Are you still using a rotary phone, tube television or Rolodex? Probably not. But if you were, you’d still be using newer technology than what many enterprises still rely on every day to drive mission-critical applications that we use every day when shopping, banking or hundreds of other normal tasks.
At least two-thirds of large enterprises are running mainframe-based apps that date back 10 to 20 years and more than 25% of businesses feature applications that are between 20 or 30 years old. Today, businesses are often running and maintaining legacy applications built on traditional databases while simultaneously building microservices-based apps to accelerate new services and innovations. The mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly applies here; and while there are many reasons organizations continue to rely on mainframes and legacy systems, there are also many organizations that want to begin modernization initiatives but don’t know where to start.
However, the past few years saw a wave of new digital-first companies in all industries putting pressure on legacy systems-based businesses—from retail to finance to manufacturing to technology. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many organizations’ modernization plans and made clear that for those that wanted or needed to modernize to stay competitive, avoiding the problem just wasn’t an option. Companies found that if they weren’t proactive about modernizing, the cost of being reactive when they needed to update and evolve was exorbitant.
Accelerating IT modernization initiatives can be a major challenge: Safely modernizing those legacy apps and mainframe systems and the critical data in them can seem impossible, but it can be done. Companies like Kroger, for example, have already made that jump and there’s a lot to learn from them. Here are three things that can help any enterprise on their journey to say goodbye to mainframes and legacy systems:
You Need a Frictionless Path for Legacy Apps
Many modern solutions are only focused on greenfield applications and helping newer born-in-the-cloud companies and projects; however, the reality is most Fortune 1000 companies have a lot of existing applications they can’t afford to ignore or completely rebuild all at once. Supporting existing applications with standard interfaces like Postgres while delivering the scalability and resiliency to support modern applications is critical to providing a bridge from where companies have been to where they are trying to go. Distributed SQL databases provide a seamless path forward to modernize existing apps while supporting new and current initiatives.
It’s time to stop relying on complex code or fragile systems with bolted-on third-party tools. Being able to rely on intelligence and automation in the data layer for distribution, resiliency and availability is critical to minimizing changes and impacts on current applications. Doing so will reduce risk, offload legacy app tasks and ensure systems have the intelligence to work properly. With a distributed SQL database, you can deliver a single logical database that appears to applications like a monolithic, single-server database but with the underlying intelligence to allow it to stretch across hybrid, private and public clouds.
Finding Flexibility and Becoming Future-Proof
To avoid being tied to specific systems or architectures, it’s time to adopt a future-proof mindset. Businesses can achieve this through:
- Multi-cloud/hybrid cloud: With a distributed SQL database, you can deliver a single logical database that looks like a monolithic, single-server database but with the intelligence to stretch across hybrid, private and public clouds—providing the flexibility to be deployed wherever the application is needed or is best served.
- Any hardware: No two data centers look alike and there are a wide variety of hardware needs, from bare metal to VMs and containers. The right modern distributed database provides ultimate flexibility in where the data layer can be installed to match whatever hardware and configurations are already in use.
- Any deployment: Existing organizations have a wide variety of environments and deployment types, from single data centers to two or more private data centers to more and more hybrid environments that span on-premises and public clouds. A modern distributed database provides the freedom to support a wide range of deployment options, including synchronous replication, geo-partitioning and cross-cluster asynchronous replication.
- Open source freedom: While many databases provide some open source components, there are still a few 100% open source solutions committed to the Apache 2.0 license. Users can benefit from the full set of enterprise features and capabilities in these open source solutions as well as benefit from the security and transparency that comes with a 100%-open source solution.
It’s time to update the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to “If it ain’t fixed, it could be broke,” with regard to modernizing legacy systems. If you’re considering starting a modernization journey, save time, resources and money now to make upgrades that might later be costly, time-consuming and overwhelming for your internal teams.