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Legacy Systems: The Need to Migrate

Written byGuest Blogger

December 6, 2011

Most organizations run on legacy software systems. Legacy software consists of programs and applications that are essential to the running of the organizations basic functions. Though most of them are outdated as they were written ages ago using programming language that is now considered obsolete, companies can’t simply get rid of them. Scrapping your legacy software in lieu of a more modern version is not a very good idea for a number of reasons:

  1. There is a chance that replacement software may not be as good as your legacy system. Furthermore it may take a long time to get used to the new system and its intricacies, time you could be spending to improve on other aspects of your business.
  2. Throughout the years in which you have been using your legacy software it has been accumulating knowledge and experience. Switching to a replacement system means also discarding this knowledge.
  3.  Users of the legacy software may prefer to continue using the old system as they were more familiar with its workings. Switching would mean depriving them of this confidence and it could result in more than a few hang-ups.

It is because of these reasons that companies spend into the millions when it comes to maintaining their legacy systems. Aside from the exorbitant costs associated with supporting original legacy software languages, there is a deficiency in both man power and IT systems that can integrate with legacy systems. Since the original programming language for legacy systems is hard to find, most young professionals are unwilling to learn them as it does not exactly one of their career goals. Furthermore legacy software was built using technologies that do not have modern equivalents, thus it is very hard to find an IT system that can successfully integrate with legacy systems. Underlying platforms on which legacy software systems were built are also hard to maintain in terms of financing and expertise.

Rather than implementing a complete over-haul of your systems software, you can incorporate various changes to the legacy software. For instance you could keep the good features of your legacy system and incorporate them into a new one. For instance the user interfaces and the legacy code functionality. This will make it easier for your legacy software users to adapt to the new system.

Despite the seeming problems associated with upgrading legacy software recent developments have made it possible for legacy migration to take place. This is done by virtual migration, where old software is run on modern systems. The beauty of this new system is that it deals rather effectively with the hardware problem. Rather than re-writing the legacy software in a modern programming language, the modern hardware is adapted to the old software.

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