Such a big change is called DX (Digital transformation), and the problem with these trends is the “cliff of 2025”.The speed of IT development is really fast, and the technologies that were once mainstream will quickly become obsolete. The technology in the 2000s was centered on PCs, but in the 2010s it moved to smartphones, and now with the advent of 5G, it is moving to IoT technology.
This time, while explaining the problem called “the cliff of 2025”, we will introduce the problems of legacy systems and the problems in migration of mission-critical systems.
What is “the cliff of 2025”?
Support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, which were once used in many PCs and servers, will end in 2020. Support for SAP ERP, an integrated enterprise resource planning system used mainly by large companies, is scheduled to end in 2025.
Furthermore, regarding the Java language used for business system development, the developer Oracle has completed the free update of JDK8 since the end of January 2019.
In other words, the systems and platforms that have been used primarily until now have been or are scheduled to be discontinued one after another in the last few years.
In this way, a major IT technology paradigm shift is about to occur around 2025. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry calls the crisis that occurs when it is unable to respond to such changes the “cliff of 2025.”
It does not mean that the system will suddenly malfunction or stop in 2025. However, to make a large-scale system migration, the word “the cliff of 2025” means that “this is the limit”. If the system migration cannot be dealt with by this point, it is expected that a loss of 12 trillion yen will occur every year.
Problems with legacy systems
The difficulty with this problem is that not only are companies forced to make huge capital investments to deal with it, but the problem is not so easy that it can be solved by system migration alone.
As mentioned above, IT technology has undergone generational changes over and over again. Therefore, after 10 years, many technologies will become obsolete, and there will be no new learners, so the number of engineers who can understand the contents will decrease. As a result, there is a technical disconnect between long-standing systems and current mainstream systems.
What is a legacy system?
Older systems are commonly referred to as legacy systems. Legacy is a word that means “heritage” and has both positive and negative meanings, but in the case of IT, it is used in the latter sense. In other words, it can be said to be a “negative heritage.”
Migrating this legacy system to a new one is not as easy as it sounds. A typical example is a mainframe.
In an era when mainframes were the mainstream
Mainframes are large computers that were mainstream before the birth of small computers such as PCs and workstations. Although it is inferior to current PCs and servers in terms of performance, it still has excellent fault tolerance, so it is still used in applications that require high-speed and safe execution of large numbers of transactions, such as systems such as banks and insurance companies. I am active.
Mainframes are a completely different technology from current computers, so specialized technicians are required. Moreover, because it is quite expensive, old models have been used for a long time, the number of engineers who can handle the technology is originally small, and many have left the site due to retirement.
However, it is not possible to make a large-scale investment in the education of young people to take charge of the technology that will disappear in the future, and not a few companies have a dilemma.
In addition, as the personnel in charge gradually disappear, documents may be lost and the system may become a black box before you know it, and as a result, even if a security problem occurs, you may not be able to respond suddenly.
In addition, the maintenance of the system becomes more and more personal, and the worst situation can occur in which the system cannot even be operated without a specific person.
Therefore, even if you try to move to new technology, you may not understand the whole picture of the old technology, or the person in charge may be too busy with daily work to get around.
Challenges in migration of mission-critical systems
The most serious problem with this problem is the core system. A core system is a business system that supports parts that are indispensable for corporate activities such as ERP, production/sales/inventory management, and personnel/accounting systems.
If the core system is stopped, the corporate activities themselves will be stopped, so it is not so easy to migrate to a new system.
Therefore, it is a realistic method to gradually migrate each part that makes up the system to a new version (migration to a new platform), but even so, if the plan is insufficient, trouble will occur.
In the first place, it is not easy for the person in charge of migration to become familiar with the contents of both the old and new systems. As already mentioned, information on past systems is often lost, so at the stage of migration, I noticed that there are a lot of items such as “I don’t know, but the system is working”, and it turns pale. It can also be.
From the above, it is said that it is better to recognize that migration to a new system may cost as much as a new development in some cases.
What is migration?
Migration is an IT term derived from the English word “migration,” which generally means “migration, migration, migration.” It means migrating / transferring data of existing systems and software to a new environment or another environment.
Increasing need for third-party verification
In any company, IT staff tend to be short-sighted because they focus too much on the immediate task of maintaining and operating the system without stopping it. As a result, there is a risk of system migration, and things may get worse as you continue to take ad hoc measures.
What’s more, as mentioned above, even if you know that the cost of migrating to a new system is very high, when you report it to your boss, “Why is it so expensive?” Some people may have an urgent need to say, “Let’s do it,” and the plan you have made may be dismissed.
Third-party verification is becoming more necessary under these circumstances.
It will be possible to make a precise system migration plan by having an external system integrator or consultant conduct proper hearings and surveys and then estimate the work based on objective data.
In addition, the completeness of the test and the accuracy of quality verification are verified by the intervention of a third party’s viewpoint, and missing viewpoints and deficiencies may be pointed out, so we will carry out more accurate and accurate tests. It is possible.
Especially in recent years, the number of proceedings due to the method of hearing and the lack of definition of requirements after the hearing has increased. However, with the help of a third party, it is possible to thoroughly verify what risks the new system has when starting a project and what tests are needed to avoid the risks. I can say.
The “cliff of 2025” requires drastic action, but there are many things that can be gained from this.
The first is that you can review your business. Businesses that use legacy systems often include unprofitable luggage businesses for companies. Therefore, you can take this opportunity to review the business content and perform the migration, break away from the negative legacy including related systems, and concentrate on the business with high future potential.
The second is that IT human resources can grow. Faced with difficult problems will strengthen the ability of the person in charge and will be able to deal with more difficult problems.
In other words, it is up to management to decide whether dealing with the “cliff of 2025” is just a cost or an investment in the future.
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