What's lurking in your data centre?

Legacy IT - a burden or tech age-ism?


It's a shame, isn't it. The term 'legacy' could mean such good things, but in IT we use it in the same condemning way we might refer to burnt out old warehouses, or rusting farm equipment. No system worth its salt wants to be considered as part of the legacy environment, and indeed, it's a CV decision as to whether people want to work with them, in development or support roles.

I remember my first job interview, with ICL. "What do you think of COBOL?" they asked. "It's a dinosaur," I replied. "Can't imagine it's got that much life left in it; only a fool would want to work in that field." It was on hearing the words, "We're a COBOL shop," that I knew the interview hadn't gone all that well. But here's the real punch line: that interview was back in 1987.

Today, we hear a range of conflicting views. We know for a fact that Mainframe isn't dead, or even dying - it has both adapted to the latest trends and business needs, all the while sticking with some of the stress-tested architectural principles that made it such a good platform in the first place.

There are undoubtedly applications still delivering the goods that were first commissioned decades ago, but meanwhile, we know of organisations that are held back by slow-running, inflexible applications that nobody dares touch.

It's not just big systems either - legacy can arise from making the wrong technological bets, like all those who invested their efforts in MySpace profiles, only to discover that Facebook was the de facto standard. Software and hardware, from email systems to network management tools, all can find themselves in the legacy dustbin.

So, where's the truth? Are we forever chasing technological rainbows, or is there plenty more to be had from our older systems and applications?

Is it a simple case of ignoring the marketing and choosing the right tool for the job using it until it stops being of value? What are your experiences - do you have any horrors lurking at the back of your data centre? What's in the pipe today that will become legacy after it gets deployed (or worse, before)? Is your organisation battling on with clunky kit, or coping fine and wondering what all the fuss is about?

As always, we'd love to hear your views.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022