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Hardware Support

Posted on 2011-03-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-05
An area of audit/3rd party recommendations if often un-patched and unsupported software, i.e. missing patches on the server 2003 OS, or SQL Server, or Oracle etc, or a version of software that the vendor is no longer patching.

I have never seen an audit recommendation on hardware support however. Does unsupported hardware pose a risk as well? How can unsupported hardware pose a risk, and what kind of “support” is often given to hardware, i.e. any form of patches for security, or does it focus elsewhere, how long does say a modern server typically stay under vendor support, and what kind of issue/risk does a company run operating unsupported hardware such as servers/workstations? What is the likelihood of such risks ever coming to the fore?
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Question by:pma111
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jgiordano earned 250 total points
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Unsupported hardware can be a grave risk. For example if you are running a server and the motherboard goes you can't just replace it, you need to call a vendor. If you have a support plan the will replace it in some time frame agreed upon. No support plan or unsupported hw means you nees a whole new server or need to buy the parts externally through some other vendor. Also hardware may require critical firmware updates to work with other hardware. For example fibercards may need to have certain firmware to work with a storage array. If the fibercard is unsupported neither vendor will likely help troubleshoot issues you run into.

Hth
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by:pma111
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Thanks for the tips, any idea typically how long a motherboard will stay in support, and there any other areas of common hardware that can "go" / "give up" / "stop working" ? Drives etc?

And how can you typically tell if its still supported, is it a case of contacting the supplier or do they release this kind of thing on their vendor website?
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by:pma111
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PS - do backups or the use of virtual servers provide any saving grace if hardware failed? Or if not why not, as you can tell its not my area of expertese.
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by:pma111
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PS - is there any easy way to scan/any tool that can your server estate to identify any unsupported hardware? Is it common to find unsupported hw in corporate environments or pretty rare?
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by:jgiordano
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Typically a full server is supported, and it is on their website.

For example an hp proliant g6 server might be supported until 2013. That means hp will continue to provide updates and he replacement. You still need to pay hp for support.
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by:jgiordano
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No tool, you need to check per server.

But like I said just because a server is supported doesn't mean you paid to get updates and hw service.
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by:pma111
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Thanks, whats the difference between updates and hw service?

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by:jgiordano
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software updates are usually to address issues with firmware, maybe bugs or new features.

HW Service is when a component actually fails.
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