Do You Treat Your Legacy Systems Like Pets or Like Cattle?

There’s a difference in the way “Old IT” and “New IT” look at legacy systems. Learn the difference…and why it matters

The “Old IT” mentality: My legacy systems are my pets

Anyone who owns a pet will agree that they bring you a lot of joy…but they can also cause you some serious financial hardship. When Fluffy is healthy, he is a joy to have around. He is a part of the family–protecting you, providing uncLegacy-systems-cowonditional love, warming your feet…

But, inevitably, he will get sick or start having issues around aging, and you will be faced with the very real possibility of spending a great deal of money to take care of him. We love our pets, so we will do whatever we need to do to keep Fluffy happy and healthy as long as possible.

Many IT departments treat their legacy systems like pets. They have been invested in these systems from birth—collaborating with security and networking to design the solution, putting effort into resource planning and capacity management.

When the system begins having issues, they spend hours or days diagnosing and fixing them. The hardware was purchased at great cost, and there was a great deal of effort put into designing and setting up those systems, so there’s a constant effort to ensure they live as long as possible—in many cases, unfortunately, this goes well past a normal, reasonable life span.

There is nothing wrong with having “pet” legacy systems, but they come with a cost: Time and resources. Not just the time the IT department uses in maintaining these aging systems, but the time your business is spending developing work-arounds to their limitations. The question is, can you afford to keep your Fluffy around much longer?

The “New IT” mentality: Systems are cattle

If you’re an animal lover, you might cringe at this analogy. But there is a reason  “New IT” calls systems—or more specifically, infrastructure—cattle. You see, cattle ranchers look at the world in a much different way than pet owners.

For a cattle rancher, animals are a means to an end, livestock to be bought and sold. There is no emotional connection to them because there are always more where they came from. Different types of cattle serve different purposes, but they all have one thing in common: They are replaceable if they are no longer producing.

New IT sees infrastructure in the same way. New IT has embraced the principle of automation and replacement. When a server starts acting up, perhaps because of poor application development or a bad patch of the operating system, New IT doesn’t waste time trying to figure out what is wrong. Like the rancher, they “shoot” the resource and get a new one. Harsh, right?

But if you think about it, it’s not harsh…it’s smart. In today’s cloud-first world, you can buy whatever infrastructure you need, keep it for a little while to do a job, and then sell it back when you are done. Cloud-based infrastructure is purchased from a qualified Cloud partner and run in a pay-as-you-go scheme. What this means to New IT is this: It is cheaper and faster to eliminate the old infrastructure and deploy new from scratch. Trying to nurse the infrastructure back to health–or worse, determine the cause of the illness in the first place–is really a waste of money because a new one can be provisioned before the old one is even turned off. The old way, where IT cares for and feeds that infrastructure day and night, is eliminated because it’s not physically under your roof. Your IT staff can’t touch it, much less care for it…but you can be sure it’s in very good hands.

If you go with Microsoft Azure as your Cloud platform, you get Microsoft on your side. With that kind of partner, the burden of making sure that the physical infrastructure is healthy is removed from your concern. Worrying about the state of the hardware, where it is physically located, or if it even has power and cooling is their problem, not yours. Looking at it from New IT’s point of view, security, compliance, and burden of protection is now their problem, too! All of the energy Old IT spends on a hardened solution with fault tolerance and security protections is Microsoft’s problem! And with a partner like AKA, even the basics of sizing and monitoring that environment can be eliminated from your concern; AKA’s Cloud Operations Managed Services will run any Cloud solution on your behalf! New IT can really focus on Innovation for the business, and forget about how to run the Ranch!

Why Cattle are Better for Your Systems

If you adopt the rancher mentality, your infrastructure could be gone with the blink of an eye and you’ll be on your way from the ground to the cloud. To ensure the transition is a successful one, keep these simple tips in mind:

  1. You must use automation. What this buys you is speed, but it also buys you repeatability. If you need a new system, it’s a set of commands that ran before – you were using them already!
  2. You cannot allow anyone to maintain your systems manually. The minute you allow IT to reach back into the infrastructure to do things manually, they will become attached to the Cattle and start treating them like pets. You will lose the ability to unemotionally remove the system and rebuild from scratch without incurring more cost in time.
  3. Cloud is the only scalable way! If you want to build up and tear down and only pay for what you use without paying for the hardware, then the Cloud is the only ranch that will let you have 1 or 100 cattle.

If you are ready to get some time back and free yourself from an unhealthy IT/pet relationship, come talk to the Cloud Experts at AKA. We can show you how to raise Cattle, and get back to the business of your business – and stop hugging Fluffy.


By | 2018-05-10T19:29:22+00:00 March 30th, 2018|Cloud (Azure)|0 Comments
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Contributor: Greg Inks

With two decades specializing in Microsoft and Azure platforms, Greg leads AKA's Cloud practice. He is a Cloud evangelist offering deep expertise in Cloud architectures and adoption strategy. Greg has developed subject-matter expertise and wide-ranging business acumen by working with some of the largest, most successful technology providers and client companies on the planet.

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