Manage the upgrade treadmill

Most of us hate change. Your shoes are broken in just how you like them. You know right where the coffee is at your favorite grocery story. Comfortable. Familiar. We don't really want things to change unless there's a clear benefit. And so it goes with your IT system. Everyone already knows how to use the software that drives your business. It works! Why change?

Of course software vendors are forever releasing new versions of their systems. New features! Enhanced security! More and better! Sometimes they're even right. But should you chase these new releases and put your business on the upgrade treadmill?

Don't upgrade

Well, don't upgrade unnecessarily at least. If there's a compelling new feature being offered, then certainly consider a change. But in many situations you can usually skip at least one major revision without missing much.

But you can't hold out forever. Eventually the version you're using now will receive limited support, and then none at all. Wait too long and you may be forced to upgrade a system simply in order to satisfy the requirements of a tangentially related upgrade or new component elsewhere. Upgrades like that add cost, complexity, and time and can derail a project.

In other cases, waiting too long to upgrade can make the upgrade process itself more difficult. If too many revisions have passed, the upgrade or migration procedure might not be as thorough or might not exist at all. In some cases you might be required to upgrade to an interim version before moving to your target release. It's much easier, faster, and more reliable to move between versions that the vendor provides a clear path for.

Security infrastructure is an outlier here. Firewalls, filters, and anti-malware systems rely on constant upgrades and updates in order to do their job. Do not let these systems fall behind.

Plan ahead

The good news is that vendors almost always tell us how to move forward. End-of-support and end-of-life information for your systems is generally easy to find and a reliable way to plan for future upgrades. Here are some examples for some common platforms:

Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet

Microsoft Lifecycle Search

Windows 7 SP1 January 14, 2020

Windows 8.1 January 10, 2023

Windows 10 v1703 October 14, 2025 Office 2007 SP3 October 10, 2017 Office 2010 SP2 October 13, 2020 Office 2013 SP1 April 11, 2023 Office 2016 October 14, 2025 Windows Server 2008 SP2 January 14, 2020 Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 January 14, 2020 Windows Server 2012 October 10, 2023 Windows Server 2016 January 11, 2027 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP4 July 9, 2019 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 July 9, 2019 Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP3 July 12, 2022 Microsoft SQL Server 2014 SP2 July 9, 2024 Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP1 July 14, 2026 Microsoft Exchange 2010 SP3 January 14, 2020 Microsoft Exchange 2013 SP1 April 11, 2023 Microsoft Exchange 2016 October 14, 2025

QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2015 / Enterprise 15 May 31, 2018

QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2016 / Enterprise 16 May 31, 2019

QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2017 / Enterprise 17 May 31, 2020

Citrix Product Lifecycle Matrix Citrix XenApp 6.5 June 30, 2018 Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop 7.x June 30, 2018 Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR January 11, 2021 Citrix NetScaler 10.5.e April 21, 2018

VMware Product Lifecycle Matrix (pdf)

VMware vSphere/ESXi 5.5 September 19, 2018 VMware vSphere/ESXi 6.0 March 12, 2020 VMware vSphere/ESXi 6.5 March 12, 2020 If you are currently using a version earlier than these (including Windows 7 without Service Pack 1, Windows 8, and the first release of Windows 10) I have bad news. Support has already ended for those versions and you are currently running on a platform that is no longer getting security patches or bug fixes.

The above list only scratches the surface of the various systems that likely make up your IT infrastructure. All aspects of your system need to be evaluated in an ongoing basis to determine if an when an upgrade is right for you. If you don't already have a plan to move off your end-of-life systems, or don't know what parts of your network need to be evaluated, you need to get started.

IngenuIT can help. We can perform an audit of your current systems, let you know where you're okay and where you need to consider a change. Call today! (314) 495-9504 or e-mail support@ingenuitstl.com

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