The only OS that doesn't is openSuse Tumbleweed. Windows 10, Windows 10 Anniversary, Windows 10 Creator, etc. Two OSes following Windows 10 have already released. They are smaller releases, but releases nonetheless. All MS has done is tacked a "10" onto the name of Windows. It's no long Windows version 1, 2, 3, etc., the product is just Windows 10 version 1, 2, 3, etc. We've just made the base name longer and changed the versions to confusing things like "Anniversary" and "Creators". Nothing real has changed (other than licensing for non-SA users) and the issues of people not updating, and hardware support being only in certain versions remains.

    Sure but unlike the past we have not seen any fees for these versions.

    This is/has been surprising, I expected something more like apple with Macs and like $20 for an upgrade. At least I heard that is what apple charges.



  • @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @scottalanmiller said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    That's not true. Assuming MS keeps it's printed word, there won't be a Windows 11, or Windows 2020 for the desktop (though I do expect MS to drop the number portion at some point). So the next thing we do have to worry about is MS dropping hardware support from an update. At which point we do actually kind of run into ol' XP issue I was mentioning - i.e. you need to remain supported, but support on that version of Windows 10 is no longer getting updates, and your hardware prevents updates, so you must replace hardware to get newer/supported version of Windows 10.

    Right. The NAME isn't going to keep changing, except it already does, of course. The only OS that doesn't is openSuse Tumbleweed. Windows 10, Windows 10 Anniversary, Windows 10 Creator, etc. Two OSes following Windows 10 have already released. They are smaller releases, but releases nonetheless. All MS has done is tacked a "10" onto the name of Windows. It's no long Windows version 1, 2, 3, etc., the product is just Windows 10 version 1, 2, 3, etc. We've just made the base name longer and changed the versions to confusing things like "Anniversary" and "Creators". Nothing real has changed (other than licensing for non-SA users) and the issues of people not updating, and hardware support being only in certain versions remains.

    Sure but unlike the past we have not seen any fees for these versions.

    This is/has been surprising, I expected something more like apple with Macs and like $20 for an upgrade. At least I heard that is what apple charges.

    Been free for years



  • @dashrender The only time they charge you for an upgrade is when you have an outdated Mac (in which you need a new Mac) or when you need an installer media (not needed recently).



  • @dbeato said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    @dashrender The only time they charge you for an upgrade is when you have an outdated Mac (in which you need a new Mac) or when you need an installer media (not needed recently).

    No, they charged for upgrades as recently as 2012. OS-X Mountain Lion was $19. The one before was $29. Prior to that it was more than $100.

    OS-X Mavericks in 2013 was the first free one.



  • @jaredbusch Yes, that is what I made the statement of Media Installer, every time I needed Mountain Lion I needed to buy a DVD through the Apple Store.



  • Do all your users do the same tasks? Can you justify replacing 20% of your computers to give the power users new machines? Then in year two or three trickle those computers down to other users and get the power users a new batch. That's what I do in CAD environments. The power CAD users always have fast machines and their two and three year old machines are plenty fast for normal office work.

    I like the continuous replacement model because you don't get bogged down in a replacement project for months. It's just a background task that entry level people can do.



  • @mike-davis said in Business thinking - PC replacements:

    Do all your users do the same tasks? Can you justify replacing 20% of your computers to give the power users new machines? Then in year two or three trickle those computers down to other users and get the power users a new batch. That's what I do in CAD environments. The power CAD users always have fast machines and their two and three year old machines are plenty fast for normal office work.

    I like the continuous replacement model because you don't get bogged down in a replacement project for months. It's just a background task that entry level people can do.

    I tend to be a fan of trickle down desktops as well. Takes more manual labour, but saves a ton on hardware investments. And it tends to create a chance for everyone to get regular updates instead of just some people.


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