Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CloverETL - Replacing Legacy Software

What does legacy data software mean to you: old software that’s currently outdated or existing software that works? Or, I should ask, are you a developer or a business stakeholder? No matter which side of the discussion you are on, replacing legacy software is always a difficult conversation between developers and business stakeholders. On one side, business stakeholders see little value in developing a solution for something that is already working and generally follow the motto ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. Whereas, developers are maintaining the legacy software on a day-to-day basis (and they most likely haven’t designed nor developed the software) and are always looking for ways to improve the software. As a developer, I always see the value in upgrading your software because technology is constantly changing and evolving. The requirements and constraints your systems had 3 years ago are no longer constraints in today’s world. Today we’ll outline an existing legacy system process and software, and show that it can easily be migrated into a data integration solution using CloverETL.

Background
I used to work as a government contractor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where my job was maintaining and enhancing the data ingestion system. The data ingestion system, at a high level, gathers water level data from NOAA tide stations and transmits them to local read-out ground systems where the data ingestion system would then acquire the water level data for processing. Once the data arrived on the data ingestion servers, software would decode the messages, calculate the water level value based upon the raw data, and insert the data into the database. Can you count the number of software programs that were needed for this process? Disregarding the upstream software, there is a special scripting language that acquires the data, a Fortran program to decode the messages, another Fortran program to quality control and add offsets, and a C program to insert the data into the database. Do you know how to code in Fortran or compile Fortran code? Making a change to these programs takes weeks to fully compile and test. This is a huge problem with maintaining legacy software because the technology is outdated, the business requirements are not fully understood, and costs too much money to enhance the existing software.

Wouldn’t it be nice to consolidate all of the software into a packaged solution that can be easily customized for your data needs? Using CloverETL, you can design your solution to follow the same process that’s already in place with the same check-pointing that exists in your system today.   

Existing Process Flow:




Using CloverETL, it’s possible to achieve the same results with the same process flow that you have already defined.

Benefits of using a CloverETL solution for your legacy data software needs:
  • Update your codebase to a modern architecture approach
  • Write custom logic components using Clover Transformation Language (CTL) or Java
  • Metadata propagation between your business objects and processes which can cut down on the amount of processing your systems are doing
  • Near real-time data handling (file event listeners and/or scheduled events)
  • Removes clunky, old programming languages
  • Allows you to update your business requirements in a timely fashion

This is one example from my previous experience where I know CloverETL would help to make a difference for business stakeholders and developers. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. 

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