When is the right time to adopt a new technology, whether an upgrade or outright new solution. Being on the cutting edge or squeezing out every bit of life from your investment both have their merits and drawbacks.
Staying on your current technology
Squeezing every investment dollar out of it can make sense for some companies. On the upside, it allows your staff to become ‘experts’ in the technology and seems to keep costs down. The ugly side of that coin is that your company and staff are not keeping up with technology and current trends. Or worse, they find another job that keeps them current. By the time the decision (or requirement) is made to upgrade, it becomes a project that is large, long and costly (eating up those perceived savings at once).
Examples of this would be running RHEL 5.x and then upgrading to RHEL 7, or migrating from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016. Some customizations, libraries or custom applications won’t work the way they used to.
Latest and greatest
The cutting/bleeding edge can keep you ahead of the competition; or could put you behind if you are an early adopter and the technology doesn’t get broader acceptance. In the latter, you cut your losses and move on sooner rather than later.
Some technologies lend themselves well to staying on the cutting edge. VMware is one where you may find yourself perpetually upgrading to leverage the bug fixes, added feature sets and improved functionality. Windows Server, not as much.
Which is best
On a sliding scale, I’d lean towards being an early adopter. Not so early that you’re standing line to be the first one, but within 6-12 months of release, depending on product.
I would upgrade my environment in an incremental, steady drip fashion. In this way, you amortize the costs and avoid the sticker shock. The bigger benefit to this is that you won’t find yourself needing to upgrade or replace an entire platform because you MUST ‘upgrade/replace’ one piece. The domino effect causes your costs to rise rapidly and the CFO to look at you like you’re crazy.
Develop, execute and continuously revisit your plan
Often times, upgrades happen without a plan. The compatibility ripple effect mentioned above causes an unintended chain reaction.
Take the time to understand your infrastructure, software and their interrelated dependencies when developing your plan. At each execution phase of your plan, revisit it to ensure you’re on the right path and executing in the correct order. While that seems like common sense, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Changing priorities can derail your plan causing your environment to be a hot mess. Band-aid fixes get applied and become permanent.
If you need some assistance determining which method is best for you, Imperitiv Solutions has the tools and experience to help plot your course to success.