If your company is strapped for cash, buying a new file server for $10K is a lot of money. But you might not have to shell it out all at once if you consider leasing or cloud computing. Although you ultimately end up paying more, going in front of the board and explaining an extra $300 per month expense for expanding your file server capacity is a lot more easy than asking for a “one time”, ten thousand dollar payout. And yes, you read the quotes right – in a few years, that $10K file server will be getting long in the tooth, and might even have completely broke down once or twice. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the uptime probably won’t improve over the next few years.
Having personally had experience with leasing, I can certainly vouch for agile investment planning. It will be easier for you to scale since leasing allows you to rapidly acquire the servers you need while your enterprise grows. The common 36 month leasing conditions happily coincides with the typical life-expectancy of most hardware. This means that by the time you own the hardware, you’re suddenly in the pleasant position to reinvest in additional, newer hardware (maintaining or even raising your uptime) or saving a few hundred bucks a month and let it run a few months longer.
Using leasing as a means to keep your hardware lean and mean does have the negative side effect of turning over a lot of servers. What to do with all that old, “risky” hardware? If you don’t have any test or development environments which could use it (but look again, because every department could certainly use an additional server), consider donating it to a local school or university.
Whether you lease or hook up to the cloud, John Allspaw points out there will come a time for the next level. Once that $10k doesn’t look like the world anymore, save yourself some trouble and cash and start buying outright.