[CentOS] 10 Year old IT Infrastructure

Stephen John Smoogen smooge at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 23:51:07 UTC 2009

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 4:29 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?

To be honest, I don't think any of the above are reasons to upgrade
for many businesses.

> Specific arguments I can think of would be:
> - Hard/Impossible to find replacement hardware

There are tons of 486 systems still at various surplus places. Getting
replacement hardware is going to be harder but you need to show actual
numbers of availability and costs and time to replace. In some cases,
the business will just decide to buy 4 boxes to scavenge from and call
it good. And for a lot of places that makes perfect sense.

> - Lack of support for both H/W and S/W

Most likely the hardware is already out of support. Depending on which
version of S/W they are running it is less likely to be out of
support. If they are using CentOS-3 then they are going to be Out of
Support next year. But to be honest for a lot of places they aren't
set up to upgrade to anything newer until it becomes a crisis for

> - Possibly unable to run current versions of CentOS

This could be a catch 22 for them. The applications they may have may
only run on CentOS-3 or 2 and aren't something they can afford to
update to something newer. [Either the software is no longer updated
or the cost model for an update is prohibitive to them.] So they may
not want to run later versions of CentOS because it just won't work
for them.

> - Higher probability of hardware failures over time

Well that may be likely but so is getting new hardware that fries itself.

> - Performance bottlenecks

If its not had a performance bottleneck in 5 years.. its very unlikely
to have one in 5 years future.

The bigger issue is stuff thats outside of an OS.
A) What is the business model of the company?
B) Is it expecting large growth or small growth or decline in the next 5 years?
C) What are its planning mechanisms for current operations? Future operations?
D) How is spending money on updates, consulting, and unknown unknowns
going to lower costs versus having a known cost level (it works why
play with it)
E) Why and how are they using the equipment currently?

If you answer those questions and they are wanting to improve or you
can show significant lowering of costs, then an upgrade may be in
order. But for a lot of places those questions and how the company is
run will make upgrading more expensive or more likely for project
> Any other thoughts?

> Shawn
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Stephen J Smoogen.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?
-- Robert Browning

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