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Extending the Useful Life of Legacy Applications

At VirtaMove, we’ve been mulling for some time about how to help customers with application remediation. Customers would tell us that consultants were always pushing them in the direction of application redevelopment and remediation.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve moved thousands of legacy Windows 2000, WS2003, and WS2008 applications to new virtual machines and servers running WS2008, WS2012, and WS2016. Looking back, we were so busy doing moves that we didn’t ponder an important question: why, in the first place, customers want to move workloads and legacy applications to new environments. A satisfied customer would say that VirtaMove saved them a million dollars in proposed redevelopment and re-platforming costs, and we’d keep moving along, migration after migration. For the most part, our team stayed focused on making Windows migrations easy and efficient.

Security vulnerabilities like Wanna Cry, Petya, Spectre, and Meltdown have upped the pressure on organizations to get off unsupported operating systems and older servers running out dated processors.  IT audit and compliance also drive customers to move their workloads to supported operating systems and new hardware.

But why move old business application stacks to new servers?

Running legacy applications on new servers: the great return on investment

Consultants tend to make their money from larger application redevelopment and remediation projects. If you’re moving to the Cloud, to new VMs or new datacenter servers, a consultant’s natural bias is to use the change as an opportunity to get budget and kick off a big project.

There are business advantages to redeveloping an application.  For example, building a multi-tenant cloud application or using a modern micro-service architecture may justify redeveloping and even replatforming an application. But any CFO will tell you that the biggest ROI comes from not spending, or from holding back on spending money on risky projects with uncertain pay offs. You get a great ROI from not investing money, not retraining staff, and not disrupting your business. The best ROI is from stable business operations.

You can get good returns from moving your old applications to new, faster, secure servers. If you use Migration Intelligence, you get the bonus of on-the-fly upgrading of application stack components like operating system versions, database versions, and web servers when you move from old to new servers.

Buying time is always wise

If redeveloping, remediating, or re-platforming an application is in your future, you probably need to buy time. Just planning for application remediation will require significant time from the app owner and business analysts. Then you need to factor in all the time involved in project planning, development, testing, education, and finally cut over and roll out.

Redevelopment and remediation projects often suffer from delays due to new business requirements, scope creep, the learning curve that comes with new technology, technical problems, staff turn over, and a host of other project issues. The most successful redevelopment projects run old and new applications in parallel for a time (often months) to ensure a smooth cut over, minimal disruption, and to confirm that all business requirements have been met.

So what do you do in the meantime? You still need to run your business during all this planning.

Moving old applications to new, faster, secure servers buys you time to properly plan and implement redevelopment and remediation. It buys you time to undertake appropriate planning, parallel testing, and proper development.

Continuing the standard application life cycle

When you move legacy applications from an old server running an unsupported OS to a modern supported OS instance on new hardware, nothing really changes from an application lifecycle perspective. Moving is essentially a fresh install on a new OS.

The upgrade cycle and maintenance process for the application stays the same. You can apply development upgrades to the application as usual. You can manage development, test, and production instances of an application as per usual life cycle processes. You can plan and implement application improvements over time as needed, and perform remediation and full redevelopment in the future, when justified, as the business needs it. You’re not forced into application redevelopment simply because you want to run on modern servers.

You get advantages from applications running on a standard, fresh OS instance. Instead of tracking complex patch levels on legacy OS instances, you can take advantage of new DevOps tools to monitor and manage modern OS instances on new servers or in the Cloud. Advanced OS management can save significant time and costs, even when running your old apps.

If you’d like to learn more about how VirtaMove’s Migration Intelligence can help you move legacy applications, buy time to properly plan for application remediation, and deal with the application life cycle, give us a call, register for a free demo, or send us an e-mail. We’re always delighted to show you what we can do.

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