The “Every Other Upgrade” Methodology

Keeping up with technology has to be one of the hardest things to do. There is a point of diminishing return, that is to say, when the cost of a project far outweighs both the benefit and the need. Here are a few cases in point, and how we work to keep your dollars working for you.

In reviewing this methodology, these are the components to consider:

Evaluate the useful life of the hardware platform. We see server hardware lasting from five to seven years on average. A little extra RAM. CPU and disk may make the difference between an ‘early retirement’ and a full life.

Look at the number of major software releases in the useful life of the hardware platform. What we mean by major is fairly intuitive to us, but not to all. Here are a few examples:

In employing the ‘Every Other Upgrade’ methodology, just follow either the Orange or Blue tracks, but not both.

Common Sense Factor. We now apply some serious common sense.
Reasons to upgrade are as follows:

  • I need the new version because it will help my business andit is worth the cost
  • I am replacing the hardware and it only makes sense to bite off the upgrade as the old hardware gives me a great fallback position for transition
  • IMPORTANT NOTE 1: If we are talking PC operating systems, you MUST make certain that ALL necessary applicationsare supported
  • IMPORTANT NOTE 2: If we are talking Server Operating systems or SQL versions, you need to ensure that the applications and databases will support the newer versions.

The ‘other’ costs to always consider are the business interruption time, new software relicensing costs, and the labor – both in house and outsourced. In other words, there may be a ‘better’ time to do this from the cash flow and business cycle (slower time) that may make more business sense.

If you need any help in your decision-making, give us a call!

 
Advertisements

Six Keys to Avoiding Data Loss

At Roundbrix, we take data very seriously. After all, it’s the only thing we really cannot replace. Given that, there’s a few safeguards that we recommend so your data sleeps as well as you do!

1. Know Where Your Data Lives. This may sound silly, but what if you had nightly backups running, lost something, and went to restore the data only to find out you weren’t backing it up? Folks, this happens more than you would ever want to know. Often times data is on desktops when it should really be on a server where it gets backed up. Good company policy and procedures with occasional QA here is best practice.

And remember, if you install a new program on the server, create a new volume on a server or a new database, know that it has to be selected to be backed up. Just because it’s on the server doesn’t mean it’s backed up!

2. Backup Nightly with a Verify Pass. This is key to ensure that your data is restorable from the media. We used to call this “read after write” as it simply verifies that what is believed it wrote is indeed what can be read back. A simple check box verifies that all is well come ‘restore‘ time!

3. Take a Backup Offsite at Least Weekly. This is where you have to think through your pain threshold for data loss. In other words, if you’re building burned down, would losing a week’s worth of data make it even more painful? If the answer is an emphatic ‘YES’, then that means you need to take a tape offsite more frequently than weekly. Do remember a couple of things about taking tapes offsite. First rule is they don’t survive well in heat or moisture so get a proper transport and storage container. Second rule is ensure it is secure as the tape includes all your company information and if misplaced, creates a liability. You’ll want to account for your tapes periodically to ensure one didn’t ‘fly the coup’. If you’re a Roundbrix client, you can use our secure biometric-secured facility to store your backup data as frequently as you would like.

4. Periodic Reviews of What is Being Backed Up. This little step that we like to do every quarter to catch new areas created. Face it, we get busy and things fall through the cracks as we’re only human. Also, we occasionally find new databases that not only aren’t being backed up, but not set up properly for maintenance, safety and controlling growth. To know how to set up a database maintenance plan, see the article we previously wrote here.

5. Redirect My Document Folder to Server using Group Policy. Desktops and laptops will fail, but what’s important is that it does not take sensitive company data with it. Also, if it gets stolen or misplaced, has this just put your entire company at risk? Folks, keeping autonomy between the company data and the desktop/laptop device any more than absolutely required is simply good business. One of these failing should not send dangerous ripples through an organization like “Oh, Ed had all the company financials and client lists on his computer and now they are gone!”

6. Know How You Would Restore From Scratch. In a crisis situation, this is not the time to “figure things out”. We have “been there and done that” so rest assured we can get you back to where you need to be is short time. After all, the name of the game is first prevention, and secondly restoration. If the restorations took a month, what would be the point?

Current Projects

  • Access to SQL Database Conversion
  • Server upgrades
  • High Availability Firewall upgrades
  • Network Engineering and Performance Monitoring
  • – MAS Migrations