As part of their cost cutting program, organizations are consolidating data centers and the applications within them. Federal and state agencies in the public sector are among those where IT consolidation and moving applications to the cloud are top priorities as part of an overall goal to increase efficiencies and eliminate costs. In other industries, many consolidations are also under way due to mergers and acquisitions and other cost cutting initiatives. As you plan or undergo a consolidation project, you also need to plan for the retirement of legacy, redundant applications that are left behind.
Without retiring these orphan applications, your cost cutting program is not complete. There is still significant cost to be saved from retiring applications. Forrester estimates from a survey of over 1000 software decision makers in North America and EMEA that about 66% of their organizations’ capital and operating budget is spent on maintaining existing applications, with only 35% left for new software initiatives and IT projects. A similar recent survey of organizations with over 50 IT staff puts the average at 70% of the IT budget being spent on existing applications, with only 30% left for new IT projects. At the same time, 50% of those existing applications are legacy, which means an average of 35% of an organization’s IT budget is spent on maintaining legacy applications that are of low business value. With these types of figures, you can no longer ignore the wasted costs associated with legacy applications.
Most of the following costs associated with legacy applications can be eliminated once you have decommissioned them:
- Maintenance contracts of the hardware (server, storage) and software (database, application) stack
- Backup and management costs
- IT staff maintaining the application (they can be redeployed to more mission critical projects).
Not to mention the reduced risks and soft costs that can be saved from:
- Data center footprint
- Power consumption
- Reliance on IT staff with specialized skill sets on the legacy application and platform
- Not being able to access data in old applications
- Potential hefty fines due to delayed responses to compliance audits and eDiscovery
- Less vendors to manage and negotiate with
- Reduced IT complexity
- Recovered high end storage
You should think about legacy and redundant application retirement as part of your overall application optimization strategy.
And what should you do with the data in those applications if they need to be retained for infrequent reporting or regulatory compliance? Data from applications that are to be decommissioned should be archived to an optimal format that supports extreme capacity reduction through compression, while ensuring easy access to the data from any reporting tool. In addition, by archiving the data and managing it centrally, you can also more effectively automate the retention and disposal of that data based on regulations. Search and discovery of the data will be easier when it’s in a common format that’s easily accessed to support e-Discovery requirements.
If you are going through a data center and application consolidation program, don’t leave the old applications behind – plan for its archival and decommissioning ahead of time. The benefits are too enormous to ignore.
 “A Workable Application Modernization Framework Is Job No. 1 Now”, Forrester Research by Phil Murphy, April 26, 2010.