Upgrading for Upgrade's Sake - Page 2

 By Drew Bird
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There are, of course, certain instances when upgrades are fully justified. Back in the early to mid 1990's users of NetWare 3.x realized the absolutely phenomenal benefits of upgrading to NetWare 4.x. The same could be said to a lesser extent for those moving from Windows NT4.0 to Windows 2000. In these cases the argument for upgrading was strong. That said, both NetWare 3 and Windows NT4 are robust operating systems that, in some environments, offer everything that's needed by an organization. If there were a good reason for not using these older systems it would be the lack of ongoing technical support and the availability of hardware drivers. Outside of this, there are few reasons why an organization that needs basic file and print services on a small number of servers would need anything more.

So frequent are new product releases, and so time consuming the rollout process, that many businesses find themselves spending more time upgrading products than actually using them. Again we return to our anonymous IT manager. The worst thing about the perpetual upgrade cycle mentality is that you don't get a chance to stand back and really find out what the existing system will do. We use the same services of the system we have just installed as we did on the previous one, even though it can do so much more. That makes the fact that our bonuses were cut due to the rollout going over budget hard to swallow.

The actual determination for an upgrade should boil down to one simple thing: If an upgrade provides features and functions that can enhance the business process, and bring benefits that will outweigh the expense of buying and installing new software then they are valid. Anything less, and the question of why you would upgrade has to be asked. Perhaps it's something you can ponder while watching the Windows XP countdown clock.

Drew Bird (MCT, MCNI) is a freelance instructor and technical writer. He has been working in the IT industry for 12 years and currently lives in Kelowna, BC., Canada..

This article was originally published on Aug 28, 2001
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