In information technology, legacy applications and data are those that have been inherited from
languages, platforms, and techniques earlier than current technology. Most enterprises who use
computers have legacy applications and databases that serve critical business needs. Typically, the
challenge is to keep the legacy application running while converting it to newer, more efficient
code that makes use of new technology and programmer skills. In the past, much programming has been
written for specific manufacturers' operating systems. Currently, many companies are migrating
their legacy applications to new programming languages and operating systems that follow open or
standard programming interfaces. Theoretically, this will make it easier in the future to update
applications without having to rewrite them entirely and will allow a company to use its
applications on any manufacturer's operating system.
In addition to moving to new languages, enterprises are redistributing the locations of applications and data. In general, legacy applications have to continue to run on the platforms they were developed for. Typically, new development environments account for the need to continue to support legacy applications and data. With many new tools, legacy databases can be accessed by newer programs.
This was first published in November 2001