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The importance of support

There are some companies who are shelling millions of dollars to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft's operating system or other software mainly (and often SOLELY) because the current version they have will soon cease to be supported.

There are also many companies that don't want to use open source products, saying "it's not supported".

What's the big deal with support?  If you've been running Oracle7 or Windows NT4 successfully for the last 7 years, and your applications don't require newer versions, why spend so much to upgrade, given the low probability of a failure serious enough that it can't be fixed without support, and that the amount you spend in licensing costs and labor to upgrade is probably a lot more than whatever losses might occur if the system breaks?

Is it that the assistance provided by the vendor is so important, or is it really just a blame game?  As in "if it's not supported, I can't pass the blame on to Microsoft [or Oracle/Borland/Sybase/IBM etc.]"?

I also notice that it seems like the larger companies are more likely to have that mentality.  Smaller ones will gladly continue to run DOS 6.22 for ten more years, even though their internal IT staff may be LESS capable, but the big ones always have to upgrade before the support clock runs out even though they have an army of programmers and experienced sysadmins on staff.

T. Norman
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Don't forget the IMPORTANT security patches that will not be made for unsupported products.

You are patching your server every day, right???

--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I can maybe understand it when it comes to servers, especially those that are exposed to the Internet ... but is it really necessary to upgrade to the latest Microsoft Office on 10,000 desktops?  To save the two or three people who will be interrupted for a few hours by a problem?

T. Norman
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

".. but is it really necessary to upgrade to the latest Microsoft Office on 10,000 desktops?  To save the two or three people who will be interrupted for a few hours by a problem? "

Exactly.  Unless you have Tivoli or some other auto rollout software I think you take care of power users that run into issues as far as office goes.

Mike
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

The bigger problem is hardware support. Once that server dies you'll probably need to upgrade to a new server and you probably can't get certified drivers or support for a NT4 OS running on the latest SCSI cards etc.
You have to migrate because your underlying hardware platform is too new for the OS to support it. This of course affects smaller outfits too, but they probably just wait until they run of disk space.

Peter Ibbotson
Thursday, June 26, 2003

you forget the principle of covering your ass (just in case)

From managments perspective - what if something unexpected happens and you 10000 desktops stop working?

If it is something like we can't fix it because it is not supported, then upper managment just gets fired.

why? - because they are responsible for the working of the larger company no matter what (they are just not expected to go into technical details, you know).

Michael Moser
Thursday, June 26, 2003

What is the probability that 10,000 desktops will suddenly and unrecoverably stop working after they've been running fine for 7 years? Or even 100 of them?  It would likely be more profitable if they spent the money on lottery tickets instead of upgrading.

And after spending millions on upgrades that add no value, the next day they will layoff a hundred people and talk about the need to cut costs.

T. Norman
Thursday, June 26, 2003

"What is the probability that 10,000 desktops will suddenly and unrecoverably stop working after they've been running fine for 7 years? "

HAHAHA... very high.  It's called a "transparent server upgrade".

Joe AA
Thursday, June 26, 2003

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