Moving Legacy Apps to the Cloud: Failure Looms

January 25, 2018

I read “How to Move Legacy Applications to the Cloud.” The write up is interesting because in my opinion what’s offered will guarantee failure. As I recall from English 101 taught by a certain PhD who believed in formulaic writing, a “how to” consists of a series of steps. These should be explained in detail and, if possible, illustrated with word pictures or diagrams. Get it wrong. Get an F.

This “How to Move Legacy” essay would probably warrant a rewrite.

Here’s an example of a real life situation.

A small company has a mainframe running a Cobol application to keep track of products. The company has a client server system to keep track of money. The company has a Windows system to provide data to the company’s Web site which resides on its ISP’s system.

Okay, read this article and tell me how to move this real life system to the cloud.

Telling me to pick a cloud provider which meets my needs is not a how to, gentle reader. It is hoo-hah which would make an English 101 instructor fret.

Some companies cannot move legacy applications to the cloud. In my experience there are several reasons:

First, the person who coded the legacy system may not be around anymore and reverse engineering a legacy system may not be something the current IT staff and its consultants are keen to tackle.

Second, figuring out how three systems which are working takes time and money. Note the money part. Documentation is often sparse. The flow diagrams are long gone. Why spend the money? I would love to hear the reasons from the soon-to-be-terminated project manager.

Third, savvy managers ask, “What’s the payoff?” Marketing generalizations should not be the “facts” marshaled to fund a cloud migration effort. If there are good reasons, these can be quantified or back up with verifiable information, not opinions from a vendor.

Articles which explain how to move legacy systems without facts, details, and a coherent plan of attack are not too helpful here in Harrod’s Creek.

Stephen E Arnold, January 25, 2018

Management resistance


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