We all have them from time to time, and the worst part is: you can never anticipate when it will happen: Equipment Failures. More often than not, we spend more time diagnosing equipment failures than fixing them. And in the end; you end up replacing the faulty equipment. The worst part about equipment failures isn’t the cost of replacing the faulty equipment; it’s the man-hours spent diagnosing and trying to fix the faulty equipment. In 2010, Virgin Blue’s 11-day system outage cost the company $20-Million. That’s huge; and the bad thing about it is: spending a few hundred dollars on preventative maintenance would have guaranteed that Virgin Blue would have never seen an outage.

Running on old equipment

We are just as guilty as most orgs. We were running on “loaned” second-hand equipment: and it bit us pretty hard. Now, our outage was not 11-days nor did it cost us $20-million. But it did hit our bottom line; and had we invested earlier, we would not have had the outage. And believe it or not: old equipment is one of the leading causes of outages in many organizations. It is difficult to blame anyone for it. As a business owner and IT Professional, I see both sides of the argument. Most organizations look at the upfront cost of replacing equipment, equipment and payroll, and when the see the upfront cost they tend to put it off and take a risk. Even after the Systems Administrators and Network Engineers estimate the costs of being down to faulty and aging equipment.

There are organizations running on equipment that has been End-of-Life (EOL) for over five years. And estimate the costs of being down to be upwards of $3-million a day. Yet, these organizations continue to deny requests to purchase new equipment. Which, with a $3-million-a-day loss if the equipment goes down, you would think they would spend just a small fraction to keep everything updated. Not to mention the security risks running on aged and antiquated poses to any organization.

A majority of these organizations tell the Systems Administrators and Network Engineers to make what they have work; even when the equipment fails. That’s where we won that battle. The first time our equipment failed; we replaced it. Yes, at a cost. But in the end, it not only benefits us, but it benefits our clients. As we progress and purchase newer equipment with newer features; we are able to offer more features and better security.

Security Risks

Wanna Cry Screenshot
With the Wanna-Cry virus running rampant earlier this year: it finally hit organizations that Security is a lot more important than the immediate bottom line. Which it is unfortunate that it was a virus that brought security to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Not only did most organizations start patching everything, but it made them look at what they are still running. I have seen some organizations ditch products that were running on Server 2003 and XP, even though XP was patch-able. It is too much of a risk to leave equipment that is EOL and is no longer patch-able.

Looking at aged equipment and security risks, I immediately think of Citrix’ NetScaler’s. Most organizations are running code that’s three plus years old. And are no longer able to utilize the newest Citrix Receiver. It’s slightly funny too; because the NetScaler is not a hard piece of equipment to update; and Citrix Support will even give you a hand in doing so. And the longer you get out of date; the more things you will lose. For example: the Organizations Portal. Usually customized and branded to look unique. Generally; written in C# or if you are lucky, HTML. And this is one of the primary reasons that said organizations do not upgrade their code. Resources. In the day-and-age of Cloud and Managed Services, most organizations no longer have the resources to rebuild their portal. Which is sad really; in Code Version 10.5, you are given a simple GUI (Graphical User Interface) to build your new Portal.

In The End

When you think about the costs of being down, versus the costs of staying up-to-date on your equipment: it’s a no-brainer. Spend the money; it’s an upfront cost yes, but you will never have to think about down-time due to equipment failures. It will also help your IT Departments gain more insight and experience on how their environments are setup and what new technology is out. When our modem and router failed; for me it wasn’t a matter of whether or not to replace it, it was a matter of: What to replace it with. We have a new toy to play with, we gained experience in setting up the newest technology and we can now breath easy in knowing that our environment is up to date and secure.

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