More freedom for companies in hardware maintenance

New EU Regulation will extend life of equipment

An EU regulation that has been in force since March 2021 will enable servers to be operated securely for longer. Not only does this help the environment, it also creates more scope for IT departments with their budgets and more freedom in maintenance.

EU Regulation 2019/424 is part of the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC). Its aim is that products require fewer resources during manufacturing and consume less energy when operated, as well as that they produce fewer emissions and less waste. The EU needed to introduce this regulation in order to address these aims for servers in data centres. In its current second stage the regulation is aiming at significantly extending the lifetime of hardware. With immediate effect manufacturers of servers are obliged to provide their equipment with security and firmware updates for longer. What this means in concrete terms is that

“[…] the latest available version of the firmware shall be made available […] for a minimum period of eight years after the placing on the market of the last product of a certain product model, free of charge or at a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory cost”.

The last available security update of the firmware even has to be offered to OEMs free of charge.

The regulation allows for some exceptions, but it should apply to about 80 to 90 per cent of the equipment used in data centres. The new EU requirements apply with effect for the period “two years after the first product of a certain product model was placed on the market”. This means if an OEM launches a new model range on the market it can freely set the conditions with which it provides updated firmware versions for the first two years. Then the regulation takes effect.

Potential savings for companies

The regulation means companies now have the certainty that they can use future server models for many years without any losses of security. Thus negating one argument for prematurely replacing technically flawless and performant hardware. Many companies already use their equipment beyond the manufacturer’s service period, as a study from Technogroup IT-Service GmbH shows.

In addition, it is also advantageous to take the EU regulation into account when procuring new hardware. Because manufacturers usually want to conclude maintenance agreements for as long as possible at the same time their equipment is bought. Previously, these agreements were often the pre-condition for manufacturers providing their firmware. The EU regulation has now changed this.

“This creates more flexibility for IT departments and companies when selecting maintenance”, says Klaus Stöckert, CEO of Technogroup IT-Service GmbH and Member of the Executive Board of Evernex. “If a company does not want to be tied by long-term contracts, they can count on third-party maintenance/TPM. This can have positive effects on the budget. The analysts Gartner estimate potential savings when changing from manufacturer to third-party maintenance of up to 70 per cent. An argument to provide food for thought for many companies, particularly during the current situation.”

The complete EU Regulation 2019/424 can be found on the EUR Lex servers:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/?uri=CELEX:02019R0424-20210301

You can find the current version of the Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC here:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32009L0125

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