Legacy System Migration

First things first, what is a legacy system? A legacy system is any kind of outdated computer system or software used instead of newer, modern systems. Pagers, landlines, and telegraphs are all examples. As you might expect, there are a number of disadvantages of legacy systems.

That’s why countless companies, universities, and organizations around the world are beginning the process of legacy system migration. Of course, there are multiple methods of doing this, each with its own pros and cons. 

However, in order to maximize the efficiency of your organization’s technology, you must have some kind of replacement strategy in place.

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Table of Contents

Migrate or Modernize?

Developers often talk about legacy system migration and legacy system modernization simultaneously. That’s because these two strategies are so closely related and both aim at the same goal: upgrading legacy systems. That being said, there are significant differences between legacy system migration and legacy system modernization.

Migration involves the migration from a legacy system to a modern system. Now you might be able to see the similarities. The difference between the two strategies is that legacy system migration completely leaves behind the older system in favor of a brand new system or platform, such as an iPaaS. DreamFactory is a great example of this.

Modernization involves upgrading systems rather than leaving them behind. Whereas migration involves the adoption of new systems and abandonment of old systems, legacy system modernization involves upgrading and modifying the current legacy system.

DreamFactory has technology that enables both of these services.

Problems with Migrating Legacy Systems

There are a number of issues that can arise when your organization starts the legacy system migration process. The below list only includes the three most common issues. Depending on the nature of your organization and the specifics of your system, you may encounter more or fewer problems. 

A general rule of thumb is that the more outdated the system, the more difficult it will be to migrate or modernize it.

Issue 1: Legacy system migration can temporary derail business operations. One of the most common migration strategies is the “rip and replace” methodology of entirely ripping out the legacy system and replacing it with the modern system. This can result in serious loss of operational speed, which can be debilitating for organization’s that must pivot quickly, such as any fast-paced agency environment. Developers commonly circumvent parts of this problem through the use of API management solutions like DreamFactory.

Issue 2: Migration can be expensive in terms of both time and money. Business software is often quite expensive and moving to a new system often results in a brief period of overlapping payments while you finish out the previous license and the new one kicks in. While this problem is by no means solely the providence of legacy system migration, it is nonetheless an important concern.

Issue 3: Point-to-point integration makes it even more difficult to modernize. If you migrate systems through hand-coded point-to-point integrations, you can quickly find yourself trapped with the same system by a tangled web of brittle application architecture. A helpful way around this is to always use some kind of mapping tool, whether it’s a model-to-model tool or model-driven engineering tool.

How to Create a Migration Strategy

As with any business process, successful migration requires you to use a pre-planned strategy. These three steps will cover the gist of the migration process.

Step 1: Analyze the current state and behavior of your system. It is important to know whether it is the state, behavior, or both state and behavior that is causing you to seek out a new system or platform. The first part of any migration strategy should be to conduct a thorough audit, identifying the problem areas of the system. Oftentimes, that includes security and application performance, both of which stand to benefit from DreamFactory’s API management solutions.

Step 2: Determine the importance of modernization. Oftentimes, this migration involves the relocation of systems solely to facilitate more effective modernization strategies. Although these two strategies are often considered to be mutually exclusive, that could not be further from the truth. In fact, migration and modernization are quite complimentary. Before conducting the migration, check to see if any of your current system’s functions can benefit more from modernization. Certain kinds of PaaS solutions, like DreamFactory, can identify the proper modernization strategy and implement it at a far more affordable rate than traditional migration solutions.

Step 3: Reengineer for simplicity, optimize the stack, and take detailed notes. It is impossible to overstate the importance of simplicity when reengineering your system for migration or modernization. Migrating a complicated legacy system can result in architectural problems (like coupled applications) that are rife with security risks and significantly increase the difficulty and cost of future modernization or migration strategies.

Legacy System Migration Best Practices

There are a number of actions that you can take in order to increase the effectiveness of your strategies. First off, you can never do too much testing. The more data you have on hand, the more you know what needs improving, what needs to stay, and what needs to be left behind altogether.

Another helpful tip is to stagger your system’s migration. Executing the entire process all at once can result in a significant loss in organizational efficiency, effectively putting your entire business on hold until the critical parts of the system come back online. Staggering the process takes longer but allows you access to essential business processes in the meantime.

Lastly, use a PaaS designed to facilitate legacy system migration and/or legacy system modernization.

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Create a REST API Now

DreamFactory and Legacy Systems

DreamFactory incorporates a number of different functions into a simple, easy-to-navigate platform. Through DreamFactory, you stand to gain increased functionality that is specifically designed to facilitate legacy system transformation strategy.

That includes helpful solutions like automated mainframe integrations for Python, Ruby, and other applications; generation of a full-feature REST API capable of modernizing legacy systems in a fraction of the time; and technology that extends the viable production timeline of existing systems.

For more information legacy system migration and modernization, consult with the experts at DreamFactory or start your free trial today.