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What Are Forklift Upgrades?

What Is a Forklift Upgrade?

Forklift upgrades are complete overhauls of the IT infrastructure: Old and outdated storage is ripped out and replaced with the latest technology. Forklift upgrades are driven by architectural incompatibilities between storage generations or limitations in scale-out architectures that can’t add new nodes to existing arrays or clusters.

Why is it Called a "Forklift" Upgrade?

In an increasingly cloud-powered world, it’s easy to forget that all that data has to be physically housed in servers. A majority of server rooms still run racks of spinning disks, so upgrades to IT infrastructure will sometimes literally involve using actual forklifts to lift and move server towers in and out of a server room or data center. Of course, when most IT professionals talk about forklift upgrades, they’re generally referring to the immense challenge of balancing major software and hardware overhauls with the need to keep mission-critical software infrastructure up and running. 

For decades, storage customers faced a recurring cycle of maintenance cost escalations, expensive array repurchases, risky data migrations, and resource-intensive planning—every three to five years. Forklift upgrades are typically very risky, expensive, and wasteful, and keep IT budgets focused on running infrastructure instead of on innovating and growing the business.

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