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What is a legacy system? Benefits of migration and openness

legacy system
legacy system

Legacy systems are “older systems”.
Legacy systems are often related to the core of a company, such as core systems, and cannot be easily changed.
However, because it is an old model, it is difficult to support new technology, and maintenance costs and time are required.
This time, we will introduce the basic knowledge of legacy systems, migration to new systems, and opening of legacy systems.


table of contents

  • 1. What is a legacy system?
  • 2. Impact of system legacy
  • 3. What is the “cliff of 2025”?
  • 4. Legacy system measures (“migration” and “modernization”)
  • 5. Benefits of opening legacy systems
  • 6. Utilizing the cloud to break away from legacy systems
  • 7. Continuous metabolism of legacy systems
  • 8. To find a subcontractor for system development, use “Order Navi”

What is a legacy system?

The legacy system is a term that refers to a system that has been built with old technologies and mechanisms and has become complicated and black-boxed.

“Legacy” originally means “assets” or “things that have been passed down from generation to generation.” It’s not a bad thing in the first place, but when we use the term “legacy system” in information system terms, it means “old and outdated system”.

Legacy systems have been introduced and put into practical use for a long time, so they are difficult to expand and maintain and are not compatible with new technologies and business models. In some cases, more advanced technologies have already become commonplace. Such legacy systems are also known as “Technical Debt.”

An old system is called a legacy system, but there is no clear definition of how old it is called “legacy”.

Also, what is pointed to depends on the situation, for example, when introducing a new system, the existing system is called “legacy system”, and when new technology such as USB comes out, the old technology such as serial connection is called “legacy”. increase.

In system development, a legacy system uses a mainframe (general-purpose computer) installed in a company and is the basis of the company’s core system. Also called the “proprietary (proprietary specification)” system, it was developed by a vendor based on old-fashioned technology with its technology, and it is a system built to order for each company.

In Japan, vendors collectively provide legacy systems such as mission-critical systems, applications (software) for each business, and necessary hardware. It is a stable system that has been used for many years while being maintained by the vendor.

However, it is a very complicated system because it does not suit the current corporate situation and it is revised and changed by Tsugihagi every time the management activity changes.


Impact of system legacy

People tend to think that it would be good if the system works stably even with a legacy system, but what kind of impact will it have if the system becomes a legacy system?


● Mechanism of legacy

IT technology is advancing so fast that it is called dog-ear (growing 7 times faster than humans) or mouse-ear (growing 18 times faster than humans), and current technology will soon become a legacy. However, user progress is not as fast as technological progress, so many people continue to use older devices and systems. Therefore, the system will not easily disappear as it gets older. This is the mechanism by which “legacy” is born.


● What happens when the system becomes a legacy?

<The usability of the system deteriorates>

Legacy systems utilize old technologies and cannot introduce new technologies or devices. A bespoke system may look like a black box that is different from the original specifications and documents due to various modifications and changes over time. If this happens, it will be difficult to link with other systems, and the usability of the system will deteriorate.


<Maintenance cost will be high>

Legacy systems have higher maintenance and operational costs. There are several factors in this, one is that manufacturer support has ended. Since the core system introduces the hardware and the system together, the hardware is also becoming a legacy. If the hardware is old, the firmware will be old and the security response will be slow. Due to the end of manufacturer support, parts may not be available for repair.

Also, over the years, the improved system has become bloated and complex. What’s more, if the engineer who first built the system is retired, no staff can see the whole picture, so it becomes a black box, a rigid system that is difficult to modify, and extra time for management. Will be applied.


<Delayed utilization of the latest technology>

Legacy systems use old technology that is premised on closed systems. We do not anticipate the introduction of new technologies such as the cloud and OSS (Open-source software). As a result, major modifications are required to accommodate new technologies.


● Legacy-free method

There is a method called “legacy-free” to solve the weaknesses of such legacy systems. Legacy-free means “free from legacy”, eliminating systems and devices that are considered legacies, such as ISA buses and earphone jacks, like Apple’s Macs and iPhones, and making only new technologies. Refers to a system or computer.

You can use new technology to build high-performance systems, but it’s also a controversial approach because it takes the time and effort of users to adapt to the new system.


What is the “cliff of 2025”?

The “cliff of 2025”, which is closely related to the legacy system, was announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in 2018. It is the content pointed out in the DX report. By the way, “DX” is an abbreviation for “Digital Transformation”. DX means that digital technology can be used by companies to create businesses and improve consumers’ lives.

Specifically, the “cliff of 2025” is the delay in international competition, economic stagnation, etc. that would be expected if the existing system (complexity, aging, black-boxed legacy system) remains in the future. It is a word that refers to. He also points out that the retirement of IT human resources and the end of support expected by 2025 may cause more stagnation.

The occurrence of these economic losses is referred to as the “wall of 2025.”


