Legacy Decommissioning

Your expert for questions

Hauke Schaettiger - PwC

Hauke Schaettiger
Partner at PwC Germany

Set the foundations for a cost-efficient cloud transformation  

High speeds and low IT costs: companies can achieve valuable competitive advantages by migrating their applications, IT infrastructures and workloads to the cloud. Such migrations nevertheless pose major challenges for many companies. In particular, the expansion of IT landscapes over the years mean that they can contain a lot of hidden dead weight – especially in the form of unused or redundant servers. If these are not identified before the migration process, then they will end up in the cloud as well. Widely used pay-per-use models can thus result in transformations becoming a cost trap. This is due to the higher energy consumption and the associated negative impacts on the overall sustainability balance of the IT infrastructure. In order for migration projects to remain lean, energy-efficient and cost-effective, it is advisable to use a professional server decommissioning service..

“It is necessary for companies to have the right strategy in order to reduce their server costs over the long term. With our structured system and state-of-the-art technologies, we comprehensively clear up cluttered IT landscapes so that unused servers are decommissioned and so that cloud migrations do not entail any unpleasant surprises.”

Hauke Schaettiger,Partner, Cloud Transformation at PwC Germany

An overview of our service

Identifying unused servers quickly and reliably

In order to provide you with targeted and methodical support in decommissioning unused IT capacities and achieving sustainable decreases in server costs, we use our tried-and-tested “Discovery & Assessment” process for cloud migrations. Based on our experience in this area, 15% to 20% of servers being used by our customers are no longer necessary. We use automated decommissioning tools that quickly and reliably identify servers that are no longer needed on the basis of network and utilisation data. Furthermore, we draw on information from the configuration management database (CMDB) and interview selected IT staff in order to gather additional information about the existing IT landscape for our assessment. This combination of measures ultimately provides a reliable data pool so that unnecessary servers can be shut down with the lowest possible level of risk. 

Tracking down cost drivers and optimal placement of workloads

Our experts use tried and tested methodologies so that there are no unplanned downtimes during decommissioning. This includes so-called “scream tests”. This consists of briefly shutting down servers using the trial-and-error approach. Our teams apply one of two methods based on time constraints and risk level: the soft approach or the hard approach. In the soft approach, downtimes and risks are minimised by incrementally restarting the servers. In the hard approach, the servers are immediately shut down. This entails an increased risk but also speeds up the gathering of information for the project. 

Server Decommissioning: Scream Tests

Further assistance is provided by tools such as our Cloud Placement Organizer so that we are able to analyse the server landscape, detect cost drivers and calculate the optimal placement of workloads within the cloud on the basis of your operating model, costs and compliance requirements.

“We provide you with assistance from the start in order to implement server decommissioning holistically as part of an overarching migration strategy. We will help you to classify risks, ensure transparency, involve stakeholders, plan back-up processes and document all measures in a verifiable manner.”

Henry-Lars Bogen,Senior Manager, Cloud Transformation at PwC Germany


PwC supports you specifically in the partial decommissioning of your unused IT. Decommissioning-as-a-Service is PwC's end-to-end tool that identifies the unused servers and then comprehensively supports the decommissioning process together with our experts.

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Four factors for sustainably clearing up your server landscape


Special monitoring tools assist in better understanding the utilisation level of the server infrastructure. Here, for example, we measure the CPU and RAM utilisation levels of individual servers. If these are found to be unusually low, it may be an indication that the server is no longer being used. The level of network traffic can also reveal whether capacities are being used. The relevant logs here can be analysed in a targeted manner in order to arrive at vital insights for decommissioning.

AI-assisted analysis

Because significant quantities of data accumulate in larger IT environments, manual analyses can require a lot of time and effort. It is therefore sensible to rely on automated and AI-assisted software to analyse larger volumes of data from servers. To do so, our experts work with a PwC tool and other resources that provide valuable insights based on the analysis of monitoring data. 

Maintenance of the configuration management database

A well prepared and up-to-date dataset relating to the infrastructure significantly increases the success rates of decommissioning measures. It is therefore also important for the success of migrations that configuration management databases are always kept up to date. This makes it possible to gain a much better understanding of the relationships and dependencies within the IT infrastructure. Companies can ensure continuous maintenance by, for example, ensuring integration into existing ITSM processes.

Complete documentation

It is necessary to document all steps in a verifiable manner so that no legal violations occur during decommissioning. Companies thus ensure that any potential infractions can be transparently processed and that all decisions can be clearly understood. This is particularly important due to the applicable regulations, e.g. sector-specific requirements regarding data retention.

The added value for you

Companies that carefully decommission servers as part of their cloud migration benefit in several ways from the resulting transparency and streamlining. First and foremost, the reduced scope of servers undergoing migration results in a notable decrease in costs because the absence of unused instances means that fewer resources are required in the cloud. Expenditure for the migration process itself also falls because the streamlined set-up means that all participants can concentrate on the infrastructure that really matters and thus accelerate the overall process. 

Last but not least, decommissioning benefits the sustainability balance of the overall IT landscape. This is because unused servers also consume energy – regardless of whether they are in the cloud or at a local computer centre. Wide-spread redundancies result in significant emissions that companies could easily avoid through targeted decommissioning measures. This is becoming increasingly important in light of the fact that IT infrastructures are becoming more central to sustainability strategies as well as internal and legally required ESG guidelines.

Cloud Migration without Dead Weight

The upcoming generation of IT infrastructure is cloud-based and will be energy-conscious and cost-efficient – as long as unused servers are decommissioned. Discover in our white paper how conducting a professional infrastructure analysis cuts through the undergrowth and roots out “zombie servers”.

Download the Whitepaper

“Professional legacy decommissioning is indispensable for anyone who wants to take full advantage of the business opportunities of the cloud in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner.”

Hauke Schaettiger, Partner, Cloud Transformation at PwC Germany
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Henry-Lars Bogen

Henry-Lars Bogen

Senior Manager, PwC Germany

Hauke Schaettiger

Hauke Schaettiger

Partner, PwC Germany