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How to Detect Signs That Your  IT Environment Is Failing

Information Technology for business has come a long way. From the mainframes of yesteryear to the LAN-based networks of the 1980s and 90s, to the domain-based model and virtualized "expansion" of the late 2000s and beyond, we've had a pretty good evolution. The unifying theme of these changes is scaling.

In most of these cases, managers and middle managers do not realize how poorly balanced their IT teams are. Things don't break daily, motivate, so things have to be expected. But the truth beneath is much more frightening; many of these environments falter on the brink of collapse.

So how do you find out if your IT environment is managed using absolutely outdated techniques? How do you know if you are leading one of those old IT teams that are ready for failure? There are some obvious signs that we will cover here.

1. Static IP Addressing

If your team is still statically addressing server and other data center properties, you're apparently living in the '90s. This method was initially developed because the first dynamic addressing solutions were unpleasant. We didn't want our servers to somehow arrive without an IP address, so we provided them statically, often utilizing spreadsheets as ersatz databases for tracking those addresses. That's right, we operated our network using Excel, and somehow we thought it was a perfect idea. Today, static addressing is basically the result of superstition. "If a DHCP server fails," the reasoning begins, at which point you should jump in and shout, "why do we have a DHCP infrastructure that is not extremely available?"

2. Brand Loyalty

Have you ever seriously considered placing your Windows and Linux administrators in different buildings just to put an end to the arguments? Have you ever executed this idea? Or, if you're an environment with a single operating system, have you ever wondered why? Is it because your team has convinced you that their choice of an operating system is the right tool for all jobs?

The mentality of "I only know how to support one thing" should frighten  IT leaders to the depths of their souls. You are basically told that you cannot have flexibility; you can have this, and you better hope it's enough. Literally, no other part of your organization could escape this.

3. Next, Next, Complete

When you ask administrators to adjust to the environment, will they reveal a graphical user interface? Worse, does it initiate a remote connection with the server itself and operate the graphics tools there? If this is the case, be afraid. This administration mode was never a good idea, and smart people moved away from it years ago. It is less secure, decreases server performance, and is a sign of an administrative team that honestly does not know what to do. 

Of course, some old apps in your environment may need this or a similar model, but your team should complain about you replacing these things without perpetuating a terrible process. A modern IT team will focus on automation units, such as scripting, and will try to solve each problem by creating a script to solve that problem - now and when it will reappear in the future.

4. Aging Servers 

If your servers are stale enough to have gray whiskers, running operating models that were in vogue when MTV still represented music television, then you've discovered a key IT factor near failure. You can't have a fresh, updated, and flexible IT when running old software (slightly older than six years). Think about it: business challenges, security threats, and administrative techniques presently did not exist even six years ago. How can you expect an older server operating system to keep up? Worse, ancient software-dependent environments attract ossified IT teams who don't fancy change. The group no longer learns, stops growing, and is no longer interested. Take a walk in one day and ask them to innovate and they will probably murmur when you leave the room and return to supporting your decaying infrastructure.

The solution to the problem

Keys To Stabilizing The IT Environment

The remedies for this and the keys to stabilizing the IT environment are threefold:

1. Don't assume that you need to modernize your environment completely. 

You don't have to turn to a DevOps Cloud Ninja Engine overnight suddenly. It is imperative to know that many organizations do not improve because they feel that there is no benefit unless they go to the end and learn how impossible this seems. You can make improve your existing environment to modernize your processes and achieve a lot.

2. Modernize a Little. 

You don't have to upgrade every server to the latest operating system, but you have to upgrade some. Give your team something modern and exciting to work with. IT people (the good ones) have entered the field for novelty. They like the shiny new trends. Engage them in a pilot project with something fresh and attractive so that they will have a reason to get involved and excited and flex their brain muscles.

3. Educate. 

You may think that there is no educational budget, but this is crazy. You can't expect a team to remain useful and involved without growing continuously. And if your team is not interested in growing continually, you have probably already lost the good ones, and now you are at the bottom of the basket. Try to motivate your team. Take them to a seminar or conference, give them affordable video classes, or encourage them to purchase a book or two. Insist on identifying outdated, archaic management practices and offering ways to update them. Insist on a more automated IT environment, then let your team chart a path to learn how to do it.

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