Integration for legacy data systems
This is a paper wherein we can have an understanding about the integration of legacy data systems. The paper begins with a definition of system integration moving on to understand as to what is meant by the integration of legacy data systems. Next the basic approaches to the legacy integration are being discussed on. We shall also touch upon the advantages and limitations associated with such a system. The paper shall further focus on the business prospects associated with the integration of legacy data systems. Since every system has its inherent limitations, one has to be careful while adopting the integration of the legacy data systems. The paper shall finally provide some useful guidelines for the proper functioning of the legacy data system.
The frequent development of e-commerce is making it ever more important for organizations to integrate their systems, which includes the legacy systems, to enable data to be transferred among applications. Four fundamental approaches to legacy integration are present which are Data-level integration, Application-interface integration, Method-level integration and User interface-level integration. Legacy applications continue to be present in several manufacturing or production functions as businesses have not found appropriate ERP applications which can be substituted for current software operations. Utilizing application server products to connect these legacy systems will present your company the capability to make this information accessible in real-time or to expand this data out to B2B channels and other external applications. Legacy systems store a huge amount of important business information, together with details of the customer; hence it is indispensable in case of companies to be capable of opening this data rapidly and without difficulty. Even though there are several advantages for system data level integration, it still has its limitations. It is being criticized as being very costly, rigid, and inaccessible and possesses lack of scalability and absence of ingenuousness. Further suitably experienced personnel are difficult to locate. After understanding the limitations, we have to be careful in adopting correct techniques for legal system integration. Nearly every company tackles the e-business and legacy systems integration by the use of some application integration instruments to access legacy data in a selective manner or activate back-end business dealings. These instruments tackle integration through the application of after-the-fact solutions which successfully differentiate recent systems from legacy settings for the long-term. This procedure presents restricted flexibility and impedes long-term, extensive up gradation alternatives to recent e-business systems and back-end settings. The intensities of integration thus must be propelled by the requirements of the business. The key is to match the integration category to the specific business requirement. The business argument for integrating legacy systems is really very potent, since it can unleash a lot of new opportunities for companies in case an appropriate technique of embracing the integration happens.
Basic approaches to legacy integration
Advantages of Legacy-System
Limitations of Legacy-system
Legacy data systems in Business
Guidelines for legacy-system integration
Systems integration’ pertains to the performance of Internet-enabled devices and the personalized development and integration of web technologies with our clients’ available legacy systems and infrastructures relating to information technology. System integration services deal with matters connected to systems architecture and web development. Our systems integration services in addition aids clients to connect networks, hardware and software to make scalable systems for e-business models and policies. (Legacy System Integration) on one portion of the divide, the legacy application portfolio is present, programming codes that run into millions of lines helping in the continuance of the business. The other side of the divide is the world where software development is done. This world is where Java, XML, application servers and component-based development settings reigns supreme. The narrow linkage between these two worlds is by integration instruments, which if targeted in the proper direction, permit e-business systems to access legacy data through careful selection and activate back-end operation. (Aligning Strategic Systems with Legacy Environments)
Basic approaches to legacy integration:
Four fundamental approaches to legacy integration are present which are Data-level integration, Application-interface integration, Method-level integration and User interface-level integration. At this point we shall make a thorough observation at each of these approaches.
A) Data-level integration: From the standpoint of a Java application, this category of integration concentrates on the access of legacy databases or files by either session beans or entity beans. It also takes into account access to recently developed data entries, generated by the legacy system, for the particular intention of data access. XML is frequently applied for this integration method as XML provides data sharing across all platforms. The benefits of data-level integration are that it is quite uncomplicated and takes less time for application. The drawbacks are more data coupling among applications, resulting in escalation of maintenance load; the failure to access vital behavior like data confirmation and important business policies; and the urgency to mark vital data refinement/formatting code for inadequately designed data.
B) Application-interface integration: Under this system, you leverage the Application Programming Interfaces — APIs revealed by your applications to access the data as well as implementation secrecy by legacy systems. The benefits of application-interface integration is that this system has quite been normal within the industry, a lot of packages like SAP and PeopleSoft has built-in C-API which you can have access through the Java Native Interface -JNI code. The key drawbacks are that software developed within your organization seldom has a structured API; the APIs might be narrow in capacity and might not give the performance, which you require; and APIs are frequently task-oriented in character and not object-oriented. (Web services programming tips and tricks: Legacy integration techniques for Java applications)
Method-level integration: Under this system, business logic is shared as a cluster of shared techniques, or functions, which your software can call up. For instance, normal functions to refresh customer data, to authenticate credit card dealing, or to deposit funds in a bank account might be facilitated through a common storage area or a reusable structure to which every application have access to. The benefits of method-level integration are that it frequently gives delicate access to normal business operations; a broad array of applications comprising of Java as well as non-Java have access to the functions; and calling up the techniques is easy. The drawbacks is that delicate character of the normal techniques can render it hard to sustain the transactions or to sustain normal technical services, like security access control, in the absence of major scaffolding in every technique.
