I stumbled across this picture the other day and it got me thinking about how technology has changed. I first started using the Internet in the late 1980s. Back then, everything was text based—this was before NCSA Mosaic, the first web server and the World Wide Web. Most networks weren’t connected. Now, most networks are connected, which means there are a lot more threats to your servers, and—by extension—your data.
Fortunately, operating systems (like Windows®) and security measures have evolved with these changes. Vendors like Microsoft® not only develop new product versions, they also provide security updates to existing versions. Let’s be realistic, though: Even huge companies like Microsoft can’t provide updates for old product versions indefinitely. Eventually, support for a particular version—whether it’s the operating system or an application—will end. For example, Microsoft ended support for Windows 2000 in 2005; support for Windows Server 2003 ended in 2010.*
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Dave. What does that mean for me?” Well, chances are your CT Center system is running on an older version of Windows. Since CT Center uses dialing hardware, the hardware needs to be supported by Windows. Until this point, most CT Center system servers have been 2003 or earlier because the necessary drivers weren’t available on the newer versions. Now the dialing hardware support is available for current Windows versions, so we’ve updated CT Center to be fully compatible with the latest version: Windows Server 2012.
Of course, you’re probably still asking what it means for you. I’m getting to that. For starters, it means more security, which has improved considerably since Windows 2000 and Server 2003. In fact, you can fail a security audit if you have servers running anything older than Server 2008. I’ll admit that this point is probably only exciting to your IT staff. However, security is one of those topics that come up when compliance is discussed—and compliance is becoming increasingly important to everyone.
The newer Windows versions offer better performance than their predecessors. The improved memory and disk management make a difference in applications requiring a lot of stored data (like CT Center). It’s not a feature that sells Windows upgrades, so you don’t hear much about this, but it’s great news for CT Center users.
The Server 2012 compatibility also means CT Center can run in a virtualized environment. Often these environments don’t support hardware such as dialing cards, so an alternative technology like HMP, software-based processing, is needed. And the required HMP software uses the latest Windows Server versions to run. Since CT Center now supports HMP and Server 2012, it can run in a fully virtualized environment. This reduces hardware costs and allows the data to be easily moved to another system if needed.
The thought of ancient civilizations using the high-tech devices like smart phones and tablet computers seems rather silly. It does show an interesting dichotomy in technology: Some things advance, while others don’t. Now that CT Center supports Windows Server 2012, it’s probably a good time to consider upgrading.
*Okay, extended support for Server 2003 goes into mid-2015, but you pay for that support and the associated fixes. Even extended support ends at some time. Extended support for Windows 2000 ended in 2010.
This article was written by Dave S