Is your IT infrastructure starting to get on a bit in years? Perhaps what got you thinking about this is the stone archway over the server room door, the one with the carved inscription, IT INFRASTRVCTVRE.
So you say to yourself that you don't really need all the shiniest new hardware and software just to complete basic infrastructure tasks such as file transfers. You just need stuff that works. But if you're feeling that niggle that you may have a dated IT infrastructure, here are six signs to watch out for:
1. The electric utility assigns a repair truck specifically to handle your service calls
No wonder your electric bills have been on the high side lately. The company that services the air conditioning also has you on speed dial. Those old servers can put out plenty of heat, especially when they're handling heavier loads than anyone really expected way back when. And old equipment sometimes has a way of doing colorful things like putting out smoke — when it is about to give up the ghost.
2. The service manual for your infrastructure hardware is written in Latin
And even if you can't read Cicero, you can notice that your equipment is model II, while the current version is model LXVII. Perhaps your equipment is not yet sputtering and sparking. But how smoothly is it running? Things glitch, and when they are obsolete the glitches become harder to deal with. And the downtime starts to add up.
Also, hardware and software tend to go together, meaning chances are good that:
3. The service manual for your infrastructure software was written for CP/M
The good news is that in the world of geekdom you will find talented people who love old systems and languages, swear by them and know how to keep them running as well as possible. The bad news is that the technology is still old and limited. It was not built for modern tasks, or to perform tasks under modern conditions such as the need for scalability. Peak demand time is not when you want to discover your IT infrastructure's limitations.
4. You keep a machine in the server room with a port for eight-inch floppy disks
And a vault for the floppies filled with your data. Yes, it is good to have external backup of important data. And the data on those floppies can't be easily downloaded by hackers. (But see the movie "WarGames," and read Scott Brown's account at Wired, for the part that eight-inch floppies played in the origins of hackerdom.)
But the real problem with an archaic, dated IT infrastructure is that your work processes and data management strategies end up being built around that infrastructure — meaning slow, inefficient processes that quietly bleed income.
5. Your network logon asks if you want to connect to ARPAnet
And while ARPAnet security was pretty good in its day, its day was the 1970s and 1980s. There is a reason that when cybersecurity professionals talk about protecting your network, the first step they recommend is making sure that all software updates and patches are applied. Security is a moving target, and even if obsolescent technology seems "good enough" to handle your infrastructure, it is probably not up to keeping your data protected.
6. The Smithsonian Museum would like your infrastructure when you're done with it
Even if they haven't called, perhaps you realize that your infrastructure's best days are behind it. Do you have to open your organization's checkbook for a whole new infrastructure? A growing number of organizations are choosing the alternative of partnering with an infrastructure vendor to get an up-to-date infrastructure with controlled costs and fewer headaches.