Learn to love legacy systems

By | September 9, 2019

I’ve been corrected over once. I’ve used the term”legacy system” in meetings and been quickly taken to the woodshed by the speech authorities for saying something that was a definite pejorative. Even here I have started saying”traditional system” instead. I have gotten less crap about that, but it is the same thing.

I have worked on these system early in my career and consider them valuable IT assets, today and moving forward. Here’s why.

Although traditional systems, for example those created 20 or more years past, don’t get much press from the tech media, they are core to what retains most Global 2000 businesses going day to day. You will need the ability to use the conventional (and typically on-premises) systems in this way that they work and play well with emerging systems, such as the ones which are cloud based.

Yes, the focus has been on replacing these systems. In many circumstances, the applications and data stores on traditional platforms aren’t economically viable to proceed to the cloud. The analysts generally agree that, compared to the overall application portfolio, traditional data comprises 30 percent to 35 percent–at least for the next five to ten years.

These applications will have to continue to live in traditional enterprise data centres, or, more likely, be placed with a colocation provider or managed services providers. Sometimes, public clouds will stand up platform analogs to permit these systems to operate in their native spaces in the clouds. But there isn’t any law that businesses will need to do that. In some cases, it is best to leave well enough alone.

You will find, however, a few core problems That Have to be solved:

We need to use technology that can facilitate communications between the public clouds along with the traditional systems.
We need common security and governance frameworks that span both standard systems and multicloud deployments.
We must incorporate traditional systems in emerging devops processes and toolchains, if possible.
We want some way to abstract conventional systems in new cloud-native approaches, such as microservices and containers.
These items are tough to perform –and even harder to do on conventional systems. The industry doesn’t care as much about those platforms anymore; many of those R&D money is going to public clouds, IoT, AI, and edge computing.

I am telling you today: Neglect these systems to the detriment of the cloud. Legacy is more important to cloud than most know. Yes, I said it.