Legacy systems. Legacy applications. Legacy modernization. Application migration. Legacy migration. Application modernization. Lift and shift. Wrapping, and now containerization are all terms used (and options available) when faced with an old(er) piece of software that is no longer fit for purpose (we’ll come back to what we mean by this later in the post).
But are they all the same thing? Is legacy migration the same as legacy modernization? Is one of them the same as lift and shift? What about refactoring, re-platforming or, my favorite, “package”? We’ve been as guilty as anyone for using terms interchangeably (particularly legacy modernization and legacy migration) and the aim of this post is to set out a new standard set of terms, to explain each and then how these terms map against the terms used by Gartner, Microsoft and, indeed, those we have previously used.
Accepting the terms “legacy” and “application” to be interchangeable, the following table outlines the different terms in use today, with a description for each approach and a proposed set of standard terms to be used henceforth (certainly by us).
Which of these approaches is most appropriate under which circumstances depends on the drivers forcing the business to deal with the legacy system, i.e. why it’s no longer “fit for purpose”. We covered these drivers (and the related best approach) in detail in our white paper “Breaking the Shackles of Legacy Systems” which you can access here.
We will be refreshing that white paper over the coming weeks. If you would like to ensure early access then pop your details in the contact form below and we will email it to you as soon as it’s complete.
Technical debt and the speed of technological change pretty well ensure that every new application is a legacy application in a matter of years, if not months. As such it’s no surprise that businesses are spending 80% of their IT/development budget “keeping the lights on”. Our next post will explore technical debt in more detail and discuss strategies to better manage development such that the problem doesn’t snowball as it has in the past. This will build on our Learning to Fish post from the beginning of the year.
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