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Legacy Enterprise Software and Open Source

Timely replacement of legacy systems ensures future viability, because many companies still use legacy solutions as enterprise software that were once developed in-house and have been steadily maintained over the years.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
May 15, 2023
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

When the IT manager takes the legacy system with him into retirement

However, the risk is immense, the danger is called retirement: "Especially in manufacturing companies in the SME sector, an in-house software solution or a combination of a standard and individual stand-alone solutions is often still in use and is thus used as an ERP system. But the lifetime of the software is very closely linked to the lifetime of the IT manager - who usually developed this system himself. So if you want to be future-proof, you should look for replacements in good time, introduce a standard and have the expert - the developer of the in-house legacy solution - work with the software manufacturer to tailor it precisely to your needs," explains Christian Biebl, Managing Director of Planat.

In the SAP area, it is the many Abap modifications in the Z namespace that can jeopardize a release upgrade, but also result in a knowledge drain due to inadequate documentation when replacements are made. It was not uncommon for companies to have their own isolated solutions and individual Abap programs, because uniform standard systems were not available across the board at the time.

However, companies should not wait too long, warns Christian Biebl: "No one in the company has this deep knowledge of the processes and their digital mapping and thus the demands on an ERP standard solution. Therefore, the know-how provider should accompany the complete implementation and combine the advantages of the ERP standard with the specific requirements of the own company," says the Planat CEO.

For companies, however, this also means that a patchwork of different systems does not make sense. "Often, only individual components of an overall architecture were renewed. Usually the modules where the pressure of suffering was high. However, the view of the whole must not be lost - otherwise a software patchwork emerges, which is very sensitive and also inefficient due to media discontinuities and interfaces. And the same applies here: Often, all know-how depends on one or a few people in the company. In extreme cases, this dependency can also lead to a standstill," continues Planat CEO Biebl. A standardized system, on the other hand, eliminates media discontinuities, ensures efficient processes, and thus saves a considerable amount of time and money on a day-to-day basis. Those who even seize the opportunity to use their ERP system partner as a start-up helper for process optimization in general can benefit twice over. It will then be all the easier for the IT manager of the first hour to retire!

More and more companies are currently replacing proprietary technologies with open source software. This development is evident in many IT areas, including databases. There are several reasons for the open source triumph: First, proprietary software sometimes incurs very high costs in the form of license and usage fees. Open source software is a significantly cheaper alternative here. Second, the dreaded vendor lock-in is eliminated when using open-source tools and applications. Third, the open source user benefits from a large and strong community that often implements innovative ideas in the form of new features very quickly. The same applies to bugs in the software, which the community usually fixes immediately.

These general open source advantages also apply to databases. Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka, PostgreSQL and Redis in particular are increasingly attracting the attention of users. With these solutions, companies can optimally cover a wide variety of use cases. One operating model is managed platforms, which support different IT architectures. A managed platform acts as an abstraction layer, so to speak, which enables the use of required cloud services, and does so without being dependent on the respective environment. This means that a company can use the desired open source solution and database technology in any deployment scenario, in a public, multi-, hybrid or private cloud.

"In a time of increasing data volumes, companies need powerful database technologies. In terms of cost, scalability, flexibility and independence, open source solutions and cloud usage are gaining in importance," explains Merlin Walter, Staff Sales Engineer EMEA at Instaclustr. "However, companies should take a cloud-agnostic approach to avoid becoming provider-dependent. It can be avoided with managed platform models that rely on open source software and support the interoperable use of different technologies."

Instaclustr helps enterprises deploy applications at scale using its platform of open source technologies including Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka, Apache Spark, Redis, OpenSearch, Apache ZooKeeper, and PostgreSQL. 

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Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (e3mag.com), B4Bmedia.net AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: pmf@b4bmedia.net and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21


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