D) User interface-level integration: This method concentrates on accessing present applications by their user interfaces, a procedure known as screen scraping, under which keystrokes made by the user are replicated to execute the communication with the legacy software. Screen scraping is a usual method implemented by the Web-based aggregator sites, for instance Vertical One, to offer personalized opinions of financial or other categories of information. The benefits is that this is an established and usual procedure for legacy integration, which is put in use by a lot of user interface testing tools like IBM Rational Functional Tester or Mercury Interactive’s WinRunner. The primary demerit is that this procedure can be sluggish: you are required to keep waiting for the legacy application to provide the screen which you are fragmenting and any modifications to the legacy user interface facilitates modifications to your integration code. (Web services programming tips and tricks: Legacy integration techniques for Java applications)
Advantages of Legacy-System:
Basically legacy implies the available it assets installed in the it infrastructure. This characterizes a substantial quantity of importance to enterprises. Legacy software constitutes the software deployed yesterday as also the software that was implemented fifteen years back. It is akin to the software helping to run real-time business processes. It might have included into the organization following a merger or acquisition. At the time when the seller having scanty experience as regards functioning of enterprises, proposes you that it requires replacement, the software which is the cause for a frenetic laughing stock. (Legacy Integration: Something Old, Something New: Integrating Legacy Systems) Legacy applications continue to be present in several manufacturing or production functions as businesses have not found appropriate ERP applications which can be substituted for current software operations. The benefits of data legacy integration continue to be that it is quite hassle free and takes less time to become functional.
In the present era, Client-Server applications have come to be the typical instruments for financial, accounting, and HR departments, however legacy applications continue to run the workshop, warehouse, and other real-time systems which need round-the-clock attentiveness. Legacy systems enjoy a beneficial edge: these have been managing the business of your company for years. They function incessantly have been optimized to fulfill your long-standing requirements. These Legacy systems frequently make use of the data files, instead of relational databases, to keep their data. These non-relational data files possibly contain the complete information necessary to find out delivery dates, status of inventories, production schedules. Utilizing application server products to connect these legacy systems will present your company the capability to make this information accessible in real-time or to expand this data out to B2B channels and other external applications. (E-Legacy: Legacy EAI for B2B Integration)
To present an idea of the significance of legacy software, it has been projected that in excess of 200 billion lines of COBOL code are present and this software application processes 70% of the global business data with 30 billion COBOL-based business dealings are carried out every day. Evidently these are extremely worthy assets to leverage. (Legacy Integration: Something Old, Something New: Integrating Legacy Systems) Think as a company business executive, looking at your product-line placing orders for backlog, your production schedules as against the product categories, your stock of goods as against your production schedules, and your inventory refill with the deficiency which was shown conspicuously. This is the objective of a totally integrated e-Legacy business. (E-Legacy: Legacy EAI for B2B Integration)
Legacy systems store a huge amount of important business information, together with details of the customer; hence it is indispensable in case of companies to be capable of opening this data rapidly and without difficulty. Employing the correct strategy and software, this information can be integrated with recent applications, facilitating an enterprise to create its business for the future making the expenses on new it infrastructure needless. A research undertaken presently realizes the continued significance of legacy systems intended for UK organizations, particularly in drawing and preventing customers from shifting loyalty in favor of other companies. The survey in its findings stated that 86% of the UK companies hold legacy systems as significant to customer service delivery, whereas more than two-thirds hold the importance of integrating legacy systems with customer service applications. Any business strategy which entails evasion of legacy systems is possibly detrimental to the relationship of a company with its customers and its all-round standing. (86% of UK Companies Regard to Legacy Systems as critical to customer service delivery: Survey Highlights Ongoing Importance of Legacy Systems for UK Industry)
Limitations of Legacy-system:
With the motivation for Business-to-Business — B2B Internet suitability, legacy applications are frequently made responsible for roadblock in attaining a genuine 24/7 international web-enabled enterprise. (E-Legacy: Legacy EAI for B2B Integration) the expenses of managing a legacy information system can go up to millions of pound annually. Brodie and Stonebraker assert that the upkeep of a legacy system can make 80% of the total it budget, and can frequently be more than 90%. Expenses of this sort can stall the enterprise from building applications that take the benefit of recent technology. Bisbal et al. apply this facet of cost to outline a legacy system portraying it as a software system that cannot be sustained by adequate resources. Bisbal et al. portray legacy system as ‘fragile, rigid, inaccessible and possess lack of scalability and absence of ingenuousness’. (Legacy information systems) the difficulties connected with the age of a system can be explained more proximally and have broader connotation compared to what we have witnessed till date. The period of a legacy system frequently ascertains the framework of the code and the intricacy of creating what is performs. (Legacy information systems)
