James Duvall | April 09, 2019

Manage Obsolescence Appropriately By Determining the Severity of Your System’s Issues

When an obsolescence issue occurs, typically the first thought is that the entire system may need to be replaced. Since a system replacement is time consuming and costly, and there is always a need to minimize downtime, quick Band-Aid-type fixes are usually performed just to get the system running again. These fixes typically do not address the underlying problems, and multiple occurrences of downtime will begin to add up. Despite common concerns that the entire system may be too old to continue, there are cheaper options than a full redesign.

If a part, or a few parts, begin to fail, one alternative is to perform a one-off part replacement, which is known as technology insertion. This approach may be the most time- and cost-effective solution to greatly extend the lifespan of a test system, especially when a component or two is flaking out all the time. However, when performing technology insertion, it is important to consider the impact replacing a part or two will have on the entire system.


A system undergoing a one-off part replacement, which will cost-effectively extend the system’s life.

If your hardware isn’t the issue, it may be time for an OS upgrade instead. In general, the longer a test system languishes on an old OS, the more obsolescence threatens the test system’s ability to remain online and well supported. Systems using an outdated OS are subject to support difficulties and problems in many areas, including possible security issues. But, like technology insertion, upgrading to a new OS is not as simple as just installing it and letting it run. New OS versions come with new rules and requirements, often rendering old software unable to run properly.

Making a Technology Refresh Manageable

It is true that not all systems can, or should, be saved. There will be instances when it will be more cost and time effective to perform a full technology refresh on your system instead. With a technology refresh, you can modernize critical aspects of the system, reduce downtime and compatibility issues, and ensure your system is fully supported.

To make a technology refresh more manageable, it is important to develop a phased approach that involves the following key components:
  • Planning a modular design that  has future growth and driver updates in mind

  • Upgrading the software from unsupported software to new supported and more secure versions

  • Modernizing existing hardware to expand capabilities with better data acquisition and test components

It’s also best to not approach a technology refresh alone. An experienced third party, such as G Systems, can partner with you to assess your obsolete system, then design and build the best solution. We can help identify trouble areas and reusable components and develop a migration plan to modernize your system. And, if you want to expand your system's functionality, we can also add in new components during a system upgrade.

Download our Complete Guide to Managing Obsolescence white paper to learn about three critical stages for managing obsolescence in your test systems.

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