There will come a time when you will have to bid goodbye to every device on your organisation’s network. This includes your computers, printers, laptops, keyboards, and even servers. Although goodbyes are hard, it’s something that everybody has to accept and do for the common good.

Now, decommissioning old IT equipment is not easy. Therefore, we’ve created a server decommissioning checklist to break down the complex process into smaller and manageable pieces. But before we delve into that part, here are a few important reminders to consider.

Important Reminders

The entire data center or server decommissioning process requires detailed planning, especially considering maintaining a live environment for the business. Furthermore, a key consideration should be your organisation’s sensitive information in your data center, its security during disposal.

The importance of data protection in organisations is generally understood, the risks and implications associated with poor data center decommissioning are not. Luckily today, more professionals for data protection regulations and companies exist to provide this service, making storage, networking and server decommissioning easy and accessible. Think about it, most companies now consider cyber security an important tool to protect their IP and valuable data… why should this be any different when decommissioning your old equipment where the data still exists?

So, what happens when you decommission your server?

The Initial Preparations

During the initial phase, the project manager will draft the scope of work that needs to be done. He/she will establish goals and come up with expected project outcomes. He will also identify milestones and timelines. As much as possible, he will establish and set the necessary workflows to prevent the loss of crucial data.

Remember that the initial set up phase can make or break the entire storage, networking and server decommissioning process. To avoid problems and issues in the process, here is a list of things that you need to do during the initial phase:

  • Identify and communicate with relevant decision-makers.

    First, identify all the people involved in the decision-making process. Assign tasks to each one of them. Set up a communication channel for everyone involved and keep them updated every step of the way.

  • Appoint a project manager.

    Assign or appoint somebody to oversee the entire server decommissioning process. It would be great to choose a person who has an extensive experience with decommissioning old IT equipment.

  • Set a budget.

    When setting a budget, it helps to work with a qualified auditor to provide you with a valid and concise valuation of your hardware and assets. And then, work together to come up with a realistic estimate of the expenses.

  • Establish a timetable.

    After setting a budget, it’s time to establish a timetable. The less organised and the less prepared you are, the more likely that issues and delays will occur. If everyone in the project knows when a goal is due, then everything should proceed smoothly.

  • Outline the scope of work.

    Every process and stage of the data center and server decommissioning should be outlined clearly. You must assign who is responsible for what, how, when, and where. This way, the process stays fluid and consistent.

  • Prepare a document with all the contact information of your team members.

    You can never tell when issues may arise, so it’s best to create a document with all the contact information of all the important people, contractors, and other team members. You don’t want your technician to find a critical error in the process, only to be unable to contact relevant service providers.

  • Set a time to start the server decommissioning process.

    It is ideal to schedule the decommissioning process off hours. This is ideal during a data center migration situation, but it still comes in handy during a server or data center decommissioning.

  • Decommissioning

    At this stage, all servers that need to be decommissioned need to be logged. The person-in-charge will have to identify the final designation of the hardware assets whether they need to be repurposed, resold, or recycled. Also, he/she needs to identify and retain the software licenses associated with the servers to be decommissioned.

    Other things to do in this stage are as follows:

    • Schedule the cancellation of any vendor maintenance contracts that are associated with the data center or server, which won’t be migrated.
    • For a live environment, run simulations or tests on all backups to ensure they all remain functional.
    • Prepare a comprehensive backup of your data prior to decommissioning.
    • Complete a data erasure process using a reliable data erasure software.
    • Disconnect all equipment from the network. Do not forget to remove the firewalls and subnets.
    • Disconnect the power cord of all equipment that will be decommissioned.
    • If moving hardware racks, consider using tip guards.
    • If data in your drives won’t be erased, consider degaussing or shredding the remaining storage media.
    • Ask for a certificate of erasure or destruction. This is essential for data security purposes.
    • Complete all security requirements and make sure to have a comprehensive audit report.


    In the stage, the project manager needs to ensure the hardware is separated for auditing & processing. Auditing and processing warrant that servers along with other hardware are evaluated and labelled for either reuse or ewaste. A supporting company can assist in removal, auditing, processing and reporting for this disposition stage. Lastly, the project manager should coordinate with the finance and accounting department, so that all servers and assets are taken off the books and that software licenses are accounted for.

    Final thoughts

    Decommissioning servers, storage and networking from data centers does not have to be a headache. If you have this checklist and a project manager, then the entire process will be made easy.

    At Eco IT Solutions, we aim to make the end of life decommissioning and disposal process easier for organisations. If you need a trustworthy server decommissioning company that is backed by years of experience in the industry, we are happy to help.

    By partnering with industry specialists in server or other enterprise decommissioning, we guarantee that the entire process will go smoothly, and you’ll have the reporting and certifications you need to keep your data safe and organisation sustainable. Contact us today!

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