The Samanage blog interviewed me about 4sysops and asked me a few questions that are of interest to you as a system administrator.
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To be honest, I don’t think that I am important enough to be interviewed. But I liked the questions in the interview because they are not really about me, and they gave me the opportunity to rant against followers of the precautionary principle in IT. A few days before the interview, I read an article (which I can no longer find) about the number of Windows XP machines that are still in use in many organizations. But what really irritates me was that many of those organizations, which are eventually considering upgrading their operating systems, are moving to Windows 7 instead of deploying Windows 8.1.

Someone recently told me (I think it was a comment on 4sysops) that one reason is that those organizations have been planning and preparing the upgrade to Windows 7 for a while and can’t now switch to Windows 8.1 because that would require them to start planning again. Well, if this is really true, then an operating system upgrade needs several years of planning for some organizations because Windows 7 was released in 2009. Those organizations will probably be without mainstream support of their freshly “upgraded” Windows infrastructure when they are finished with the deployment because the mainstream support of Windows 7 ends in a few months (January 13, 2015).

I think the main reason businesses stick so long with outdated technologies is because they don’t take IT seriously enough, and their IT departments are therefore hopelessly underfunded. In a way, the contents of this interview is an endorsement for the proactionary principle, which states that stopping progress because of the risks is itself too risky. Organizations that stick with old technologies definitely risk becoming obsolete. There is no doubt that technology in general, and IT in particular, will gain importance rapidly in the years to come.

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Of course, this is not just about the operating system an organization runs on its desktops. The future of IT is in the cloud, and large parts of the interview are about this development. In my view, if your organization still has Windows XP machines running and shies away from the cloud because the executives think that all this new technology is either useless or risky, or both, you had better look for a new job now because all of your employer’s precautions increase your risk of becoming jobless after your company closes its doors. An IT admin who is not familiar with the latest technologies will have a hard time in finding a new job in a technological world that is moving ever faster.

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