We got our Sierra and Encore servers about three and a half years ago (they're all in our building; after three years we got third-party hardware maintenance contracts on them). I need to start planning for what comes next. I'm wondering how much life I can get from these servers, and what my options for replacing them will be.
For the question of how much life I can get from them, it seems like I should plan to replace them in 2018 (they'll be four years old in April). It seems like a good idea to do that before we're faced with some dire need to, and four years seems like a reasonable life span. On the other hand, it would be nice to know if anyone has had their turnkey Sierra or Encore servers running for five years or more, or if anyone has any thoughts on trying to do that. We've replaced a number of Millennium servers in the 14 years I've been here, but I don't know if I should expect something different with the architecture of Sierra or of the latest machines (ours are IBM). I'm inclined to replace these next year.
For the question of options, I think that it's either hosted or software-only. There's an AWS hosting facility close to us and a nearby library reports great response times, and with an IT staff of two, we don't have the time or expertise for software-only, so it seems like an easy decision. On the other hand, I've heard of one software-only library who negotiated their own hosting arrangement with AWS; I'm a little curious about that, but you would still have to have the expertise to manage the resources on the server or other technical things, right?
Thanks for any experience or thoughts you can share with me.