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Modernising Legacy Systems in Singapore

Legacy systems are still in use pieces of hardware or software that are out of date. These systems frequently have problems and are incompatible with more modern ones. Although they can be used in the manner intended by their creators, they cannot be improved.

It is the backbone of many excellent organisations, since they utilise software, apps, and IT solutions that are crucial to the general operation of the business but are obsolete and, in some cases, no longer supported by the original software vendor or developer.

While running legacy systems may not appear to be a big deal, they do present a unique set of challenges and potential issues that organisations would be remiss to ignore.

Thus, obsolete legacy systems are at best a nuisance and, at worst, can undermine an organisation’s entire IT security strategy, severely impeding productivity. Furthermore, the longer a company waits to modernise a legacy system, the more difficult the transition becomes.

However, system modernisation is always a prerequisite for digital transformation. Most firms will be unable to fully grasp the benefits of new technologies and solutions without it.

Due to the rapid development of technology, businesses must maintain compatibility with legacy systems that impede the implementation of contemporary technologies.

With this, the Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT) employs technology to facilitate and advance Singapore’s national security. Due to the environment’s highly secret nature, it must be air-gapped.

This means that development and deployment are conducted in networks that are not connected to the internet. Consequently, all platforms had to be installed on-premises.

Despite not being able to utilise internet-connected services, CSIT has a Cloud Infrastructure and Services section that offers developers the necessary infrastructure to concentrate on software development.

Further, a monolith system is a big application consisting of code built by several developers over many years. Frequently, the code is inadequately maintained. Some of these developers may have left the development team or the organisation, leaving knowledge gaps.

Due to a lack of expertise and the difficulty of modifying a system that is constantly in use in production, refactoring the code is comparable to replacing the tyres on a moving car.

Having a legacy system result in greater maintenance and support costs and decreased efficiency. Since the monolith system was still essential, CSIT opted to adopt a more manageable strategy by decomposing it into smaller services using the microservices methodology.

Microservices, on the other hand, are software programmes that execute a business function as part of a larger system yet are separate services. These services are intended to be lightweight and straightforward to implement.

Microservices have the following advantages: each service is independently scalable; services have smaller code bases that make them easier to maintain and test; and problems are isolated to a single service, allowing for faster troubleshooting.

In addition, there are two main microservice architectures to consider when implementing the microservices approach. Each has advantages and disadvantages that correspond to specific use cases as Orchestration, as the name suggests, necessitates an orchestrator actively controlling the work of each service, whereas Choreography takes a less stringent method by allowing each service to carry out its work freely.

Microservices architecture may not be appropriate for all projects and choosing an architecture should be based on the needs of the project; therefore, CSIT advised to expect new problems to arise and be prepared to adapt to them.

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