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How Cloud Created a New Generation of Legacy Systems

        posted by , December 14, 2012

Many of us think of legacy systems as giant mainframe computers running COBOL code that no one understands.

However, the systems we build today are at risk of becoming the legacy systems of tomorrow.

What does the future of legacy look like?

The New Breed of Legacy System

Legacy systems have aged to the point that they are high risk, inefficient, difficult to extend and expensive to maintain.

For many years, the term legacy was synonymous with antiquated hardware and passé programming languages. However, it's now common to view systems written in modern languages such as Java as legacy.

This new category of legacy system is largely the result of broken architectural approaches.

When a system is difficult to extend to new business requirements it quickly achieves a legacy label.

The Future of Legacy

The next generation of legacy will be systems that aren't cloud ready.

If you accept the idea that cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in technology then it's inevitable.

Technically, you can deploy practically any modern software to the cloud. However, if you're expecting to achieve benefits such as elastic scalability, high reliability, speed, high capacity and low costs — you must engineer for cloud.

How To Prepare for Cloud

In the past, it could take 20 years before a system was considered legacy. In recent years, it's common to speak of 5 year old systems as legacy.

Even if you're not deploying to cloud now — it's essential to architect for cloud.

Design principles such as SOA get you much of the way there. It's also important to design systems that can utilize high degrees of parallel resources and recover from failure.

This is the forth in a 12-part series of posts called How to Win at Cloud.

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