All laboratories with a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) must face the decision at some point, whether to upgrade or stay with their current version. Some may take the stance that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and others may count down the days to when the new features will become available. Regardless of which camp you are in, if you have not upgraded by the time the “End of Life” point is reached for a particular version, your hand might be forced. And, in case you are not aware, Thermo SampleManager v10 and v11 users have been given their notice.
The Thermo Support Status web page shows that all SampleManager 10 versions will be off support by end of 2017 and version 11.0 will be off support at the end of 2018.
If your organization has an older version of SampleManager LIMS, we want to share with you several good reasons to upgrade, some new capabilities and functionality available in v12, and some strategies on how to go about upgrading your SampleManager LIMS.
We know you probably have many good reasons why you don’t want to change your LIMS version at the moment. “It just works, so why change?” or “I can’t afford to upgrade at the moment – no budget!” or “I have nobody who could do the upgrade for us”, are a few reasons that we continually hear from prospective clients.
If you elect not to upgrade and run your LIMS post the End of Support date, your LIMS may work, but what are you going to do if it crashes? Also, your LIMS depends on the server and database versions, and they have end of support dates as well. What do you do if the server hardware stops working, or Windows will not boot, or the database just will not start? You could search eBay for hardware components or surf internet help boards for Oracle tips (Oracle stopped supporting those old versions years ago!), but both are not desirable at 3 AM with the lab off-line and rail cars full of product, queued up waiting to roll out in the morning!
A LIMS upgrade should be looked at as an opportunity to, at a minimum, get your business-critical LIMS onto current hardware or a powerful, new VM environment, or upgraded to the latest Windows and databases versions. Perhaps you will even be able to move to a database more aligned with your company’s IT policies.
We would like to bring to your attention some of the exciting new features and capabilities that SampleManager v12 offers.
We recommend you take this opportunity to look deep into how your SampleManager LIMS is operating; compare your current lab operations to what the current LIMS provides and work out what you want the upgraded SampleManager LIMS to do in the future. Then, get it done.
Upgrading a LIMS requires planning. There are many things to consider including LIMS functionality, servers, and databases, plus the steps needed to protect your existing data. It may have been many years since your last upgrade and you may still be running your original version, as installed. If you don’t have hands-on experience with upgrading, it is easy to miss an important step in the process and make it more complicated than it needs to be.
That is where an experienced SampleManager LIMS Consultant can help. Subject Matter Experts with demonstrable SampleManager expertise will know what to look for in your system and how to make sure you get the functionality and data you need into your new upgraded LIMS.
We have found that the best way to proceed is to build a new server and database, install the standard new LIMS version, and then selectively merge your old configuration and customizations into the new LIMS. Each piece needs to be evaluated and either discarded, used as-is, or replaced by new standard functionality. Moving your historical data is easy if your database vendor stays the same, but even so, you should decide if you really need some of that old data and archive it out if you do not.
But, if it all seems a bit overwhelming or you don’t know where to start, we suggest that you contact a SampleManager LIMS Expert Consultant and get some help. The SampleManager LIMS Expert should be able to assess, estimate, and propose an upgrade project that addresses your needs and fits your budget.
Give us 5 reasons why you believe an upgrade should happen for your Lab, in the comments below.