[CentOS] 10 Year old IT Infrastructure

Bill Campbell centos at celestial.com
Sat Oct 10 00:28:12 UTC 2009

On Fri, Oct 09, 2009, Gordon McLellan wrote:
>On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 6:29 PM, Shawn Everett <shawn at tandac.com> wrote:
>> Hi Guys,
>> I have a client who hopes to keep their server another 5 years making it
>> 10 years old at that time.
>> At this point there are no plans to add new infrastructure or a new server
>> to the mix.  Their business model is fairly static.
>> I'd like to see them upgrade.  Can anyone suggest specific reasons why
>> running a business on 10 year old equipment is a bad thing?
>> Specific arguments I can think of would be:
>> - Hard/Impossible to find replacement hardware
>> - Lack of support for both H/W and S/W
>> - Possibly unable to run current versions of CentOS
>> - Higher probability of hardware failures over time
>> - Performance bottlenecks
>So they're running a five year old version of centos now?  There's no
>reason a server if properly maintained shouldn't run for ten years.
>Upgrading just for the sake of upgrading isn't much of a
>justification.   Unless the machine is showing signs of degradation,
>there's no reason to fault the hardware.  Software support is a
>subjective problem; software support for what exactly?  If the machine
>has made it five years with no hardware failures, anything that was
>going to fail should have by now.  Slow performance might be a valid
>point, but it ties into the software question, what exactly does the
>server do, is high performance a big issue?

Agreed.  Quality hardware can last a long iime.  We have a client
with an SCO OpenServer 5.0.5 system still in production that we
installed in December 1999.  They have been planning on replacing
it for years, but it just keeps on going.

>One of my customers is running a 12+ year old SCO machine right now,
>and it's running custom software created more like 20 years ago.  The
>vendor that set it all up is a "one man" operation, and it looks like
>he could fall over at any minute.  The data is all locked up in
>thousands of files that comprise some sort of crazy proprietary
>database.  The server's power supply has been complaining lately, so
>the client went to the vendor for a quote on fixing the problem.  The
>vendor's solution is to spend thousands and thousands for new hardware
>and to "upgrade" the software.  Researching the problem I contacted a
>regulatory agency that overseas the operation of my client and found
>documentation it was strongly advised ten years ago that they stop
>using the vendors software and hardware.  That advice was ignored and
>now they have an expensive mess with no clean way out.

FWIW, that 12+ year old SCO system can probably run quite nicely
under a VMware virtual machine, and be significantly faster than
it is today.  You won't get support for hardware like Specialix
multi-port boards, so may have to replace a bunch of dumb serial
terminals with networked devices, but that's certainly less than
tens of thousands of dollars to ``upgrade'' (where I have often
seen vendor's ``upgrades'' from SCO to be much worse to use than
what they replace).

As much as I despise SCO's actions since Darl and company took
over, their systems tend to run without problems for many years.
The expense to move off the SCO systems can be prohibitive for a
small business, so keeping them going on a CentOS box running
VMware or other virtualization software can be a very reasonable

My job is to provide the best service for my clients, which may
well mean keeping old stuff running as long as possible.

INTERNET:   bill at celestial.com  Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/  PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
Voice:          (206) 236-1676  Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820
Fax:            (206) 232-9186  Skype: jwccsllc (206) 855-5792

Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value  zero. -- Voltaire

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