Legacy IT Systems
In recent years, more and more businesses have brought attention to legacy systems and their implications going forward. But what is a legacy system, and what role does it play in the digital realm? Legacy IT systems are outdated computer systems, software, or hardware that remain in use despite the availability of newer and more efficient alternatives. While the legacy systems’ meaning varies somewhat depending on the context, these systems typically have deep roots in an organization’s daily operations.
There are various types of legacy systems around today. Here are some of the most common:
- Hardware: Mainframe computers, servers, and other physical IT infrastructure that may need to be more affordable to replace.
- Software: Applications, operating systems, and programming languages that are no longer supported or maintained by their developers.
- Data: Legacy databases and file formats may be incompatible with modern systems, making data migration and integration difficult.
When viewing a legacy system vs. modern system comparison, it’s easy to identify the differences in performance and efficiency that exist between such tools. So with that being said, why are legacy systems still used? There are several reasons for this continued reliance, including:
- Cost: The costs associated with upgrading or replacing a legacy system can be steep, especially when considering the additional investment in training. In some cases, understandably, the financial benefits of a modern system may not justify the price of the transition.
- Business-Criticality: Legacy systems often operate business critical applications which may deter a business from wanting to discontinue use due to cost or perceived business risk.
- Compatibility: Some legacy systems are specifically tailored to a company’s unique needs, making it difficult to find a modern off-the-shelf system that can easily replace it. Also, integrating a new system may involve complex data migration, which can be time-consuming.
- Risk Aversion: Organizations might be reluctant to replace a legacy system that, despite its limitations, has proven to be reliable and stable. The potential risks of implementing a new system, such as downtime, data loss, and reduced productivity, can be a deterrent for some businesses.
- Expertise: Many organizations have staff members who are experts in managing and maintaining legacy systems. The loss of this expertise and the need to train staff on a new system can be a major challenge for businesses.
There are numerous problems with legacy systems that can hinder an organization’s ability to thrive in today’s competitive environment. For this reason, more companies are biting the bullet and opting to make the switch to more efficient solutions. Some of the most common problems users encounter when working with older systems include:
- Security Risks: Older systems may be more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they tend to lack the latest security patches and updates.
- Limited Scalability: Legacy systems may struggle to accommodate an organization’s growth. This is due in large part to the fact that they are unable to handle increased workloads and/or new business requirements.
- Integration Challenges: Integrating a legacy system with other systems can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive, which can limit an organization’s ability to adopt new technologies and streamline operations.
- High Maintenance Costs: Maintaining and supporting a legacy system can be costly. Specialized expertise is often required to help them function on an ongoing basis, and replacement parts or support may be difficult to find.
Businesses should weigh the pros and cons of using legacy systems to determine whether or not an upgrade is in order. It can also be helpful to view legacy systems examples to see how they operate in a modern context—and, more importantly, how other businesses have successfully implemented new tools to replace them. In addition, businesses should consider what alternative solutions may be available. For example, Skytap is an infrastructure-as-a-service that lets enterprises run legacy IBM Power applications in the public cloud, offering cloud-scale benefits for legacy workloads without the risk.
Legacy Modernization Examples
Because the characteristics of legacy software so often involve downsides, such as limited support and reduced compatibility with modern systems, an increasing number of businesses are modernizing their digital infrastructure. The benefits of cloud tools are immense, and they spotlight the need for improved legacy to cloud processes.
But what is cloud infrastructure? Cloud infrastructure refers to the collection of hardware and software resources that are delivered as a service over the Internet. It includes servers, storage, networking components, and virtualization platforms, which are hosted and managed by a cloud service provider. Legacy system modernization is the process of updating and transforming outdated IT systems to the cloud. The ultimate goal of legacy system transformation is to improve efficiency and scalability while minimizing disruption to existing operations.
This modernization process can be achieved through various legacy system modernization approaches, including re-platforming, re-hosting, re-engineering, and system integration. Cloud infrastructure plays a crucial role in this process, as it provides a platform for migrating legacy systems to a more modern environment.
Legacy system integration examples showcase the seamless connection of legacy systems with modern systems. By integrating legacy systems with modern technologies, organizations can leverage the strengths of both types of systems while minimizing the risks and costs associated with a complete system overhaul.
Application modernization also plays a key role in upgrading legacy systems. It involves updating and transforming legacy apps to better align with an organization’s current and future needs. This process can improve an app’s performance, security, and maintainability while cutting its long-term costs. Learn how you can migrate legacy applications to Skytap on Azure without rewriting or refactoring.
Legacy Data Migration
Transitioning from a legacy system to a cloud-based infrastructure involves several steps, including legacy data migration. When comparing a legacy system vs cloud infrastructure, the latter offers a host of advantages. As a result, many organizations are increasingly opting for cloud migration, which entails transferring data, applications, and other IT resources from legacy systems to the cloud.
Migrating legacy applications to the cloud is a significant part of this process due to the fact that it ensures compatibility with the target cloud environment. Cloud infrastructure services help facilitate this migration. They provide the necessary tools and resources to streamline the process and minimize disruption to business operations.
Cloud migration benefits organizations in many ways. For instance, it can help improve scalability and yield cost savings. However, a successful migration requires careful planning and execution, particularly when dealing with legacy systems that may have unique challenges and complexities.
Migrating legacy applications to the cloud involves the following steps:
- Assessment: Analyzing the existing legacy applications to determine their suitability for cloud migration and identifying any potential challenges, dependencies, or compatibility issues.
- Strategy: Developing a migration strategy that outlines the approach, timeline, and resources required for a successful migration. This may include selecting a cloud provider and deciding on the migration method (re-hosting, re-platforming, or re-engineering).
- Implementation: Executing the migration plan often requires that businesses update the application code or convert data formats to ensure compatibility with the target environment.
- Testing and Validation: This step ensures that the migrated applications and data function correctly in the cloud and validate that all requirements and objectives have been met.
- Transition and Optimization: Moving operations to the cloud-based environment and optimizing the applications and infrastructure to take full advantage of the cloud’s benefits.
Legacy IT Systems Modernization with Skytap
Skytap on Azure enables users to migrate and modernize their traditional applications in the cloud while preserving existing investments in application infrastructure. This service provides a self-service, multi-tenant public cloud environment that can run IBM Power and x86 workloads facilitating a seamless transition to the cloud for an organization. This can result in greater workload efficiency across the board and the modernization of legacy IT systems.