Time for an Upgrade?

by Jun 26, 2014

I don’t know about you, but deciding when to pull the trigger on an upgrade is not that easy for me.  What is to be upgraded usually doesn’t matter either, be it IT related (software, hardware) or the latest smartphone or TV, I typically wrestle with the decision for at least a little while.

It hasn’t always been this way.  There was a time when I would scrape together every penny to pick up the latest CPU – how many hundreds were spent going from 20 to 33 to 66MHZ – or the latest version of MS-DOS?  Each new gadget or software version seemed to add a ton of features and huge performance boost, all packed into a shiny new package.  Who could resist not taking the plunge?

So why am I so ready to resist these days?  I’d love to just blame it all on age and the wisdom that comes with it (that is no doubt part of it, though most would say I still have a lot of wisdom to go), that isn’t the whole story.  Is it because I’m cheap (I prefer prudent or discerning)?  That could be part of it; at least that is what my wife tells me.  Or is it because we are in a relative ‘lull’ when it comes to tech improvements?    I choose all of the above and a few more reasons to boot.

The decision to make any change can be infinitely harder and more complex in your professional life, when your job or the entire business can be made or broken by the outcome of any change.  It takes time to plan, test and deploy anything new.Upgrade Decisions

Don’t get me wrong.  When I use the term lull, I don’t mean to imply that nothing interesting is happening.  There continue to be great tools coming out all the time (just look at our own SQL Elements and SQL Traffic Accelerator).  But how do you know if it is the right time to make the move from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012. You’ve been playing around with it for a while and like some of its new features or do you leap frog 2012 and go straight to SQL Server 2014 to take advantage of one of its great new features?

When it comes to upgrading your existing software what drives your decisions?  Here are a few of the factors that go into my decision making process:

  • Performance – is what I have now underperforming or is it just okay?  I know I will need better performance in the future and want to stay ahead of the curve but what is the cost/benefit?
  • New features – could this be the killer feature(s) that gives us a leg up on the competition or an improvement that just makes life better?
  • Failing – my current kit is past its planned life and it is starting to show.  The [fill in the blank] needs to be replaced and thrown out or repurposed to a lower priority job where it can still add value.
  • Fix stuff – there is quirky or downright buggy behavior that you find ways to live with today, but with the new version it should finally be ‘right’.
  • Budget – can we afford to upgrade [fill in the blank], or conversely, can we afford not to upgrade?
  • Support – How long will the current version still be supported? (XP anyone?) Okay, maybe that’s not an entirely fair criticism because, let’s face it, everything has a shelf life.


Everyone has their own reasons to upgrade, what are some of the things you most often consider?