● The legacy system closely related to “Cliff in 2025”

There is a deep connection between the “Cliff of 2025” and the legacy system. In the DX report, companies need DX to leverage new digital technologies to transform their businesses, create new business models, and flexibly modify them for their future growth and competitiveness. You understand. However, in reality, he points out that it has not led to major business transformation.

The existence of “legacy systems” is cited as one of the major factors that have not led to business transformation.

As mentioned above, we are concerned that a large amount of cost and human resources spent on legacy systems will make it impossible to invest resources such as IT budgets in new digital technologies, which will reduce the global competitiveness of companies. increase.

In the DX report released, it is predicted that by 2025, legacy systems that have been in operation for more than 21 years will account for 60% of the total system.

In the future, these systems need to be renewed, and we are cautioning that companies that miss this wave of renewal will lose many business opportunities. To overcome the wall of 2025, it is necessary to clear the problem of the legacy system, but it is pointed out that it will take time to overcome it. For this reason, companies are required to take immediate action against legacy systems.


Legacy system measures (“migration” and “modernization”)

Legacy migration is the migration of an existing legacy system to a new system. “Migration” means “relocation” and “migration” and is one of the important issues for many companies using legacy mission-critical systems.


● Advantages of legacy migration

<Review of the system according to the times>

Migration involves switching vendor-specific closed systems to open applications. While inheriting the existing software assets, we will reduce the size of the hardware for easy maintenance.

Since an open environment is built by migration for a closed legacy system, it is also possible to support cloud computing. You can build a system with a high degree of freedom that does not depend on a specific vendor.


<Utilization of assets such as know-how>

Since migration can utilize many years of know-how as it is, the cost of user education related to system introduction can also be reduced. In addition, gradual migration is possible, so you can work without stopping the system or use the new system immediately after performing the migration.


<Reduction of TCO>

Legacy migration can reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Since it is based on the existing system, the initial cost can be reduced compared to the new installation, and the running cost of the hardware can be reduced by downsizing.


● Further evolved “modernization”

As an advanced version of legacy migration, there is also a method called “modernization”. Modernization is a noun for the word “modernize”.

In modernization, we will introduce new IT technology without changing the parts that correspond to the system specifications and requirements definition. By using the current specifications as they are, the system can be turned into new hardware while keeping the existing software assets. Modernization makes it possible to maintain the assets and stability of legacy systems and adapt to new technologies at the same time.


Benefits of opening a legacy system

Opening means changing a closed system to an open system. It is not an original system, but a system built by combining popular OS and hardware whose technical specifications are generally open to the public.

However, in Japan, many companies are reluctant to open legacy systems for security reasons.

Systems with general-purpose computers are inflexible and unsuitable for real-time data analysis. On the other hand, open systems are highly expandable and allow flexible system operation. With the advancement of IT technology, we are entering an era in which a sense of speed is emphasized in business, and open systems have become indispensable.

In addition, open systems can be easily modified, changed, or added to the system. Since all legacy systems are made-to-order and proprietary, it was difficult for non-developers to maintain. However, open systems are easy to use because they can be easily added, modified, and improved, and since they are not proprietary specifications, the options that can be used increase, and the expandability of functions increases.


Utilizing the cloud to break away from legacy systems

We talked about migration and modernization, but “utilizing the cloud” is also indispensable for breaking away from legacy systems.

The on-premises type legacy system owned by the company needs to be operated on the assumption of hardware failure. As a result, hardware replacement costs are incurred regularly, and this accumulation puts pressure on the company’s IT budget. Many IT professionals will be worried about these hardware lifecycle spells.

Also, in legacy systems, there is a big disadvantage that the system structure becomes a black box.

If it cannot be modified or expanded by the company, it will not be usable as a system. And, to continue operation, new maintenance costs will continue to increase, and at the same time, know-how will become easier to personalize and it will be difficult to take over. What’s more, it falls into a negative spiral, where system changes tend to be difficult.

“Utilization of the cloud” solves the above problems. By utilizing the cloud, the cost related to hardware that was incurred regularly is only the service usage fee paid to the external service. In addition, the man-hours required for hardware maintenance can be reduced, so the operation of human resources can be secured not for maintenance but other tasks. Doing so allows you to focus your resources on more productive tasks and get closer to solving problems.

If companies can take advantage of the cloud, they will be freed from the curse of legacy systems.

To get rid of the old and inefficient system operation, let’s consider the use of the cloud and take immediate action.


Continuous metabolism of legacy systems

Since many of the core systems and business systems that have been used for a long time have become legacy, many companies have started to take measures or have already completed the measures.
However, as technology advances, it will be necessary to migrate again.
When migrating, use open standard specifications and applications, and try to constantly metabolize the system in daily operations even after migration.
That is the point to prevent the legacy system from becoming more legacy.


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