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9 gifts IT needed but didn't get in 2016

Mary Branscombe | Jan. 3, 2017
In 2016 IT departments received technology that disappointed, didn’t deliver, took the wrong direction or didn’t arrive at all. Here’s what your IT team is still waiting for as we head into 2017.

Plus, the predictions and analyses from machine learning systems are only going to be as good as the data and the data models you feed them. Even then there will be false positives and spurious correlations, as well as deliberate attacks on those systems like the internet trolls who had Microsoft’s Tay bot spewing hate speech. And what you get out of AI-based systems is a prediction with a certainty level, which means we’re going to have to get comfortable dealing with uncertainty, and we need to be prepared for the machine learning failures that are in our future.

Getting off server products before they’re out of support

This one is a gift IT could give itself and rarely does. Support lifecycles are public. It wasn’t a surprise that Microsoft SQL Server 2005 stopped getting support and security updates in April 2016, any more than it would have been a surprise that the Windows Server 2003 you were probably running that database on stopped getting updates in 2015.

Having noticed how bad companies are at this, Microsoft did at least put a price on procrastination. If you have Software Assurance, you can buy Premium Assurance to get critical security fixes for an extra six years (for 5-12 percent of the license cost). Or you can use that cost as an argument to move to the newer version of the software that you’re already paying for with Software Assurance.

Give yourself a gift for next year and start planning what to do about Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 reaching end-of-life in 2020.


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