Friday, July 03, 2009

New Wine In Old Wineskins

When is an old computer too old for your client's new software? It is definitely a balancing act. Often, putting new programs into the older computer is like the foolishness of putting new wine in old wineskins. There is a lesson in this parable that Jesus taught that can apply to IT. The principle is easy enough. Like new wine bursting the old wineskin, new software will ruin the use of an old computer.

I have a client that has gotten an update to a line of business app. They were using a version from 2004, but were finally force to upgrade to the new 2009 verison as they simply could not get support for the previous version. Well, 5 years and several versions of the LOB app has resulted in a much larger program with hefty requirements on the workstation and the server. What was a comfortable fit before is now strained and "bursting" for the server.

This is also a downside of partnering. An impromptu "partnering" forced by the client... In this case, I am not schooled in this business app. The client has a separate consultant come in and handle upgrades and special troubleshooting for this app. Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention during the upgrade. I trusted a little too much. Sorry, another topic for another post...

It happens a little at a time sometimes. A new verison of Yahoo Messenger, the latest version of the antimalware program, Google Updater now installed, Windows Search, etc. Remember when Windows XP ran in 256 megs of ram, but now you want 1 gig? Software upgrades over time will put you slowly in this position. Maybe a ram upgrade will save you. Our challenge is that the client will want to hang on to the computer too long. If you are hourly, it costs the client extra dollars as the computer is simply slower to work on. If you are on a maintenance plan, then the extra time to maintain the computer comes from your pocket.

As I am comparing to a parable, there is a moral to this story. Always check if the software is too new to go into your "wineskin". If your objective opinion is that it is time to retire that unit, let the client know. Convince the client to not hold on to the old stuff too long.

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