IT Management

Study argues against maintaining legacy systems

Cobol code

Maintaining legacy systems, such as those that run COBOL code, should be retired in favor of a software-based IT enterprise, a MeriTalk survey suggests.

Agencies would benefit much more from embracing a software-based IT enterprise than maintaining current legacy systems, according to a new study released July 22.

In June 2013, MeriTalk and VMware surveyed 152 federal IT leaders to determine what steps agencies are taking in that direction and what kind of benefits they have seen.

Agencies are spending 79 percent of their IT budget, or an average of $62 billion annually, just to maintain legacy IT systems. More than half of the IT leaders surveyed said their agencies donot have the ability to acquire new IT resources in a timely manner, and that IT workers are often consumed with routine tasks that could be automated, such as virus scanning and troubleshooting. Seventy-seven percent said their agency needs a more flexible IT framework.

According to the report, a software-defined enterprise works by "virtualizing network infrastructure, and therefore removing the dependency between networks and networking hardware." In a software-defined data center, management and control of resources (such as maintenance, testing and development) would be entirely automated by software.

Federal IT leaders said they see potential in using a software-defined enterprise. Of the 152 leaders, 81 percent said innovation is vital to their agency's future, and 66 percent believed that transitioning to a software-based enterprise would foster IT innovation within their agency.

The study found that obstacles to updating legacy systems include budget constraints, security, agency politics, complex procurement processes and vendor contracts.

The read the full study, click here.

About the Author

Natalie Lauri is an editorial fellow at FCW. Connect with her on Twitter: @Nat_Lauri.

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