Is it time to refresh your Oracle infrastructure?

By Mark Benson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the rise of ‘Good Enough’ IT and the idea that in the current climate organisations may be looking to sweat their assets for longer than usual and why this is perhaps not the best idea. Well since I published the blog, I have spoken to a couple of companies about their architecture and one of the common threads in both conversations was that they both had legacy SPARC Solaris estates and they were a challenge for them to manage.

Now it is not uncommon to find pockets of legacy Oracle (or even Sun Microsystems) infrastructure within a customer’s data centre, and it is also not uncommon for those boxes to have been in situé for a long time. This is testament to the build quality of the servers and the reliability of Solaris as an operating system. But should you be moving onto a new modern platform? Well the simple answer is yes, and there are some good reasons to do so.

Firstly, let’s look at Solaris. The current version of Solaris is 11.4 but many people are still running Solaris 10, or even older versions. If you are running Solaris 10 and want to keep receiving patches and updates then you will need to pay Oracle for Solaris 10 support, which is on top of your current Premier Support costs. So why not move to a current version (which by the way is simpler to manage and has a wealth of fantastic new features)? Also, Solaris 10 will be end of life in January 2024, so from a risk and compliance perspective you need to be planning to move onto a current version - after all it will save you money on support.

Next there is the hardware itself. I have already covered off the reasons why you should refresh your infrastructure in my last blog, so I’m not going to cover that again. However, there are some costs that you may not be aware of that you need to be. Firstly, there is inflation - this is usually around a 3% to 4% uplift per year. So, if you buy a server with one year’s support, then the second year will be last year plus inflation. Now, you can avoid this by buying the support upfront, so if you write an asset off over five years, then buy five years upfront - but remember five years is the maximum that can be bought upfront.

Finally, there is the charge for aged hardware. Once a system has been onsite for five years (even if it is a current system), then the sixth year of support will have a charge for aged hardware applied at your renewal. This charge is a 15% uplift on top of your inflationary rise. Now at this point some of you will be thinking “typical Oracle”, but this is common in the industry as legacy boxes cost more to maintain, so it is not unusual to see an uplift in support as the box ages.

So, as you can see your reliable legacy architecture could end up costing you in the long run and sometimes it is cheaper to refresh rather that keep running the same old kit. If you are a company that has legacy systems and is not sure what to do, please drop me a line as there are many options available to you. The one I would not recommend is to do nothing!