I usually try and upgrade my computers fairly quickly once a new operating system or a new version of an application comes out, even if there aren’t particularly new features that I’m looking for. However sometimes I’ve been a little slow to upgrade some servers because I’m too busy with other stuff or it’s too hard to schedule downtime. I was reminded this week why it’s a good idea to do upgrades sooner rather than later.
I had some computers that I had gotten behind on upgrading the operating system by about 1 year. The security patches were applied, but there was a newer version of the OS and I just didn’t have the time to take care of it. Well, since then I moved out of that job, but still depended on the server. Since then it’s up to someone else to upgrade this system and they’re much like me, very busy with other things. So time goes on and now this server is 3 years behind on the OS upgrade and there are some major changes in the OS.
Now it’s time to replace the hardware of the machine. Since it’s a Linux machine the standard answer is just move the drives and keep going. I suspected there might be problems, so I left my number with my replacement. He started the replacement and well, it didn’t go smoothly. As it turns out the new hardware wasn’t quite supported by the older OS, such that the system would partially boot, but not completely. So we ended up doing a full upgrade across 3 minor and 1 major versions of the OS and then fixing up all of the little things that broke along the way.
In the end this probably took longer than it would have to do along the way because the system configuration would have been fresher in our minds. Plus the changes wouldn’t have been so drastic and things would likely have migrated much easier.
So remember to make time to upgrade your systems right away.