Leveraging legacy systems transformation strategies to enable innovation and unlock agile development within your enterprise.
Is your business ready to compete in the digital age? A surprising number of enterprises are still running legacy systems in place of updated and more modern technologies. This happens for several reasons, such as the lack of budget for updates, unwillingness to modernize, and the most common — because replacing legacy can be difficult and time-intensive.
Replacing a system that handles a vital business role in your company is much easier said than done. At AIS, we can help you navigate the pros and cons of legacy system migrations as well as some best practices for a successful legacy system transformation strategy.
Don’t believe me that businesses and government still use incredibly outdated technology? Here is an astounding example that really highlights the point. The U.S. government is the richest organization in the history of the world. According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the amount of money spent on the U.S. Department of Defense in 2017 surpasses the amount of money spent by the next 7 highest spending countries combined by several billion dollars. That being said, the Department of Defense uses an IBM series 1 (a 1970s computing system) and 8-inch floppy disks to run their nuclear program. This DOD legacy system oversees intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable bombers, and support aircraft.
The Pros and Cons of Legacy System Migration Methods
One of the easiest and most popular approaches to modernize digital infrastructure is to perform a legacy system migration. What that means in layman’s terms is taking existing IT system infrastructure containerize and migrate it to either Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, both being PaaS cloud services.
You can take a number of different approaches to your cloud migration:
- Rehost Approach — Direct to Cloud lift and shift
- Replatform Approach — Containerization
- Refactor Approach — Full PaaS Modernization
Hosting your legacy apps on a cloud service provides several advantages over on-premise data center environments, whether you choose to simply rehost an existing application or fully refactor the core application to leverage native cloud benefits. After a legacy system migration is performed, dated systems can start to take advantage of either a little or a lot of the benefits of a distributed cloud environment, such as increased availability, reduced system maintenance, reduced total cost of operations depending on the approach taken.
Modernization can also lead to other tangible benefits. By moving to a “managed” cluster for hosting the containers, all the underlying Hardware, OS/Kernel and Cluster SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) become the responsibility of the cloud provider, like Azure. Furthermore, a legacy system migration approach can help you scale a portfolio of applications that most large commercial or public sector enterprises operate.
There are certain pros and cons of each legacy modernization method. When migrating a legacy app to the cloud using a rehosting method, the core function of the program remains the same. Any business logic and system architecture remain the same, which means they are still as equally dated as before you perform the migration. If you have a monolithic application, it’s still going to be massive once moved to the cloud. Any changes to the core business logic may require deeper and more drastic changes. While a simple rehost modernization approach doesn’t have a large impact on the core application structure, it’s always a good first step to modernization if you find yourself with limited resources to refactor.
Refactoring, on the other hand, is a much more time-intensive approach and typically requires more significant re-coding of an existing application. The benefit to this legacy system transformation strategy is that it helps realize the best features of a cloud-optimized and cloud-native application architecture.
The optimal modernization strategy for most enterprises is somewhere in between rehosting and refactoring and is what we refer to as replatforming or containerization. This approach has the ability to get you halfway to a fully realized cloud maturity model, allowing you to take advantage of cloud benefits such as flexibility, efficiency, and more without completely re-architecting your apps. Some re-coding may take place, but ultimately the application is only modified slightly to leverage specific cloud benefits that have the power to impact the bottom line of your business.
Partnering with AIS
There are several things to consider when trying to implement a successful legacy transition strategy. For starters, taking a thorough assessment of your technology and where your systems stand is very important to the overall success of your application migration. Understanding what goes into a legacy system migration helps forecast any problems IT teams could have during the transition.
Throughout the migration, keeping regular records and documentation is vital. One of the many challenges of a legacy system migration is often the lack of proper documentation. Growing problem enterprises face is the retiring of IT staff. Low understanding of a legacy system coupled with a lack of proper documentation is definitely a recipe for failure.
Lastly, it is important to budget for system and infrastructure updates and training. It is all well and good to perform a legacy software migration but if the staff is not on the same page mismanagement and unfamiliarity with the new product can unintentionally occur.
Partnering with Applied Information Sciences (AIS) can lead to very tangible benefits for your organization. AIS can do everything from performing an application assessment to assisting your internal team in adopting the latest best practices to help harness the power of cloud services to transform your business. For more information about the benefits of enterprise cloud solutions, check out our Cloud Services.
Start Your Modernization Journey Today
There are many benefits to performing a legacy system migration. Making your business competitive for the future of the digital world is just one of many examples. Just remember that laying out a successful transition strategy is just as important as updating your legacy systems in the first place. Getting started is often times the hardest part. See how AIS can help make your modernization journey seamless and successful. Contact us today, or head over to who we are to get to know us.