Learn to love legacy systems

I’ve been corrected over once. I’ve used the word”legacy system” in meetings and been quickly taken to the woodshed by the language police for saying something that was a clear pejorative. Even here I have started saying”conventional system” instead. I’ve gotten less crap about that, but it’s the exact same thing.

I have worked on these system early in my career and consider them valuable IT assets, now and moving ahead. Here’s why.

Although traditional systems, including those made 20 or more years past, don’t get much media from the tech mediathey are core to what retains most Global 2000 businesses going day to day. You will need the ability to use the conventional (and typically on-premises) systems in this way that they operate and play nicely with emerging systems, such as those which are cloud based.

Yes, the focus has been on replacing these systems. In many circumstances, the software and data stores on traditional platforms are not economically viable to move to the cloud. The analysts generally agree that, compared to the total application portfolio, traditional data includes 30 percent to 35 percent–at least for the next five to ten years.

These programs will have to continue to live in conventional enterprise data centers, or, more likely, be placed with a colocation provider or managed services providers. In some cases, public clouds will stand up platform analogs to permit these systems to run in their own native spaces in the clouds. But there is no law that enterprises will need to do that. Sometimes, it’s best to leave well enough alone.

There are, however, a Couple of core problems That Have to be solved:

We must utilize technology that can facilitate communications between the public clouds and the standard systems.
We want common security and governance frameworks that span both standard systems and multicloud deployments.
We need to include traditional systems in emerging devops procedures and toolchains, if possible.
We need some way to abstract conventional systems in new cloud-native approaches, such as microservices and containers.
These items are hard to do–and even harder to perform on conventional systems. The industry does not care as much about those platforms anymore; most of the R&D money is going to public clouds, IoT, AI, and edge computing.

I am telling you today: Neglect these systems to the detriment of this cloud. Legacy is significantly more significant to cloud than most know. Yes, I said it.