13 Feb 2013

Fix IT now, before it breaks

Many of us regularly upgrade our cars, home computer hardware and software, mobile phones, insurance policies and the like. But when it comes to deciding whether or not your companies IT infrastructure should get a facelift, many businesses still take the “wait and see” or “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude, when in fact carrying out regular audits/health checks and upgrades to your core systems is very good practice. Why? 1) Vendor Support: Just because your Windows 2000 Active Directory or your Exchange 2003, or your VMware VI3, or your ADSL grade internet link, or your five year old tape based backup system seem to be functioning fine, just try obtaining quality technical support for the vendors of these products. Vendor and Systems Integrator technical staff are constantly updating their skills, product certifications and knowledge to the latest versions of these core infrastructure components, so finding someone who can help you with that IE 6 problem, or that AD 2000 sync problem, or that EMC CLARiiON CX3 problem is often a real challenge, not to mention costly if the product in question became End Of Life or your support contract has expired. 2) Getting all the latest bells and whistles leads to productivity gains: Now that you’re constantly using that integrated SAT NAV and rear-park assist in your updated car I bet you say to yourself “How did I ever do without these features?”. How did we ever do without Skype, or instant messaging, or facebook, or internet banking, or booking movie tickets from our mobiles/tablets, or monitoring the latest sports results as they happen on our mobiles/tablets… the list goes on. Well the same principle goes with businesses IT infrastructure. Upgrade to the latest Exchange with Outlook and Lync and you’ll very quickly be finding yourself asking “How did I ever do this without this Unified Communications tools” Upgrade your shared storage systems firmware/software, with your VMware and backup software and your IT staff will be pondering to themselves “Now that we’re able to fit more backups of our critical systems into the same backup windows and recover our data and whole systems much more efficiently and simply then ever before, thanks goodness we never suffered a serious disaster in the past”. Your staff will be telling you “Now that we get a truer office PC desktop experience no matter where in the world we happen to be connecting in from due to our new Citrix XenApp solution, we are finally able to reap all the benefits of telecommuting and BYOD”. So when it comes to your core IT infrastructure, the nuts and bolts that underlie your business functions – don’t let sleeping dogs lie, be proactive – get an independent audit/heath-check assessment done and start seeing the immediate benefits you your business that an upgrade to some of your core systems will bring. Author: George Parker, Senior Projects Consultant, Brennan IT