Pay Attention to Cost
Costs can vary significantly depending on the approach used. The best processes don't come cheap, and may not be necessary. Sometimes, it is financially prudent to look at options other than the total destruction and recycling of the server. Redemtech and PCdisposal.com, of example, will repurpose servers, if feasible, or resell them to others and use the proceeds to reduce the final price.
"Whatever value we can recapture for old equipment, we split the proceeds 50-50 with the client," said Bostwick.
Other economic factors to consider are the costs of having internal IT staff deal with the problem, storage facility costs, transportation costs, and the potential bill from a resulting security threat.
Let Data Security Determine Ultimate Destination
Speaking of security, it is vital to pay attention to the data residing in any server to be jettisoned. Those in the banking, insurance, and healthcare fields, for example, must do everything in their power to safeguard personal or financial records. Depending on the industry, others must take similar steps.
Maybe certain servers deserve a "top secret" classification while others contain more pedestrian information. Consider grading the value of the data and using that as part of the cost calculation to determine the ultimate destination.
But don't make the mistake of treating all data as priceless. Maybe certain servers deserve a "top secret" classification while others contain more pedestrian information. Consider grading the value of the data and using that as part of the cost calculation to determine the ultimate destination.
If you do opt to take all possible security safeguards, your options are: destroying the disks yourself and then handing them to a recycler, allowing a recycler to destroy them under a strictly controlled process, or using one of the many disk scrubbing utilities to cleanse the data. None of these methods are foolproof, however; so due diligence is essential.
Opinions vary tremendously as to what is safe and what is not. HP's Altobell, for example, prefers the client take care of the data scrubbing or disk shredding internally. HP charges more when it gets involved with data security.
Redemtech, on the other hand, prefers to take responsibility for all aspects of disposal and offers a certified and audited process.
"Thorough data scrubbing offers the same level of protection as disk destruction," said Houghton. "Sometimes it is best to scrub the disks, and at other times it is best to destroy them. You have to evaluate the various economic and security concerns to find the right balance in disposal."
Reaching Server Heaven
The average server benefits most for being put to use in another facility or function. But if that isn't possible, it should be disposed (sans data) in a manner befitting the life it led. If recycled responsibly, melted down components may even be reincarnated as part of the next server upgrade.