Maintaining legacy IT in the cloud-first era

How to drive digital transformation and get value from your legacy technology


CIOs are driving their organisations towards the cloud, but this process is not easy.  Even as enterprise technology leaders lay out strategies for public cloud adoption, many find themselves using private cloud as a stepping stone.

Indeed, even those organisations with well-planned and well-resourced cloud strategies still find themselves left with pockets of legacy applications and legacy hardware that are business critical but which because of technical or cost issues cannot be easily moved.

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This combination of public and private cloud with legacy, on premises technology, allows the development of enterprise architectures to deliver digital, alongside a coherent rationalisation of the IT estate.

The challenge of legacy IT

However, this pragmatic approach, inevitably, brings with it some specific costs and challenges. Many large enterprise software companies are focusing innovation on their cloud rather than on premises offerings, so the longer you maintain the status quo, the harder the eventual transformation task becomes.

There is also the growing challenge posed by ageing hardware with its risks of unplanned downtime and costly maintenance. And ageing hardware is usually accompanied by an ageing workforce; with many CIOs and their human resources teams left grappling with the problem of staff with legacy skills retiring or being let go more quickly than the technology they manage can be phased out.

This inevitably has consequences for profitability, customer service and, potentially, security and compliance issues.

Regulators overseeing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, would certainly focus on the security regime surrounding legacy systems, if they were notified of a breach.

“The task for CIOs is to both innovate, improve operational efficiency and manage risk to safeguard the organisation’s security and compliance regimes,” says John Prot, CEO of Stromasys, a company that focusses on legacy hardware emulation.

‘Using virtualisation, the core technology underpinning of cloud, we can offer cost effective, easily managed, secure, options to tackle legacy hardware problems.'

 How Stromasys can help

Stromasys offers CIOs an innovative approach to securing VAX, SPARC, Alpha, HP3000 and PDP-based systems. Using hardware emulation, it allows companies to run their applications, completely unchanged, on an industry-standard x86 platform running on Linux or Windows.

Although its business involves emulating legacy hardware, Stromasys solutions are available on premises and via Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud and can be managed with an organisation’s other cloud and hosted applications.  

With replacement hardware components hard to find and in-house knowledge disappearing as legacy hardware experts reach retirement, emulation has proved a cost-effective solution for organizations ranging from Rolls-Royce, NASA, Nestle, chemicals giant Dow, Renesas Electronics Corporation and steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, to much smaller organizations. (https://www.stromasys.com/references/)

Organisations don’t set out to run business critical systems on legacy hardware. They find themselves doing so because of real business issues – the systems are critical to day-to-day functioning of the organisation, tight budgets have resulted in prioritizing development over maintenance - or it might be questions of compliance and security. Hardware emulation offers a way to overcome these issues

Summing up the challenges many organisations face and the benefits of using Stromasys’s hardware virtualisation approach, Lionel Daniel, Design Authority at Thales Alenia Space sums up the challenges many organisations face and the benefits of using Stromasys’s hardware virtualisation approach.  

“My concern” says Daniel, “was to maintain our old software for 20 more years. The transition from hardware to software was quite smooth, both in terms of user experience and in terms of mathematical computation. Charon-SSP is clearly a great replacement for our aging SPARC workstations.” To learn from some of their recent customer success stories, click here

To find out more how Stromasys can help maintain and virtualise your existing IT infrastructure, click here to read their recent whitepaper ‘Tackling the Challenges of Legacy Hardware Failure’. Alternatively, click here to schedule a free demo of Stromasys’s solutions or speak to their emulation experts.

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