REST IN PEACE ‘RIP AND REPLACE’

“…we have even more choices for our customers looking to prolong the usefulness of their mission critical applications.”

– Peter Tassiopoulos

They say that humans can’t remember the physical sensation of a painful event after it has happened and that we only remember the emotional and cognitive experiences, but not the actual physical pain. Well for anyone that has attempted a ‘Rip and Replace’ strategy, you know it can be a very painful experience. You will likely not remember just how painful it was…just that you don’t wish to do it again.

There’s probably no word in IT more needlessly linked with negative sentiment than the term ‘legacy’…And probably no word that’s more broadly used but not defined within IT circles. (For the purpose of this blog, my definition of legacy systems is simply “those that are not the current release.”) Legacy, with all its negative connotations, is viewed as the enemy. It’s not a big surprise that many organizations adopt a strategy of deploying a full technology refresh or what is commonly referred to as Rip and Replace.

The blame on legacy system performance can be profound. A recent article in the Financial Times quotes John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank, as saying “he is determined to overhaul the creaking computer systems that he blames for many of its problems” and in discussions with colleagues, he has expressed alarm about the “Horlicks”, or total mess, the bank has made of its technology by allowing individual teams and traders to operate on their own incompatible platforms. The article goes on to say “Deutsche has more than 100 different booking systems for trades in London alone…and it has even been unable to retrieve some of the data requested by regulators — which contributed to its failure in this year’s US bank stress tests.” Sounds like IT is to blame for everything? Not my place to judge, but you get the point I am sure.

So sounds like the easy solution is just Rip and Replace everything and put everyone on the same software, right? …not so fast.

When you are looking to replace core applications that are vital for your business, there are other issues besides just the technology to take into consideration.

Many of these so called legacy systems are heavily embedded within a company’s infrastructure and represent workflow within that organization, making them more than just an IT issue. If you replace these systems, you have to consider the repercussions on business processes, staffing, training and, ultimately, profitability. Despite the initial positive analysis, it’s very rare that a business can actually afford a full scale refresh of its systems every time it runs into issues like a regulatory or compliance change, a change in business model or focus, or something as simple as supporting a new end user device like the smartphone or tablet.  It can even be a good issue.  What if your business doubles and doubles again but your core software applications run on hardware that is no longer made or on an OS that is no longer supported?

From an IT perspective it seems like a great opportunity to redesign mission critical applications to best meet the current needs of the business. While this may sound simple, building an application is akin to building a custom home. If any of you have ever built a custom home, then you know that once it’s built and you move in, you will likely still make changes…and it always costs more than the estimate.

Many organizations quickly realize that new “off the shelf” software won’t replace the legacy software that has been modified to fit your business needs. In other instances the business workflow has been designed around that legacy software.  In other words, a Rip and Replace of software will literally force a change in the way you do business.  

Inevitably many attempt to re-write their applications in order to keep the institutional knowledge that’s been built into legacy software. The challenges for this are enormous. Writing code requires the full life-cycle effort of developing a new application and all its pitfalls like: scope creep leading to time and cost overruns, significant testing requirements, the need fora multi-platform approach, the need to maintain the code base for future platform changes or obsolescence. This all adds up to high risk and cost and hence most projects of this type fail!

So how do you have your cake and eat it too?

We have assembled a group of technologies that will allow you to move existing legacy software quickly and easily to new current hardware and run without modification. (Keep in mind that my definition of legacy from above means any Windows application pre Windows 10 is classified as legacy.) These technologies will also allow you to move your data in the same way.

We accomplish this with our own container technology used to virtualize applications, Glassware 2.0™. Our application virtualization allows us to deliver applications with all their native features intact yet they can be quickly ported to the modern data center infrastructure required to keep up with today’s performance demands.

As for your data, we have taken our entire proprietary operating system (it’s called GuardianOS) that runs hundreds of thousands of data storage deployments and completely cloudified it. We call it SnapCLOUD and it can help take your data anywhere.

This approach provides all the benefits of modern computing technology, whether that is the latest server hardware or cloud infrastructure; yet the hardening of your workflow and investment that has accrued in the legacy software remains intact.  Finally our partner Microsoft has been great at building optimized hardware for you.  Just as there’s no need to Rip and Replace software, there’s no need to Rip and Replace hardware.  You can simply contract with Azure to get the additional compute, RAM and storage you need, when you need it.

So think about it, your applications run exactly as they did in their native form, but can be deployed on superfast hardware, in multiple data centers, made available on mobile or stationary devices and can last forever while maintained by your existing IT staff…without any new security patches required or coding!

We think this is the end of Rip and Replace and with our expanded relationship with Microsoft, we have even more choices for our customers looking to prolong the usefulness of their mission critical applications.  Stay tuned for some examples of how all this works in the real world.

Peter Tassiopoulos
p.s. Our apologies.  We have been maybe a little bit too focused on our technology and our products and maybe not enough on explaining to people how everything works and why it’s important.  We’ll try to do a better job going forward.  We’ve got some really exciting new people within the company.  They and our existing people have a lot to say and we’ll make sure this part of the website becomes a forum for them to explain what they’re doing.