Server hardware degradation is the gradual breakdown of the physical parts of a server.
There are several general areas where server degradation problems occur including power, temperature, management and memory. The electric components inside servers age over time, and heat sinks and fans get clogged with dust, reducing the server’s efficiency and performance.
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Server lifecycle management aims to mitigate the effects of hardware degradation by considering how and when servers should be replaced. Previously, IT teams would swap aging servers for new ones about every three years to avoid hardware failure. In the age of widely adopted server virtualization, though, server hardware often stays in production much longer. Clustering technologies, virtualization features like live migration and improvements in hardware itself are all contributing toward servers living longer than ever. With the possibility of added server longevity, server hardware maintenance becomes more important.
See also: graceful degradation