Essential Steps for Migrating Legacy Systems or Applications


Many organizations utilize IT infrastructure and applications for conducting their day to day business. When these systems become old and outdated, they are often termed as legacy systems and legacy applications. Organizations at some point of time experience several issues by utilizing old and outdated technology applications such as

Technical Issues with Old Legacy Applications

  • User interface incompatibility
  • Transition support problem
  • Database incompatibility
  • Load on server
  • Lack of interoperability among disparate systems

Nontechnical Issues with Old Legacy Applications

  • High maintenance cost
  • Lack of flexibility and agility
  • Shortages of skills to work in the old technology stack
  • Inability to respond to market demands

Steps for Migrating Legacy Applications to New Technology

Analyze the Requirement: This may not be counted as a step of migration but a point where you need to analyze whether you actually need to migrate your applications or not. The answer to this question can be available by asking why you want to migrate your application? In most of the cases, the reason behind the migration would be related to either technical or non-technical issues as mentioned above. For e.g. huge licensing cost, user-interface issues etc.

When you properly analyze the requirements of migration, it will help you fix the issues otherwise it would crop up additional burden on the company’s finances.

Asses Your Current Legacy System: Once it is clear why you want to migrate, the first and the foremost thing is to assess your current system. You can assess your current system in terms of its functionality, data types, input and output types, support for third party application, load on server, code complexity, size of the application, etc. This will help determine the migration feasibility and can help in avoiding the pains of migration. A lot of documentation and standardization is needed in this step.

Determine the Target Architecture: Based on the understanding of your existing application and its shortcomings, you can determine the target architecture/technology you want to migrate to. You must opt for the platform that can meet your expectations and does not distort your application’s performance. To avoid confusions at a later stage, shortlist a few technologies and analyze their capabilities. This will help zeroing down to one platform which will fulfill all your requirements.

Create or Configure New Application: Once your target technology build is finalized, start porting and configuring your existing application to a new platform. This step may require additional development or integration. On the other hand, you can start creating new application in the new technology where the old legacy application will be migrated. It may be desirable to start afresh so that you can exclude the functions or modules that you do not require in the new application.

Roll-Over the Application to New One: Once the required environment for migration is set up, roll over the whole application to the new build. You may need to utilize migration tools to help you better analyze and monitor the progress of the migration.

Test the New System: After successfully migrating your application to new one, test the whole application to ensure it works as expected in its new environment. Update your QA team with all the documentation and features to be tested for the new application. Make sure you include all the features which you have decided to implement in your new applications.

Maintenance & Support: Once your application is live, it is recommended to monitor it on a regular basis and provide enough maintenance and support to avoid the possibility of unexpected issue or problem.

The benefits of migrating and upgrading applications are real. It is advisable for organizations to migrate their applications who are looking to rejuvenate their business systems and effectively reduce the TCO (Total cost of Ownership). Companies that want to migrate to a newer technology can utilize the above steps and enable their applications to breathe a fresh air in a completely new environment.

by Boni Satani
Java Technology Consultant
Cygnet Infotech .

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