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Legacy Systems and the Always-On Enterprise

Author: Raymond Goh, Head of Systems Engineering, Asia & Japan at Veeam Software
 
Last week, Apple released its latest iteration of the iPhone, and for a while, it was all anyone could talk about. I read multiple articles, such as eWeek’s - claiming that analysts were particularly impressed with the tenth anniversary edition of the iPhone X that they were calling it a “true engineering marvel”.
 
Well, I don’t know about them, but I definitely am impressed. I’m a huge fan of the iPhone, and I can’t wait for it to come out so I can test it myself. In the meantime, that certainly got me thinking about obsolete or legacy systems.
 
In the extremely competitive world of smartphones, models released just a mere few years ago (such as the milestone iPhone 4S) are now considered old, outdated, ‘vintage’, with Apple defining ‘vintage’ products as those that have not been manufactured for more than a mere five years and less than seven years ago. Anything longer than that? Considered obsolete.
 
Harsh terms, but can we really expect otherwise when living in such an increasingly digital, fast-paced world where we depend on technology to make our lives easier?
 
It’s a good thing that the enterprise IT world wouldn’t likely be caught in such a harsh cycle. Can you imagine the sheer amount of effort – and investment – needed to constantly migrate, update, and keep things going? All while ensuring the constant 24.7.365 availability and accessibility to an increasing amount of data from any device, anywhere, anytime?
 
Many organisations are still firmly anchored in the past, with their infrastructures reliant on legacy solutions so past their prime that they just can’t get the job done. These legacy solutions may have been relevant decades ago during past eras, but they’re failing to keep up with the requirements of today’s Always-On Enterprise, specifically, unconditioned access to their services. Data from our 2017 Availability Report shows that this is at best a challenge, and at worse a matter of survival, many organisations in Malaysia admitting that their current IT capabilities are unable to meet the uptime SLAs expected by their business units.
 
But is it truly enough for organisations to invest in new technologies such as virtualisation, cloud, and other sophisticated storage and backup technologies in a bid to stay relevant in this new digital era? Just as you wouldn’t expect a ‘vintage’ iPhone 4S to be able to keep up with the latest operating systems and run without a hitch, why would you expect your enterprise’s legacy systems to be able to do so?
 

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