Due to the absence of documentation, the maintenance programmers are left with just the code to help in the understanding the system, and this is the same code the developers must look forward so as to set up what the current system performs. Reverse engineering, the process by which the present system is once again documented from the code is opportune and expensive. Besides, suitably experienced personnel are difficult to locate. Software programmers skilled in the earlier assembly, second and third generation codes, might have moved up to latest software systems. Those who possess the required proficiencies are frequently unwilling to leave their hands from the projects that are employing latest technology. The supply and demand scenario of adequately skilled programmers generally implies such programmers are hard to hire and very costly to engage them. Slee and Slovin debate that perceiving the program can consume up to 50% of the maintenance time. The explanation for modification becomes simpler when the share of maintenance attains a whopping 95% of the it budget, and 50% of the maintenance time is devoted to just to gather knowledge about the system. (Legacy information systems)
Legacy data systems in Business:
In a huge organization, legacy systems are constituted of tens of millions lines of programming code which possesses a replacement worth in the region of billions of dollars. These application systems are indispensable to the long-term functioning of multifaceted businesses throughout the globe. Majority of these companies are even aggressively developing new, Web-based systems to support e-business projects. These projects are strategic, but yet need access to legacy data and transaction-based systems. These new systems require to access legacy settings to leverage the intelligence entrenched in these past systems. Nearly every company tackles the e-business and legacy systems integration by the use of some application integration instruments to access legacy data in a selective manner or activate back-end business dealings. These instruments tackle integration through the application of after-the-fact solutions which successfully differentiate recent systems from legacy settings for the long-term. This procedure presents restricted flexibility and impedes long-term, extensive up gradation alternatives to recent e-business systems and back-end settings. (Aligning Strategic Systems with Legacy Environments) greater efficient procedure for integrating strategic and legacy settings is to deal with this confrontation at the time of design and development chain. Recent systems leverage reclaimed constituents to restructure development and potential upgrade responsibilities. Reusable component libraries are conventionally supplied by the sellers or built by Java programmers. Legacy systems, on the contrary, are a valuable unexploited repository of business codes which can be subdivided into components and used again as a part of the development procedure. Componentization of legacy systems needs breaking down systems into important operations and sub-operations and deriving and unification of chosen business policies from those systems. The subsequent move involves classification of those derived components for reusing and composing them to enable them for availability to the development and maintenance groups. Whereas this process is not an easy task, software tools and systems have developed to a stage where legacy componentization is practicable and with the help of commercially accessible technology. The advantages of this are important. Rebuilding the business policies comprised within the legacy systems will cost some companies greater than their net reasonable market valuation.
Many debate that legacy business policies are not applicable to recent e-business needs. As against this, back-end systems have majority of the business logic required to facilitate increased volume, e-business dealings which are scalable. Legacy designs strictly are not compatible with cross-functional access to stovepipe data and transaction-based settings. Componentization will help in revolutionizing this dynamic through reassembling legacy astuteness such that new systems will be capable of reusing legacy logic to fulfill strategic e-business needs. Development endeavors can fulfill fresh development needs more rapidly and more efficiently by adding legacy components. This is better than trying to repeat years of entrenched legacy business logic from the very beginning. It managers must facilitate developers to deal with new development and legacy systems integration under an exclusive strategy that completely blends integration into the systems design and development life cycle. Any shortfall in this accord shelves the future of e-business solutions in leading enterprises. (Aligning Strategic Systems with Legacy Environments)
Guidelines for legacy-system integration:
After understanding the limitations, we have to be careful in adopting correct techniques for legal system integration. As understood earlier, since expenses are a major issue- it is costly to integrate and keep legacy systems functioning. In case a legacy system is inadequately made from the initial stages, at times it is risking good money to follow bad to keep them functional. You must realize the expenses of creating a new system from the very beginning, retooling the complete operation as well, in case you prefer not to maintain the legacy settings. Chief Information Officers – CIOs must think about the continuing feasibility of a legacy system prior to expending funds to integrate the same. Several types of integration are present, and these are available at different price segments. Real-time integration, for instance, which modifies and upgrades the information right through integrated systems the moment the modification is done, is the most intricate and thus the most costly. However, there are other points of integration which are not so expensive, even though they are not so exhaustive.
