Feeds

The Legacy Dilemma

Architecture giveth, vendors taketh away?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

In IT circles, the term ‘legacy’ is generally banded about as a kind of shorthand, to suggest that a system or application has reached a certain point in its existence where the only way is down. There is no concrete definition – well there is if you browse the 'net, but it tends to reflect the above (for example, “a system which has been superseded but which is still in use”). Which isn’t really much help in system planning.

So, other than such bland generalisations, is it possible to characterise legacy and if so, how? To resolve this issue, who better to ask than the Reg readership. In fact, the answers we received to our poll last week were pretty telling. As we can see from Figure 1, the number one characteristic that could quickly turn mainstream into has-been was the question of vendor support. Hmm, does this suggest that IT environments would be better able to withstand the vagaries of change if only vendors allowed them? Well, yes, actually it does.

Fig1

While none of the other characteristics were seen as irrelevant – in other words, they all have a part to play – it is worth calling out the lack-of-system-flexibility driver, which appears bottom of the list. Far more important than the flexibility of individual systems, and indeed ranking equally with the loss of skills over time, is the issue of integration between systems. This is fascinating stuff, if for no other reason than it validates the need to consider the IT environment as a whole, over and above treating individual systems.

This priority is reflected when we consider what the 303 poll respondents considered as most important to protect against systems becoming legacy before their time. As we can see from Figure 2, having good architecture and design in mind is the number 1 criterion. Unfortunately, we know from other studies that this isn’t always treated as a high priority early in the design stage. However, at least it’s useful to know – findings such as these are a useful counter to anybody who suggesting they’ll worry about such things later.

Fig2

Of course, architecture can’t protect against individual vendors withdrawing support. However, what we can do is extrapolate these findings to the IT environment as a whole. If integration is a key issue, and well-architected systems a key protection, it is not hard to see how such questions as open standards and interoperability become important when ensuring the future-safety of our systems and applications. Built-to-last IT is an oxymoron and nobody can prevent change from happening, but at least we can make savvy design decisions early on, which can extend the life of both individual systems and the whole infrastructure.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.