The N-1 Dilemma

You are probably asking “what is N-1” right about now. In the information technology world N is the current stable release of a software version and N-1 equates to the prior stable version. So what benefit is it to upgrade and use current edition software?


1.) Security

Current editions tend to have regular patches to fix security exploits. For example, if a new exploit is found Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.04 would have security patches whereas Windows XP and Ubuntu 8.04 would not receive patches for the security exploit (although sometimes backports of security patches are offered by third parties).


2.) Compatibility

Software tends to be written for current OS editions so they work best on those current editions. On the other hand, if you rely on legacy software, it may not work on current versions. Worst comes to worst you would need to use virtualization to make that legacy software work while still keeping your network secure and compatible with current software.


3.) Features

Generally recent versions add new features, admittedly sometimes new features are less than stellar, but sometimes killer new features get added that make a big difference in your organization. Recent examples include having native virtualization added to kernels of various operating systems.


4.) Technicians

Most technicians and system administrators will be spending the majority of their time using recent versions of software and operating systems. Furthermore, they are generally being offered training and certification in current versions. The end result is they are most efficient with current versions and will require the least time maintaining or repairing systems.


5.) New Systems

Finally, the new systems you purchase or as you need to purchase replacement systems, you will have more and more difficulty finding the older versions pre-installed. Sometimes a downgrade license is included; however, this can be a hassle.


Generally upgrading the operating system and software for Linux, BSD, and Apple systems is cheap or free and is well worth the time to migrate. It can be more complicated cost wise to upgrade a Windows environment, but things like software assurance can help mitigate the upgrade costs. You could also consider trading in desktops and laptops for new ones (this has financial benefits too due to increased productivity, but I’ll save that for another time). Regardless, organizations couldn’t stick with DOS forever and current systems will likewise eventually need to be upgraded as well.

If you’ve found your organization behind the curve, GeekOut Technologies has the expertise to modernize your computer systems. Contact us to discuss upgrading your networks.

Isaac Johnson

Isaac has been in professional ministry since 2002, holds an M.Div. from Moody, and his goal is to equip churches to reach digital natives.

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