The intensities of integration must be propelled by the requirements of the business. The key is to match the integration category to the specific business requirement, which highlights the project. ‘Prepare a business argument before anything else,’ stated Andrew Efststhiou, program manager with the technology management strategy group of Yankee Group, a research company headquartered in Boston. “The moment you accomplish that, you can begin originating a solution that makes clear the various components and what nature of integration the business argument needs.” (Steps to Success: Tips for legacy-system integration) the structural design must also include which integration plan will cause an upset in the present setting the least, and what categories will facilitate added growth. “It must be like a navigator to the future.” (Steps to Success: Tips for legacy-system integration) People in fact are required to ensure that something is being created keeping in mind the requirements of the customer, and not something that the technology is considered by the individuals is efficient. One of the major concerns of integrating systems is “data semantics” called by Knickle: It has to be ensured that situations are explained in the identical manner -that a directive implies the similar matter intended for the two systems, for instance. (Steps to Success: Tips for legacy-system integration)
The data should also be deleted to ensure that matters like outmoded records and typing mistakes are removed. The volume of work is immense which entails truly careful refinement methods. There are possibilities that recent customized applications will have certain usefulness, which the legacy system already possesses. In case this turns out to be a reality, CIOs are required to come to a conclusion which system will execute that specific operation. Some of the matters to mull over are: Does the old system possess some exclusivity which renders its usefulness better? What is the degree of customization that the new application will need? According to Efstathiou of the Yankee Group, the modular character of the latest software facilitates this in a little simpler fashion. Evidently, integration is not serving any purpose till legacy systems are present. Moreover, if you think that the high-tech systems of the current era are the legacy behemoths of future, it easy to comprehend that integration is going to stay for a much extended period. Adept CIOs will fathom the manner in which to optimize integration methods for the building systems, which fulfils the needs of the companies. (Steps to Success: Tips for legacy-system integration)
Legacy applications and data have come from the languages, platforms and techniques employed prior to the onset of present technology. Hence, these systems symbolize the backbone of an enterprise and a lot have been around for more than two decades. The beneficial edge that your group enjoys is that in case the legacy systems are justifiably designed properly, then you can take advantage of considerable quantities of present workability. Nevertheless, in case the legacy systems are not properly designed, or at the minimum not designed with due regard to integration, at that point you will discover that your integration endeavors are an important segment of your project. This is specifically the fact when sufficient documentation is not present or when the owners of the legacy systems are reluctant to be associated with your group. However, largely, the business argument for integrating legacy systems is really very potent, since it can unleash a lot of new opportunities for companies in case an appropriate technique of embracing the integration happens.
Bakehouse, George; Wakefield, Tony. (23 March 2005) “Legacy information systems” Retrieved at http://www.accaglobal.com/publications/studentaccountant/2377837Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Cummings, Nigel. “Stitching systems seamlessly” Retrieved at http://www.orsoc.org.uk/about/topic/news/stitch.htm. Accessed on 16 April, 2005 e-Legacy: Legacy EAI for B2B Integration.” Retrieved at http://www.accelr8.com/eai/eai4b2b.html. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Hildebrand, Carol. (19 March 2003) “Steps to Success: Tips for legacy-system integration” Retrieved at http://searchcio.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid19_gci887119,00.html. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Legacy System Integration” Retrieved at http://www.a1technology.com/legacy.htm. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Sutor, Bob. (18 October, 2004) “Legacy Integration: Something Old, Something New: Integrating Legacy Systems” Retrieved at http://www.ebizq.net/topics/legacy_integration/features/5229.html?&pp=1Accessed on 16 April, 2005
86% of UK Companies Regard to Legacy Systems as critical to customer service delivery: Survey Highlights Ongoing Importance of Legacy Systems for UK Industry” (10 May 2004) Retrieved at http://www.wrq.com/assets/uk_pr_survey.pdf. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Ulrich, William. “Aligning Strategic Systems with Legacy Environments” Retrieved at http://www.systemtransformation.com/aligning.htm. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Web services programming tips and tricks: Legacy integration techniques for Java applications” (16 November, 2000) Ronin International. Retrieved at http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/ws-tip-leg.html. Accessed on 16 April, 2005
Development of Integration for legacy data systems
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