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How long do servers usually last?

I know there are many factors involved to determine the life expectancy of a server. As far as I know it is guaranteed for 3 years but a server can live much longer after the official warranty before it become faulty. So I if you think the question is subjective, let's put it this way: In average, for how long did you have your Dell Poweredge R200 (or any server of the same family) before a fault appeared in some hardware? And what hardware was that?

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marked as duplicate by Jim B, Ward, coredump, GregD, Iain Apr 20 '11 at 6:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I will. Actually you are the second to remind me, but I would not hesitate to accept helpful answers :) – alfish Apr 20 '11 at 1:46
While the above links are certainly relevant and can be useful, but I think my question still worth stay separately because it narrows down the scope. – alfish Apr 20 '11 at 10:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Anecdotally-speaking, for a general-purpose Dell/HP/IBM server in a consistently-cooled/powered environment, you'll either have something fail right away within the first day/week like RAM (usually right away), PSU(s), or hard drives perhaps within a few months, followed more rarely by RAID controller/motherboards several years after deployment (blown caps; was an issue several years ago with some boards manufactured by one particular Taiwanese firm IIRC).

Again, I'm grossly generalizing here, but the stuff that goes wrong during manufacture/assembly will usually crop up shortly after deployment. For example, harddrives, well, I haven't had a drive from a Dell server fail on me in over two years (over a dozen servers of various size); had bad RAM shipped twice in that time, but the instability was picked up right away and threw an error on the LCD diagnostics. Had a bad PSU once that I can remember, but that server closet room was an embarrassment with faulty grounds and old dead UPSes.

Having said that, I have many many old servers (Pentium II/III vintage) with SCSI drives that still POST and run Windows 2000/Linux stable.

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Thanks gravyface for sharing your experience. – alfish Apr 20 '11 at 1:44
I'd just add that in the 5~10 years range you should expect (at least IMHO) hard drives to be the most problematic parts, but they are easily replaceable. Then usually the second most failing stuff (still IMHO) are DIMMs. I do have all my PowerEdge SC1425 (R200~R300 grandparents) working fine since 2008/2009 (24/7/365 in appropriate environments) but I replaced many harddisks and threw away some failed DIMMs. Another failure point are optical drives (CD/DVD) and you usually find out at the worst possible time when you have to reinstall something now from an optical disk :) – Luke404 Aug 28 '13 at 13:53

We have a client with 3 R200's currently in use. Roughly 3 years old next month. None of them have had any hardware issues (drives, mobo, power, etc.).

We support a variety (20 or so) of other Dell rackmount servers purchased around that time. I recall 1 having a hard drive failure and 1 with a power supply failure. Overall very low hardware failure rates.

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well 3 years is still under warranty. My impression is that 4-5 years of healthy life is quite normal for a server of brand. Isn't it? – alfish Apr 20 '11 at 10:02
Yes, and we end up extending the replacement warranty for year 4 and 5 more often than not. – gravyface Apr 20 '11 at 12:43
@alfish - Yes, if there's no need to upgrade the hardware (for architecture or performance reasons) we usually extend it to 4 or 5 years. 5 years is my max though. I know Dell will extend some hardware warranties to a 6th year, but I don't let my clients do that. A lot changes in 5 years in the technology world. – user78940 Apr 20 '11 at 15:22

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