Legacy systems

What is "Legacy System" ?

The word Legacy has its origins in the Old French term: legacie from Latin Le- gatus, it means “person delegated”. In the Oxford compact dictionary the word legacy has been described as an adjective (of computer hardware or software) that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.

In computing, a Legacy system is an old method, technology, computer system, or application program, "of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system." Often a pejorative term, referencing a system as "Legacy" means that it paved the way for the standards that would follow it. This can also imply that the system is out of date or in need of replacement.

Many companies continue to operate their businesses using Legacy systems that are specifically tuned for their business processes and needs. While these systems have performed well over the years, it has come at a price, often huge investments into software development. Legacy systems tend to have high support, maintenance, replacement and licensing costs, reduced vendor support, dwindling bases of proficient technical personnel, and less access to current technologies.

We are able and we specialize to migration from old systems, from multiple languages, such a COBOL, FORTRAN, PASCAL and PL/1. We offer database migration (DB2, Teradata, Oracle etc.), also hardware migration and server consolidation (VMS, RSX, IBM, UNIX, etc.).

Businesses which make the strategic decision to retain the investments that they have made in their existing IT systems now face a variety of options:

  • Should you consolidate to a single programming language and, if so, what language should that be?

  • What hardware/operating system platform should you choose?

  • Do you need to convert data?

  • Should you migrate to a different database vendor?

  • How do you reduce project risk?

  • How does the migration impact the resources that are needed for your current daily IT operations?

Complete or partial legacy system migrations can allow businesses to retain the investments they have made while still optimizing and modernizing their IT operations.

In next two paragraphs you can find short description of two main Legacy programming languages used in most applications over the world:

COBOL

It is very important to know, that more than 70% of legacy applications are written in COBOL, used for business operations, which was specifically designed for the un-savvy programmer- each action performed in COBOL must be explicitly laid out, making COBOL a more approachable yet verbose language as compared to its 1960’s language counterparts. Industries such as banking and health care inundated their fields with computer automation, using COBOL to write their growing programs. 

Even in the present day, COBOL is one of the dominate programming language used for the solution of business problems, performs backend transaction processing and batch processing capabilities very well. Its computing time is much faster than compared to modern languages and runs with very low error ratings. The purpose of COBOL was to provide a Common Business Oriented Language. The word common was interpreted to mean that the programming language was to be compatible among a significant group of manufacturers. In addition a basic objective was that the language was to be natural, where natural was defined as 'English-like'. COBOL was not designed to permit concise writing, on a contrary, the language is very 'wordy' however, the benefit gained from this is the increased readability of the programs and the 'built-in' documentation because of the readability of the language.

FORTRAN

The FORTRAN programming language was conceived in the early 1950s the name produced from the two words FORmula TRANslation. In 1966 the language was standardized and FORTRAN IV was born.
Revision of the language led to FORTRAN 77, the language we use today. FORTRAN 77 is the most widely used language for scientific programming. Its long-awaited revision is now called FORTRAN 90. It was finalized (down to the last editorial detail) on 11 April 1991, published as an ISO Standard in August 1991, and the first compiler is now on the market.

For the past 30 years FORTRAN has been used for such projects as the design of bridges and aeroplane structures, it is used for factory automation control, for storm drainage design, analysis of scientific data and so on.


tip"Any solution for legacy systems migration or business transformations requires solid understanding of the complexities which comes from rich experience in handling variety of systems, data and processes."