Budgeting for Computer Hardware Replacement
Computer hardware and operating systems continue to evolve and need replacement due to old equipment and to meet new security standards. Sometimes it can come as a shock to see the expense involved in replacing office equipment. Computer hardware has a life expectancy, and operating systems are not supported indefinitely, so budgeting for replacement is a necessity.
Servers and workstations should be expected to last 5 years. An organization may choose to replace equipment more frequently, but generally no longer than that timeframe. As little as 15 years ago, a 3 year cycle was the norm for Windows based systems. Now, equipment can generally be expected to last longer. They may need replacement sooner, or may last longer in fortunate circumstances. However, the expectation should be 5 years; and that is helpful in determining a budget for this expense. An office may replace some equipment each year, or all at once; but allocating monetary funds should be done annually or even monthly. Plan for the eventual cost and try to keep abreast of current hardware pricing at least on an annual basis to avoid unpleasant surprises and adjust the budget as necessary. This reduces the burden of how to pay for new equipment when it is eventually replaced, and also grows a fund in case of equipment failure not covered by warranty before the scheduled replacement cycle.
Operating systems have a well-defined lifetime. These are generally broken into 5 year segments,