Lenovo Accelerate Your 4- and 8-Socket Server Refresh Cycle Owner’s Manual

October 27, 2023

Accelerate Your 4- and 8-Socket Server Refresh Cycle


The server refresh cycle is the length of time that passes between installations of new servers and related hardware in a data center. Traditionally, refresh cycles have averaged 3-5 years. However, in some cases, 3 years is too long as application requirements in analytics and big data processing are requiring more than what the older server can handle.

Replacing servers and other critical hardware allows organizations to deploy updated equipment intended to improve performance, reliability, and take advantage of new software and hardware capabilities.

Refresh Planning Considerations

When considering and planning for a potential datacenter server refresh, several areas need to investigated and analyzed. Once you have a good understanding of the below areas you will be better prepared to communicate and justify the need for your server refresh. These include:

  • Understand specifications of your current servers
    Perform an IT audit and clearly catalog the processors, memory, I/O, storage and software running on the servers.

  • Understand business needs
    This includes the targeted applications, storage, I/O and processing power required. What is the expected benefit of the server refresh? This could be improved cost per performance, server consolidation, improved reliability or new advanced applications that the older servers couldn’t adequately handle. Are you outgrowing your data center space, cooling or power capabilities? Do you have new security or compliance requirements?

  • Understand industry upgrade cycles
    New and better processors are being launched almost yearly. The associated server hardware components (memory, adapters, storage) are continually improving themselves to keep in line with the latest processors. The OS vendors are updating their software to take advantage of the latest processor innovations. The hardware and OS vendors begin to drop support for older generation of servers.

Click here to check for updates

  • Understand thecost of maintaining older servers
    Take into account the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of maintaining the older servers. The associated cost to run and maintain your older servers are numerous. This includes hardware maintenance fees, software maintenance fees, network expenses, power and facilities cost. Older hardware means complicated breaks, stalling, and lagging, so just to keep the device from completely breaking down, you will have to keep patching and fixing, which is expensive. Server warranties typically expire after 3 years of purchase. Extended warranties can be expensive. New systems will be easier and less likely to break down, come with a new three-year warranty and have a lower TCO.

  • Understand performance declines
    Applications are based on the current hardware specifications to take advantage of technology advancements. Therefore, aging equipment will slow down applications running on them causing inherent performance drops. The relative performance really starts to drop by year 3 and 4 of server’s lifecycle.

  • Understand security & compliance
    Security hackers are now more sophisticated than ever. As your server hardware ages, hackers have had more opportunity to break past the security guards. Meanwhile, the latest firmware and patching updates constantly applied. This process can be cumbersome and time intensive, as you have to ensure hardware and application compatibility. This process gets harder the older as your server becomes older.

In addition to security holes, you have to make sure that all your systems comply with regulatory requirements. By simply always patching and fixing, you are creating a suboptimal solution to meet those standards, and you are constantly treading on the border of being out of compliance.

  • Understand your virtualization requirements
    More virtual machines running on fewer physical servers will reduce facility cost, power consumption, support cost and maintenance cost. However, virtualization on a large scale can demand powerful servers that far exceed the capabilities of the older servers in terms of memory, processing power and fast I/O.

  • Understand increased RAS capabilities of new servers
    The cost of downtime, especially running business critical or mission critical application is very high. New servers have the latest Reliability Availability and Serviceability (RAS) features.

  • Understand that new applications and IT trends might require new servers
    New servers might be required, not an option to run the latest decision support, in-memory database, data analytics, data mining or OLTP. Most of the workloads require high degrees of memory and processor capabilities.

Case Study -­ Refreshing older 4 Socket Servers with ThinkSystem SR950

A case study was performed where a company replaced 20 of their older HPE DL580 servers with four new ThinkSystem SR950 4S servers. The study found that the ThinkSystem SR950 servers would deliver a Return on Investment (ROI) of 392%, an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 124%, four-year total savings of 70% and Payback period of 10 months.

Significant case study savings were found in these areas:

  • Hardware Maintenance -­ 93% savings
    To maintain the server hardware, the annual maintenance cost is a significant expense. Replacing 20 of the HPE servers with only four of the ThinkSystem servers saves $265,519 or 93% in hardware maintenance cost.

  • Software Maintenance ­- 80% savings
    For both the old HPE systems and new ThinkSystem SR950 systems, the company uses Microsoft Windows 2016 Datacenter and VMware VSphere Enterprise. Replacing 20 of the HPE servers with only four of the ThinkSystem servers saves $617,040 or 90% in software maintenance cost.

  • Network Cost -­ 80% savings
    Replacing 20 of the HPE servers with only four of the ThinkSystem servers saves $960 or 80% in power and facility cost. Network equipment cost for the current HPE server infrastructure and the new ThinkSystem SR950 infrastructure over the four-year period.

  • Power and Facility Cost ­- 70% savings
    The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 and HPE DL580 servers both require 4U of standard rack space. Replacing 20 of the HPE servers with only four of the ThinkSystem servers frees up 64U of rack space in the datacenter and saves $46,120 or 70% in power and facility cost.

Case Study ­- Refreshing older 8 Socket Servers with ThinkSystem SR950

A similar case study was performed where a company replaced 8 of their older HPE DL980 servers with 2 new ThinkSystem SR950 8S servers. The study found that the ThinkSystem SR950 servers would deliver a Return on Investment (ROI) of 319%, an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 103%, four-year total savings of 71% and Payback period of 11 months.

