Earlier this decade, old applications were often discarded and replaced with new ones that could better fit into a service-oriented architecture. With smaller budgets, though, many viewers see that approach as too costly. “Rip and replace is over” said Francis Carden, CEO of Openspan, at last year’s Innovation World conference. “If you think it was costly [a year ago], you can imagine how much more costly it would be today.”
One option for more affordable modernization is Brownfield programming. In Brownfield programming, developers re-engineer or reverse engineer existing applications (rather than create new ones, as in Greenfield programming) to improve their quality and flexibility. If you are going to eat the elephant that is legacy IT systems, it’s best to get the beast down to bite-sized chunks, say Richard Hopkins and Kevin Jenkins, authors of Eating the IT Elephant: Moving from Greenfield Development to Brownfield.
Sometimes, migration is the path to modernization. Book publisher Simon and Schuster needed a way to speed up their mainframe system, but saw no reason to rewrite the unique business logic they’ve used to sell books for decades. With the help of Fujitsu Software, the publisher was able to migrate their existing CICS/COBOL code to a .NET environment, where the old code can be managed more effectively.