Feeds

Adopt and adapt better than rip and replace...

Developing with Legacy Systems – Part 1

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

If the internet has done nothing else, it has made the parochial world of proprietary systems appear outdated. Software architecture "A" now had better interoperate with software architecture "B", or risk rejection as now being unfit for purpose. And all of them need to interoperate with language "X" and application "Z". But in practice, this is also the case when the languages and applications are ancient and venerable, because they are still running tasks critical to the survival of the business.

The arrival of SOA has made this an imperative now, for "sweating the assets" is now a strong mantra amongst business and organisational users. But developers and business managers need to work together to decide what actually constitutes an "asset". It is easy to assume that the asset is just the data, which can then simply be ported to a new environment. In practice, however, the asset is more commonly both the data and the application that created it, with the pair often being inseparable (in part, because the application may represent the only detailed documentation of the underlying business requirements there is; as well as containing hardcoded “master data”).

Risk management

It is also the case that any change away from an existing asset carries risk as well as advantage: change can mean failure as well as success. So, integrating legacy assets that still perform a valuable task for the business remains a serious and important option for developers to consider in business terms, regardless of how much they might relish the technical challenge any change constitutes.

This does not mean legacy integration is the de rigueur option. The possibility of change, to redevelop an application as a service component designed for an SOA environment, has to be one of the developers’ options. This will become one of the developers’ more pressing options over time, if only because the staff with the knowledge and experience needed to maintain many legacy applications are part of the "baby boomer" generation and are now nearing retirement age.

Vendors are, therefore, now offering businesses with established legacy systems a growing range of options that can integrate and absorb those important applications into the newer world of SOA and the Internet, without forcing the risks associated with "rip and replace" approaches.

Legacy shift

One option has seen HP, because of its commitment to Intel’s Itanium processor as the heart of its high-end server hardware range, take an important step with two of its acquired legacy environments – DEC’s old OpenVMS and Tandem’s old NonStop (see the whitepapers here and HP NonStop evolution here). The company has invested in porting these environments to run native on Itanium, which at least gives existing applications a current, more maintainable server platform to run on. This will give both systems an extended lease of life; which is important as they both still run business critical applications. But as both also offer potential advantages for the management of complex business transactions across the Web, it will be interesting to see if HP also takes the further step of promoting them to new users with support and developer education programmes.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Beyond technology

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?