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Four Approaches to Legacy Modernization

Updated on September 19, 2014

If you already understand the importance of legacy modernization, chances are that you also have some areas in your company where it would make sense to apply this practice. Even if you’re still getting use out of some software applications now, it’s essential that you plan for a time when this may no longer be the case. Many companies need years to effectively apply legacy modernization, so if you haven’t already, review any potential legacy applications that could use an update. When you find one, here are your four options for doing so.

Approach One

First, you can simply upgrade the languages and/or technologies used by the current system in order to bring it into modern times. There are a number of ways you can do this, though you should know that this version of legacy modernization is almost always costly and time-consuming. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

Approach Two

Your second option is a far simpler version of the above. Sometimes a complete overhaul isn’t necessary. Instead, it might be one key component that’s holding everything back. If you identify this type of bottleneck, the legacy modernization you need can be both easy and affordable.

Approach Three

The third method is a complete redesign. This version of modernization is going to be somewhere between the above two in terms of cost and how long it will take. When you commit to a redesign, you preserve the core framework of your legacy application. However, the middleware and generally the frond-end are re-developed and designed using the latest technology. As a result, you get to maintain what was still working and simply update its overall performance and usability.

Approach Four

Finally, there’s migration. With this method, you’re transferring the entire legacy application (framework included) to a SOA or Web 2.0 enabled application. This will also be a lengthy process because you need to identify the software and/or other technology necessary for the job. Then you need to design, develop and test the migration out before you commit to it. Finally, the process itself could take a matter of days or even years. The better you plan it, though, the less time it should take.

No matter which version of legacy modernization you eventually end up choosing, it should always begin with considering which of the above makes the most sense. In many cases, any route you take will suffice, but only the right one will do it in the least amount of time and at the most affordable price. Other times, picking the wrong version of legacy modernization will ensure you come up with lackluster results.

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