Significant case study savings were found in the same areas as the 4S case study but with the following results:

  • Hardware Maintenance ­- 93% savings
  • Software Maintenance -­ 95% savings
  • Network Cost ­- 80% savings
  • Power and Facility Cost ­- 84% savings
Why the ThinkSystem SR950?

Here are a few reasons to use the ThinkSystem SR950 for your 4S or 8S server refresh:

  • Performance
    The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 continues its dominance of data center performance by increasing the total #1 World Record benchmarks to 77 (as of September 14, 2018). This outstanding performance is achieved with configurations ranging from 3S, 4S, 6S and 8S and a variety of workloads ranging from Big Data Analytics to Infrastructure Virtualization.

Read more in the article ThinkSystem SR950 Performance Leadership Continues

  • Usability
    In the data center, a server’s usability is very important to support installation, maintenance and upgrade activities. The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 provides a high level of usability in the system design. The overall design of the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 is based on a modular service model where access is from the front and rear only. This means that nearly all parts can be removed from the front or rear of the system, even parts that are located in the center of the machine (e.g., fans, memory DIMMs, and processors)

Read about the Usability in the Design of the SR950 .

  • Configuration Flexibility
    The SR950 can be configured from 2S to 8S, from 24 DIMM slots to 96 DIMMs slots and from three PCIe slots on the main system board to up to 14 PCIe slots with risers. Some configurations support a max of 12 storage bays and six NVMe while others support a maximum of 24 storage bays and 12 NVMe. The SR950 supports three series of Intel Scalable Processors (5100 Series, 6100 Series and 8100 Series) each of which provides varying levels of capabilities and performance.

Read about the SR950 Server Configurations.

  • Reliability
    Server downtime is very costly to enterprises, especially business or mission critical workloads. Always-on has become a global requirement and affects almost every aspect of our lives. The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 contain multiple levels of RAS capabilities to ensure the servers maintain the highest level of Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS).

Read about the RAS Features of the SR950 .


Once you understand your current situation and the associated TCO cost savings, it can be simple to justify refreshing your older 4S or 8S servers to the ThinkSystem SR950.

Further reading

For further reading, see these resources

This article is one in a series on the ThinkSystem SR950 and SR850 servers:

About the author

Randall Lundin is the Mission Critical Product Manager in the Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group. He is responsible for managing and planning Lenovo’s 4-socket and 8-socket servers. Randall has also authored and contributed to numerous Lenovo Press publications in the Mission Critical space.

Related product families

Product families related to this document are the following:


Lenovo may not offer the products, services, or features discussed in this document in all countries. Consult your local Lenovo representative for information on the products and services currently available in your area. Any reference to a Lenovo product, program, or service is not intended to state or imply that only that Lenovo product, program, or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program, or service that does not infringe any Lenovo intellectual property right may be used instead. However, it is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other product, program, or service. Lenovo may have patents or pending patent applications covering subject matter described in this document. The furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents. You can send license inquiries, in writing, to:

Lenovo (United States), Inc.
8001 Development Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560
Attention: Lenovo Director of Licensing

LENOVO PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Some jurisdictions do not allow disclaimer of express or implied warranties in certain transactions, therefore, this statement may not apply to you.

This information could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically made to the information herein; these changes will be incorporated in new editions of the publication. Lenovo may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described in this publication at any time without notice.

The products described in this document are not intended for use in implantation or other life support applications where malfunction may result in injury or death to persons. The information contained in this document does not affect or change Lenovo product specifications or warranties. Nothing in this document shall operate as an express or implied license or indemnity under the intellectual property rights of Lenovo or third parties. All information contained in this document was obtained in specific environments and is presented as an illustration. The result obtained in other operating environments may vary. Lenovo may use or distribute any of the information you supply in any way it believes appropriate without incurring any obligation to you.

Any references in this publication to non-Lenovo Web sites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those Web sites. The materials at those Web sites are not part of the materials for this Lenovo product, and use of those Web sites is at your own risk. Any performance data contained herein was determined in a controlled environment. Therefore, the result obtained in other operating environments may vary significantly. Some measurements may have been made on development-level systems and there is no guarantee that these measurements will be the same on generally available systems. Furthermore, some measurements may have been estimated through extrapolation. Actual results may vary. Users of this document should verify the applicable data for their specific environment.

© Copyright Lenovo 2022. All rights reserved.

This document, LP0849, was created or updated on October 17, 2018.

Send us your comments in one of the following ways:

Use the online Contact us review form found at:
Send your comments in an e-mail to:

This document is available online at https://lenovopress.lenovo.com/LP0849.


Lenovo and the Lenovo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Lenovo in the United States, other countries, or both. A current list of Lenovo trademarks is available on the Web at https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/legal/copytrade/.

The following terms are trademarks of Lenovo in the United States, other countries, or both: Lenovo®

The following terms are trademarks of other companies:

Intel® and Xeon® are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

Microsoft®, SQL Server®, and Windows® are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

Accelerate Your 4- and 8-Socket Server Refresh Cycle


Read User Manual Online (PDF format)


Download This Manual (PDF format)

Download this manual  >>

Lenovo User Manuals

Related Manuals