LIMS, ELN, LES, Operating Systems and Others
For me, I do wonder whether upgrades will affect products such as the LabWare LIMS / ELN or the Thermo Fisher Scientific SampleManager LIMS / LES. But as for the iVention system, since I’m not using a VPN, have no local install, and much less local presence, have fewer reservations about upgrades. Plus, I have multiple machines in my network. If I upgrade one machine and something doesn’t quite work as desired, I have other machines to use.
Currently, I’m upgrading to Windows 10. Quite nicely, Windows 10 did let me know that the Cisco VPN that is so popular is not compatible but, having been forewarned, I knew to look for discussions on this and it does seem there are workarounds for this issue.
Sometimes, when customers move to a newer version of MS Office or MS SQL Server, when the first customer upgrades, that is when I upgrade. It sometimes means I have to remember to save documents as a different or older format for other customers but, once the first customer upgrades, usually the others aren’t far behind.
Where things get a bit sticky is with the web browsers. iVention suggest Chrome, I need Chrome for the Thermo Fisher Scientific web-sites I use, and I have to keep Internet Explorer around for use with customer’s SharePoint. However, I’ve had customers that standardized on rather old versions of Internet Explorer and, once you upgrade, you aren’t necessarily backward compatible nor can you easily get a copy of the older version to install. The browsers and upgrades are sometimes more complex than the operating system upgrades.
I should add that I’m not running any instrument software. Instrument software does tend to be more operating system version dependent than LIMS, LES or ELNs. I don’t have this issue so I can’t suggest solutions to it. Maybe people seem to run separate machines for this but I wonder if there’s anything that could be done with virtual machines.
While I do know consultants that rely heavily on virtual machines, one for each customer per configuration (i.e., a customer might need more than one virtual machine setup), and I will admit I do sometimes use these for various reasons, I’ve been mainly just using one machine for everything. In upgrading operating systems and working out the kinks while I’m not in the middle of a busy project, it seems to work fine. As I said, my main issue seems to be the issue of keeping track of who uses which web browser and, sometimes, even in which version.
As such, while I’m still checking some things out post-Windows 10 upgrade, I doubt it will be too exciting or hard to fix, but that remains to be seen. And I always have another machine to switch to until I’m entirely satisfied the upgrade is working so I’ll survive and be able to continue working, regardless.