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Worst Practice #3: Ripping and Replacing Legacy Software

When it comes to updating IT infrastructures, some organizations believe this is a good time to replace legacy systems with new technologies. This approach stems from the notion that new technology must be better. In terms of SOA integration, organizations view the data in their legacy systems, not the application, as the main information asset. According to this notion, as long as the data is ported to another environment nothing is lost.

This strategy doesn’t address the magnitude of data in legacy systems – an estimated 70 percent of the world’s data3 – nor does it recognize the fact that the application itself is truly the asset. When put into action a rip-and-replace approach pans out as follows: Company X has decided to move forward with an SOA initiative, but as long as they are upgrading their IT architecture they also opt to update some of their legacy systems at the same time. The applications that they choose to upgrade include purchasing, manufacturing, finance, and payroll.

While attempting to port the data into its new environment, unexpected problems arise, delaying the move toward a reusable architecture and – more significantly – negatively impacting the day- to-day business operations of their mission-critical applications.

iWay’s Response: Reuse Is the Muse

If a legacy application is working, don’t try to fix it. Upgrading technology for technology’s sake is never a sound business option.

The programs and applications used by mature IT shops have legacy messaging technology in place and use proprietary interfaces or a slightly different interpretation of the JMS standard. Instead of ripping and replacing these messaging systems, iWay Software’s SOA integration solutions run on top of commonly used protocols. This gives iWay Software customers messaging interoperability, which allows them to integrate multiple integration environments without changing the underlying application.

Maintaining systems crucial to an organization’s business is essential because they house the data and business processes that differentiate a company from its competitors and represent years of valuable intellectual property. Ripping legacy systems out and replacing them with newer systems, when less drastic alternatives still exist, makes little fiscal or strategic sense.


“Gentry, Joe. “Is ‘Rip and Replace’ the Only Way to Deal With Legacy Systems?” ebizQ. May 2005.


Worst Practices in SOA Implementation

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