Today's cutting-edge IT technology is barely recognizable from when computing was something new and exciting. Where once you'd have rooms full of mainframes and magnetic tapes, today's businesses can run with a minimum of hardware, thanks to cloud-based solutions like Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
For many other firms, however, their IT environment still has more than a hint of the 1990s - or even earlier - about it. Dealing with these outdated tools costs time, money and prevents businesses from taking full advantage of the latest technologies.
But while frequent crashes and other outages are an obvious sign your infrastructure is failing, by this time it's too late to do anything about it. However, there are a range of other warning signs that can indicate you're heading for trouble before it occurs. Here are four you should look out for.
1. You're still using the same OS you always have
Stagnation is one of the more common signs of an IT environment that's destined to fail at some point, and this often comes in the form of continued loyalty to a certain process or operating system, just because that's the way you've always done it. Whether its Windows or Linux, the idea that you have to remain loyal to one solution may well be holding you back from making the most of today's technology advancements.
There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all in the IT world, and if you're of the mindset that your IT team can only support one platform, you won't be able to create the flexibility that today's solutions demand.
2. You're insisting on static IP addressing
Servers and other data center assets that still have static IP addresses assigned to them is another sign of outdated infrastructure. This solution is a throwback to times when dynamic IPs were unreliable and businesses didn't want to risk resources being unavailable - but that shouldn't be a consideration today.
Modern dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) makes a network much easier to manage, taking away much of the time-consuming processes manual assignments require, as well as being highly available. If worried about the effectiveness of this are still affecting your IP address management, it's a clear sign you need to upgrade your systems.
3. A manual approach to management
If you need to make a change or update a part of your IT environment, how do you go about it? If it still involves a graphical interface that requires you to click through pages of options before confirming at the end, it's an indicator you need to upgrade.
These types of solution waste server resources, are inherently less secure and take additional time. Today, automation is the key - you need to be able to come up with a script that can solve problems and manage changes, and simply run them when needed in the future.
4. No-one knows how to manage it
In some cases, you can tell just how outdated your equipment is when new talent comes aboard your organization and looks at your server room like it's a museum. Even something as old as five or six years is outdated, but some banks, for instance, still run nearly 50-year-old mainframes.
But for companies that still rely on the oldest legacy infrastructure, finding people who have the skills to manage and maintain this is becoming a real challenge, as those who know what they're doing head for retirement and their replacements have neither the knowledge to replace them, nor the inclination to learn obsolete skills. If this sounds familiar, it's the clearest sign an upgrade is long overdue.