Computer hardware lifecycles

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
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daddy-o-p40
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#41

Post by daddy-o-p40 »

We aren't due for new computers for just over two years now. I hope the replacement then will be closer to the leading edge of technology than the trailing edge like when we got the celerons with 256mb of RAM and 30gb PATA HDs.

Keep your fingers crossed.
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webarchitect-p40
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Schools change PC every after 3 years

#42

Post by webarchitect-p40 »

Well, personally I like keeping my PC for as long as possible because the cost of replacing it every after few years does not really pose a very big challenge for me since I only use it for surfing and checking news.

But I do know that several schools here in my state replace their PC's or parts for their PC's every after 3 years to comply with some accounting matter.
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mkmurray
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#43

Post by mkmurray »

webarchitect wrote:Well, personally I like keeping my PC for as long as possible because the cost of replacing it every after few years does not really pose a very big challenge for me since I only use it for surfing and checking news.

But I do know that several schools here in my state replace their PC's or parts for their PC's every after 3 years to comply with some accounting matter.
I wonder if it has to do with Depreciation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depreciation). Many companies take out the value of the computer hardware from their budget over its "lifetime" rather than just taking it all out at the inital purchase. The schools you are talking about may just have the same amount of funds dedicated to computer hardware every quarter or year. So to be consistent in their accounting practices, they replace the hardware after its financial lifetime is up.

This is all really just a guess; I took one business class during school and I think that's how they explained it.
jdlessley
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#44

Post by jdlessley »

This thread has been quite interesting. There are several questions regarding computer replacement issues that I would like to address.

In the corporate world there are many factors that should and, in many cases, are considered when replacing computer hardware and software. I have seen most of those touched on in this thread. Of course we have to consider the Church like a corporation because in terms of technology the exact same dynamics are involved. In the interest of brevity I will address only four of those factors.

The first factor in considering computer hardware is the life cycle. If you read the white papers for most computer systems, subsystems, and parts you will find a common engineering design factor listed. That is MTBF or mean time before failure. This factor is the lower boundary for testing reliability. You will find that if you do the math you can generally determine how long the piece of hardware was designed to last. That of course does not mean that failures will always occur at this point. It is just a measure against which the design and manufacture of a product is measured. I have seen some parts designed, manufactured and tested to against an MTBF as high as 120,000 hours and some even higher. 20,000 hours was typically the norm in the early years of computer technology because ANSI, American National Standards Institute, standards required it. When buying computer hardware you should want to know how long it is expected to last - at least I do and many corporations do.

The second factor is the market of change. There are some posts to this thread that describe the changing world of the market place in terms of software and hardware. A change in one generally effects a change in the other. Until the mid to late 1990's computer hardware set the limit for software designers. In those days there were few software packages that could take full advantage of the hardware's design capability because hardware development and production was always ahead of software development. But we see today that the demand for better software to meet specific needs and wants of end users has forced the dynamics between software and hardware to reverse. As you read computer technology periodicals and literature you will see that software demands significantly drive hardware changes. The corporate world has to consider the market of change to remain competitive. Therefore they should, and many do, plan for this in their corporate strategy.

You can see the Church has embraced technology as a tool to carry forward the Lord's work. We like any corporation therefore have to consider the market of change in developing our use of technology. The Church like many corporations does not necessarily dive into the latest and greatest hardware or software as soon as it hits the streets. Instead a good corporate strategy is to adopt proven and reliable technology in the interest of sound corporate economics to preserve the balance of cash flow. That is one reason why you see the Church buying what to some people would be, in terms of computer technology, two or three generations old equipment. But that has to be balanced against the potential to be so far behind that supportability costs exceed the economics of replacement.

What are the Church's needs in terms of computing technologies? Does it need the latest technology to perform the tasks they need or want done? These are two of many questions the Church and many corporations must deal with in making technology purchasing decisions.

Life cycle cost, the third factor, is strongly linked to the first factor of hardware life cycle and the second factor of market change. In economic terms every physical thing has a useful life and a cost associated with that life. It is called life cycle cost. There is the initial purchase cost and there is the cost of supporting and maintaining that purchase. When deciding to make a purchase a good corporate strategy is to place a value to the life cycle of that purchase. While to an individual this consideration seldom enters into our decision to make a purchase. Many people in their personal lives only consider their wants (or hopefully their needs) and the initial cost (or again hopefully their budget) with only brief thoughts of what the cost will be over the life of the purchase.

Depreciation is a method of accounting for the life cycle cost of a purchase. While the Church does not have to deal with the difficulties of depreciation in terms of taxes it does use depreciation in planning the replacement of computer systems.

The fourth factor is compatibility. For the purposes of this post I have rolled serviceability, interoperability and compatibility into one I will call just compatibility. There are many users of these forums that have IT backgrounds or similarly related technology backgrounds that will understand this factor. Can you imagine having a wide range of different computer systems and other related hardware, as well as software in a corporate office that vary in age and therefore capabilities and trying to keep them all communicating together; and maintaining them; and ... ? The more complicated this becomes the larger the IT staff and IT budget. Keeping the variables down in a corporate environment keeps the IT staff and IT budget down. The number of forums and the number of threads in these forums on lds.org will attest to the difficulties that confront an IT department even when compatibility is at the forefront of an IT plan.

I am sure that the Church considered all four factors I described above and many more in coming up with a service life of five (5) years for unit computers. Try coming up with a computer service live plan for an immense organization that is the most efficient and cost effective and you just might find that five years might be just the right number - at least in today's technological and economic environment.
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zabaki
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#45

Post by zabaki »

I have a question that kinda follow along with the lines of the questions asked here.

I have some Outreach Center computers (If you are not from Europa, I'm not sure if you know anything about the Outreach program), they are still with warranty, but they need more memory.

Does the church prefer ordering hardware only from Dell, or can I buy kingston?

So in short, is there a policy on upgrading hardware for computers?
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#46

Post by techgy »

zabaki wrote:I have a question that kinda follow along with the lines of the questions asked here.

I have some Outreach Center computers (If you are not from Europa, I'm not sure if you know anything about the Outreach program), they are still with warranty, but they need more memory.

Does the church prefer ordering hardware only from Dell, or can I buy kingston?

So in short, is there a policy on upgrading hardware for computers?
I upgraded memory in our computers in my stake (I'm the STS) and ordered it from a local computer shop. It doesn't matter where you obtain it. As long as it's compatible.
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#47

Post by russellhltn »

zabaki wrote:Outreach Center computers (If you are not from Europa, I'm not sure if you know anything about the Outreach program)
You're right. I've never heard of that. So I have no idea of the policy.

In general, I don't think the source of the memory matters. However, I have heard that Dells can be quirky - so order the memory from someone who knows you're putting it into that model Dell rather then going by just the specs.
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