Preventive Maintenance Procedure

“Change is the only constant” is a quote attributed to Heraclitus who was a Greek philosopher and lived from 535BC – 475BC.  Timeless wisdom transcends generations and this quote is no less true today than it was 2500 years ago.  In fact, the rate of observable change in today’s technology would make Heraclitus’ head spin!  If the technology sector has a negative reputation, it is due to the fact that the industry changes and develops so quickly that the moment new product hits the shelf, it is already one day closer to obsolescence.

‘Though wisdom is common, yet the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own’

When considering the hardware and software that comprises a company’s computer network, there are many layers of technology that must successfully coexist to allow seamless and functional results. All of these technology pieces are subject to obsolescence and require proactive attention to ensure they continually operate at their required level of expectation.  As such, every company, large and small, should budget for a preventive maintenance procedure of their IT systems in the same manner as they would with their production equipment.  In order to avoid costly downtime, hardware and software needs to be properly maintained and replaced when necessary.

‘You could not step twice into the same river’

One of my gripes with Microsoft is that they frequently rename their products which has the appearance that they quickly kill successful products while continually birthing new ones.  The reality is that many of their products have been around for many years and are extremely stable, but for marketing reasons they see a need to keep them ‘fresh’ by giving them new names.  With this added confusion in the marketplace, how is a company to know what to keep and what to replace in their preventive maintenance procedure?  This is where it is critical to either have internal staff or else a trusted technology partner to stay current with the industry and to provide direction for cost justified upgrades when they are needed.

‘The road up and the road down is one and the same’

Here are a few generalities that may assist your preventive maintenance procedure when upgrading technology.

  1. Generally the useful life of a business computer or server is 5 years, plus or minus a year or two depending upon the function of that device.
  2. Always maintain a manufacturer’s warranty on production servers and critical infrastructure components. If the product is too old to be warrantied by the manufacturer; it’s time to replace it.
  3. Honestly evaluate ‘usable performance’ and upgrade systems when they fall below their acceptable level of performance. If employees have enough time to make a pot of coffee in the morning while they wait for their computers to fully boot up, it’s time to replace those computers!  Remember, just because it turns on doesn’t mean that it’s not broken!
  4. Infrastructure components, such as routers, switches, firewalls, and Wireless Access Points, often run without issue for years but can become a performance bottleneck. Keep an eye on these units and consider upgrades in the five year range.

‘Change is the only constant’ and as much as we may want to fight against this truth, we all need to make a preventive maintenance procedure to find peace with it.  Our fear of change works against us personally and professionally and is keeping us from realizing our full potential.  Let me encourage you to put fear aside, and enact a preventive maintenance procedure to proactively deal with technology change so we can focus on real attention on the broader things in life that matter much more.