Extending Hardware Refresh Cycles

March 29, 2021 |  Budget, Data
2 min

Can you extend your hardware refresh cycle by one year?

After a full year of campus closures and distance learning, you may need to reconsider your hardware refresh cycle.

LabStats computer lab monitoring software can help you understand how the computers on your campus are used, so you can answer questions like:

  • Do I have the budget to maintain your 3-4 year hardware refresh cycle? 
  • Can I keep computers longer without increasing support tickets? 
  • Are students even using the computers on campus?
  • Have loaner laptops replaced computer labs?

Without the physical wear and tear of daily use, your machines may be able to last another year. 

Looking at the data 

You just need to review the data to determine which computers you can safely skip on your next refresh cycle. We recommend starting at the group level (an individual lab or classroom) and honing in on the time period that yoru campus first closed. 

If you look at the Peak Usage History report, you may see something like this:

Peak Usage History

In the example above, peak usage of hardware in the campus library hovered around 80%, or 800 machines. When the campus closed to all non-essential staff, usage dropped to less than 100 machines.

From here, you can adjust the report to see if and when usage picked up later in the year.

This school could safely delay their hardware refresh schedule on 20%, or 200 machines, without negatively impacting students. That reduces the refresh schedule to 600 computers, saving a significant amount of staff time and budget.

Related: How to Run a Peak Usage History Report

How to find low-use computers

A blanket solution probably won’t work, as some computer labs and classrooms have been open, while others were closed. Some machines in each lab may have been used more, while others sat idle all year to meet social distancing requirements.

We recommend starting with the following reports to find low-use computers:

Peak Usage History – A graph showing the maximum number of computers that are in use simultaneously. You can configure this to show individual groups (computer labs) or all stations. 

Login Summary by Station Report – A list of computers with the number of times they’ve been logged into, unique users, total usage hours and average usage hours. 

Login History Report – A graph showing the number of logins by location. This report can help you compare the usage of different locations based on login counts. 

Related: How do I know which computer labs are being used the least?

How to find zero-use computers

Zero-usage is not the computer with the least logins, but the one with zero logins. After a year like 2020, there’s likely more zero-use computers on your campus than ever before. 

You can find zero-use computers by using LabStats data and excel, just watch the video tutorial.

Related: Finding Zero-Use Computers

After the ups and downs of 2020, it may be time to skip the hardware refresh for some computers on your campus. 

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