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Understanding legacy system migration: How does it work?

Written by
Carla Hetherington
Published on
June 6, 2024

Despite new technologies emerging every day, many organizations still rely on outdated software and hardware known as legacy systems. While these systems might have served well in the past, they can hinder growth and efficiency in the present day. As such, legacy system migration is a very prevalent concern within modern organizations, albeit not always the right choice. Let’s delve into what legacy systems are, the reasons behind legacy system migration, and how Alumio can ensure a seamless transition between old and new systems while reducing the risk of data loss.

The future of legacy systems

Legacy systems, once the backbone of many organizations' technological infrastructure are increasingly becoming outdated in our current fast-paced digital world. However, despite the advent of new technologies that promise enhanced performance and efficiency, legacy systems hold valuable historical data and critical business logic that are essential for ongoing operations. As businesses strive to integrate these older systems with cutting-edge innovations, they face a multitude of challenges. As a result, technologies that can swiftly integrate old systems with new ones without causing disruptions in the technological landscape are gaining popularity.

What are legacy systems?

Legacy systems are outdated computer systems, software, or applications that are still in use despite newer and more efficient alternatives being available. These systems often form the backbone of a company's operations but can be difficult and costly to maintain.

Typically characterized by outdated technology, legacy systems use old programming languages, software, or hardware; incompatibility due to the difficulty of integrating them with modern systems; high maintenance costs since they are expensive to maintain and upgrade; and limited scalability as they cannot support business growth or new functionalities.

However, it is important to know that not all legacy systems are obsolete technologies. In fact, most legacy systems are able to perform their duties despite being outdated, and enterprises will often continue using legacy systems that are critical to their daily functions and business needs for a diverse number of reasons.

What are the types of legacy systems?

The different types of legacy systems include mainframe computers, old ERP systems, proprietary software like custom-built applications that are no longer supported by the original developers, and outdated operating systems such as IBM AS/400, Oracle E-Business Suite, Windows XP, or older Linux distributions that are still in use for specific applications.

What is legacy system migration?

Legacy system migration involves the transferring of data, applications, and processes from outdated systems to modern platforms. This migration can involve moving systems from on-premises to a cloud infrastructure or simply modernizing old systems by updating the hardware infrastructure.

This process can be complex, requiring careful planning and execution to ensure minimal disruption and data loss. Legacy system migration typically includes data transferring from the old to the new system, application reengineering such as updating or rewriting apps to function on modern platforms, and system integration to ensure the new system connects seamlessly with the existing one.

Why should you migrate legacy systems?

While it is often a choice, migrating legacy systems is a cornerstone of digital transformation and a great option for organizations wanting to invest in a long-term, future-proof digital strategy. Here are some reasons why organizations migrate legacy systems:

Discontinued support or production: The most common reason behind legacy system migration is that the old system is so outdated that the software provider no longer provides support for it, is not available for purchase, or will depend on obsolete technology to run and maintain, which is known as EOL (End of Life).

Different technological needs and expectations: Another reason to migrate legacy systems is that the existing system is no longer functioning as planned and cannot accommodate an organization’s technological needs anymore.

Security concerns: Most legacy systems are overexposed to security vulnerabilities and are, therefore, targets for cyberattacks as they cannot be updated to comply with modern cybersecurity standards. This is mainly due to the fact that a lot of legacy software has undergone considerable patching to try to keep it up to date.

Better options on the market: It can also be the case that there are new technologies on the market that can perform tasks more efficiently and are perhaps a better choice for a future-proof strategy, as they will not become obsolete any time soon.

Over-spending: Due to their outdated nature, repairing and maintaining legacy systems is often a significant investment and will likely involve hiring highly skilled IT professionals to maintain them.

Why do organizations still use legacy systems?

This is a valid question. If a software or system is considered legacy, why would organizations keep using them? In the majority of cases, it is usually for one of the following reasons:

  • They still function (albeit not perfectly)

Despite being outdated, many legacy systems and applications still work and are crucial to a business's daily functions. As such, wanting to replace systems and technologies that still function just because they are outdated is not always necessary, especially if a company does not have the budget for it.

  • Lack of resources

The costs involved in replacing a legacy system or application can be significant, especially in the short term. In the long term, maintaining legacy systems will eventually cost organizations more money than migrating, but some businesses may simply not have the necessary resources available on short notice and, therefore, prefer to delay the migration process as much as possible.

  • Lack of technical expertise

Modernizing legacy systems can be a complex undertaking, especially without the necessary in-house or outsourced technical expertise. Simply put, some organizations lack the required skills to modernize their systems and deal with the potential challenges that may arise from doing so, in which case, migration may not be an option for them until they are better equipped to handle it.

How can you migrate legacy software?

One of the best ways that modern businesses are opting to migrate legacy software is by leveraging an integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) like Alumio. Migrating legacy software comes with its own set of challenges, and ensuring there is no data loss in the migration process is crucial to guarantee a seamless transition. This is where Alumio comes in.

Alumio is a cloud-native, low-code integration platform that helps connect the latest SaaS and cloud apps, as well as on-premises and legacy systems. However, as a highly customizable API-driven solution, Alumio is also designed to integrate with any future software or technology. As such, Alumio can significantly streamline the migration process and guarantee minimal data loss and disruption. Here's how:

1. Seamless integration

The Alumio platform is designed to integrate easily with various systems, both old and new. This compatibility ensures that your legacy system can communicate effectively with modern platforms, facilitating a smoother migration process.

2. Automated data migration

Manual data migration can be error-prone and time-consuming. Alumio automates the data transfer process, ensuring accuracy and completeness. This reduces the risk of data loss and minimizes the time required for migration.

3. Real-time monitoring and management

Alumio provides real-time monitoring tools that allow businesses to track the migration process closely. This visibility helps identify and resolve issues quickly, ensuring a smooth transition.

4. Scalability and flexibility

Alumio's flexible architecture allows businesses to scale their operations effortlessly. Whether you are migrating a single application or an entire suite of systems, Alumio adapts to your needs, ensuring long-term compatibility and support.

5. Enhanced security

Data security is paramount during migration. Alumio employs robust security measures to protect sensitive information throughout the process, ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Find out more about Alumio’s commitment to meeting the highest security standards here →  

Conclusion

Migrating from legacy systems is a critical step toward modernizing business operations. However, it is not always the right decision for businesses, but rather an option to consider based on their ability to accommodate the migration. While the process of migrating legacy systems can be challenging, leveraging an iPaaS like Alumio can simplify and accelerate the transition, ensuring minimal data loss and operational disruption. By embracing modern technology, businesses can enhance efficiency, security, and scalability, positioning themselves for future growth and success.

Are you interested in learning more about how Alumio can help you migrate your legacy systems and unlock the full potential of your business? Book a demo with one of our specialists!

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