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I presently work at the Federal government and have had similar frustrations. It really has little to do with age and more to do with mentality. People get stuck in their old ways and are reluctant to change. My boss was that way in the beginning but, fortunately, he had an open enough mind where when I started slowly introducing newer technologies, like virtualization, he came to accept them. He also saw the wisdom in standardizing such things as backups and operating systems so that we weren't having to juggle 5-6 different platforms to get stuff done.
That said, standards and procedures exist for a reason. Someone like the OP is likely to be a lot more reckless when it comes to poking around and changing things. Just because something is newer doesn't necessarily mean it will fit the environment and/or application. Also, there are numerous other factors to consider such as vendor support, upgrade paths, downtime, etc. In a typical environment you will see not see newer technologies (outside of maybe a lab environment) until they've been tried and tested in the industry.
Like we just wanna tear the club up
We do it like there ain't nothin' to it
The way we do it, now everybody put your fuckin' hands up!
The Ides of March
Colleague "Robert E Lee"
Low bandwidth attack that can take down large servers?
I suppose we should all beware the Ides of March. Et tu, Bruce Schneier, et tu?