Most tech bloggers would argue that you should have decommissioned your legacy systems yesterday. In some cases, they may be right, but not always.
It's rare to hear arguments for maintaining your legacy applications, and when you do, they're typically "debunked" by nothing more than strong convictions – like the belief that migration is worth the cost.
Yet, there's a case to be made for the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Why should you stick with your legacy systems, at least for the foreseeable future?
OEM support isn't everything
One of the reasons why you may consider migrating your legacy applications from SUNSPARC-, HP 3000- or Alpha-based environments is that the OEM is ending hardware support. To be fair, that's understandable. The problem is, in situations such as these, you typically have to upgrade your servers, networking and storage assets if you want to stick with the OEM.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, consider working with a third-party maintenance provider specializing in legacy equipment. Some of these organizations can actually save you between 30 and 50 percent in equipment and software maintenance costs, but how?
Some third-parties not only provide annual maintenance agreements, but also undertake all system administration responsibilities associated with the legacy equipment, such as:
- Managing environments based on OpenVMS, Solaris, HP UX, and other legacy OSes.
- Performance tuning.
- Continuously monitoring system performance and security.
- Remediating issues remotely or on site.
- Automating scripts to maintain asset health.
- Scheduling comprehensive, automated reports of your environment.
So when you partner with a third-party legacy solutions partner, you receive more than just basic break-fix services and call support: You augment your in-house capabilities.
IT can still innovate over legacy systems
According to a survey from Avanade, the typical IT department spends 36 percent of its time managing and monitoring legacy systems. Survey respondents claimed such responsibility was preventing them from focusing on innovation.
This is one of the reasons why you should consider outsourcing your legacy system maintenance to a third-party that has the resources and expertise to do so.
With this in mind, decommissioning legacy systems isn't necessarily a prerequisite to enabling IT to innovation. For example, if a third-party undertakes all administrative responsibilities associated with your legacy environment, your in-house staff can allocate time to experiment with cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, Azure or Google Cloud Platform.
Maybe you want to see how an automation technology impacts your IT overhead or test how a cloud-based customer relationship management application impacts the sales team's day-to-day. Your network admins, developers and other staff members probably don't have the time to invest in such activities if they're trying to fix a bug in Solaris or diagnose a hardware problem on an Alpha server. Let someone else handle that.
Migrating legacy apps isn't a picnic
If you're thinking of moving your Solaris-based legacy app to a contemporary environment, prepare for the possibility that the project may go over budget and exceed the established timeline. You'll probably have to rewrite much of the software's code.
Unless you're using a hardware virtualization platform or working with a third-party legacy migration specialist, there's a chance the project's costs may set you back down the line. Sure, you may get the application to the new environment, but after the fact, IT may have to table innovative practices for the sake of adhering to next year's budget.
In an ideal world, utilizing the latest and greatest technologies doesn't come with any headaches. In practical terms, however, getting to this point isn't easy. If your legacy systems allow you to operate competitively, there's no reason to run away from them.
Pyramid Technology Services has 25 years of experience providing cost-effective, innovative solutions for your IT systems, with a special focus on legacy equipment. We provide hardware maintenance, spare parts, and new and refurbished systems for the purpose of extending the life of your technology. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 823-0700.