How to Tame Legacy Infrastructure for Today’s Use

By: Pam Baker - Leave a comment


Federal agencies are mired in legacy infrastructure. Hesitant to scrap taxpayer investments outright and yet charged with new goals requiring more agile and advanced technologies, federal agencies and corporations alike find themselves stalled between the past and future.

There are many challenges with legacy systems, each with its own worst-case scenario. They include server sprawl, multivendor support services, multivendor hardware and a patchwork of legacy software — all added to, added on, broken from, joined with, hardwired and wireless. This creates a general mess of things knitted together, almost as archaic as working off rubber bands and paperclips.

Is it really that bad? Yes, but it could be much worse. It’s hard to tell what exactly is going on in legacy infrastructure when there’s no way to monitor all the moving parts and dead weights, or find the bottlenecks to unstopper them.

Using a Third Party to Wrangle Legacy Infrastructure

These recurring problems with legacy infrastructure are only growing in cost. According to a recent GAO report, the federal government spent more than 75 percent of the total 2015 IT budget on operations and maintenance (O&M) investments. Translation: 5,233 of the government’s approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds on “just getting by” efforts, which resulted in a $7.3-billion decline in development, modernization and enhancement activities.

This means hanging onto legacy components isn’t just a budget burn today; it’s burning budget dollars for tomorrow’s investments, too.

Although the GAO suggests replacing hardware and software that has outlived its usefulness — which is good advice for the private sector as well — outsourcing the support of this equipment to a third-party managed services provider can tame legacy systems so they can handle today’s operations. By limiting outages, shortening downtime and providing common support for a system that may consist of multiple vendors, you can effectively modernize equipment that may otherwise act obsolete.

Optimizing the Past While Preparing for the Future

This is one of the best ways to wrangle legacy equipment into a manageable state so that work continues in the most efficient manner while certain parts of the system are being updated. Because a complete tear-out and rebuild is impractical as it is, these services also enable smoother planning, wherein systems are updated before any necessary replacements occur.

One way this third-party vendor can be of help is to optimize past spending while also extending these investments to new platforms.

“Private clouds appeal to enterprises looking to extend their legacy infrastructure and applications to the cloud while helping to optimize past investments,” said TBR Cloud Senior Analyst, Cassandra Mooshian, in a statement to the press.

Nonetheless, there are myriad ways to tame legacy infrastructure, both in hardware and software. For example, it is possible to receive support and procure contracts for varying types and ages of hardware. It’s also possible to solve operational issues in software that may exist in more than one location or cloud environment.

Indeed, many federal agencies and corporations alike are finding managed services from a third party to be a fast and cost-effective means to tame legacy infrastructure from end to end, thus harnessing new efficiencies in the transformation process.

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About The Author

Pam Baker

Freelance Writer

Pam Baker is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Georgia. Her published credits number in the thousands, including books, e-books, e-briefs, white papers, industry analysis reports and articles in leading publications, including Institutional Investor, CIO, Fierce Markets and InformationWeek, among many others. Her latest book, "Data Divination: Big Data Strategies," has been met with rave... Read More