Legacy systems: headaches of rapidly advancing technology
According to Moore’s Law, the processor speed doubles every two years. In practice, this becomes very clear in the smartphone industry. There have been 8 Iphone versions in roughly 8 years’ time with each version having better hardware specifications.
Now, in my opinion, there are 2 types of consumers. The first has the money and the will to buy a new phone every year or 2, being able to keep up with the current trend in technology. The second might not have the money to buy a new phone this occasionally or might not have the will to switch or might have specific information in his phone that he doesn´t want to lose switching to another device as it would take a lot of time to create the same setting. At some point however, new updates are not supported anymore by our device and if we want to keep up with the updates we need to buy a new phone.
For us consumers, the abovementioned struggles of the second type of consumer might seem familiar for some but we are alright in dealing with them. However, when these problems are scaled up to systems at a company level, this becomes a quite different story. Outdated software systems that are not supported anymore but are still in use by companies are called Legacy Systems and they can become quite a headache for companies.
The biggest problem with Legacy Systems is that the original engineers who knew how to manage and configure the systems have long since retired so no original knowledge is left to fix or to update the software. For example, the system that maintains the USA´s nuclear warheads still runs on software from the 1970s. As a matter of fact, it has turned out that replacing the system with modern technology is more risky than keeping it running as is.
Another issue with Legacy systems is that they are not supported anymore by the operating systems they are running on. It is shown that most of the ATMs run on Windows XP which is not supported anymore by Microsoft. This means that any newly found security threats within the operating system are not patched anymore. This poses a major threat for banks as the ATMs are now vulnerable for malware or worse.
Some major companies still use physical tapes for their back-ups. This means that every day, an employee has to take out a full tape and has to insert a new empty one. This is because their system just can’t handle new types of back-up systems.
All in all, legacy systems can pose quite a nuisance for companies as they can become quite expensive to maintain. Also, don’t be surprised to see that a lot of companies are actually still dealing with legacy systems though this is may not always be visible from the surface.
So, what do you think about this subject? Do you have ideas how companies can deal with legacy systems?
Tony Jordan – 400986tj