Technology is often welcomed in organizations as a welcome guest to solve or tackle IT challenges. But it has a tendency to overstay its welcome, becoming legacy that we need to manage. How do we do that? This blog will help you to make your IT Legacy Landscape, also known as ILL, better manageable.
Do you know how many technologies that we currently use, have been around for 100 years? Let's go back to 1919, what would you see on the streets and in the factories as far as technology goes? I've created a small survey that you might want to take to see how many you got right. Go ahead fill it in (it is just one question). It will take you under two minutes and it will indicate the answers that are correct and the ones you might have missed. You can do the survey here:
Create your own user feedback survey
Did you do it? And how many did you get right? I bet you got 100% right!
A century ago
What I didn't know was that in 1919 first airshow (ELTA) was actually held in Amsterdam. Can you imagine that 100 years ago? They already had airshow with tens of planes on display.
Computers play a relatively short role in our history. We saw the first computers entering the market in the early fifties they were not computers like we know them now. There was the very rudimentary interface: no terminals, no mice, but wires and punch cards. Over the years saw the computer evolving like all technologies over the last hundred years. So we fast-forward to modern times and what we find is that computers are cheap, fast and now state-of-the-art.
But it is not only in the general sense that we still use technology that was originally developed many decades ago. There is still a lot of legacy inside our IT landscapes. Legacy in the sense of old computer systems using languages that were once popular like Cobol but are now considered a legacy.
However, these kinds of programs still are part of large organization’s infrastructure, for instance in banks as payment systems. These programs are high-volume still run on the Cobol infrastructure. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) was actively looking for Cobol programmers to maintain their Cobol systems.
It is not only Cobol, also PowerBuilder which was once considered state of the art is now part of the IT Legacy Landscape. We could call it by its acronym: ILL.
Away with Legacy?
Why not just change it for modern language? For one it is costly to rebuild or migrate to another environment. Furthermore, the systems have been developed many years ago and the people who developed it are probably now doing something else. Not to mention the risks involved. Everyone knows failed project with large budget overruns. IEEE has a nice list of IT failures in 2018. Not all of them relating to redevelopment of old systems, but it does show the complexity of our IT landscapes and the relative vulnerability of them. Of course we want to continue to add technology to our IT landscape.
Making ILL better!
How can we make the IT Legacy Landscape (ILL) better? Legacy will eventually disappear (I hope) but it will take time and effort. We need to keep our systems running, connected and performant in order to do our business. IT is not a hobby, it is (part of) our business. For some organizations more than others but we ALWAYS need IT.
We mediate, transform and integrate. We add an API Manager in front in order to make our systems be able to work in an easy way with Mobile Devices. We make sure that through mediation systems are connected by adding the missing information (whatever it misses). Transformation makes sure that systems can talk together even when normally that would not be possible, akin to a translation device that makes it possible for a Dutch person to talk to a Chinese person. The translator (e.g. Travis) will, on the fly, translate Dutch to Mandarin. In the IT landscape that role is performed by the Enterprise Integrator.
If you want to know what the requirements are for an Enterprise grade solution, please look at our selection guide. The ESB selection guide describes what you need to be looking for when selecting an Enterprise Service Bus.