New build processes: Modern IT Architecture for Legacy Systems

Virtually every company today uses IT systems to support key business processes. Some of these IT systems have been in use for 20, 30 or more years and are no longer as fresh as a daisy. "Never change a running system" is the IT wisdom behind many decisions to stick with a legacy solution. Cost is also a key consideration. And, of course, new systems are not perfect or even bug-free.


New build processes allow you to cost-effectively modernize your existing IT architecture.

Making Legacy Systems Faster, More Secure, and Compatible

As tried and tested as legacy systems may be, they cause problems over time. For example, they often become incompatible with the new systems they need to work with to achieve optimal business results or meet regulatory requirements. And, of course, there are security risks. Many programs date back to the 1990s or 2000s, when networking over the Internet was not an issue for many companies - and therefore not an issue for external attacks. In today's digitally connected world, things are very different.

Cost-effective alternative: innovation in the build process

So what to do? Changing the system is the most obvious, but also the most expensive option. IT service providers such as ISO Software Systeme GmbH offer alternative solutions, such as innovating the build process. This involves compiling old source code with the latest generation of compilers. The aim is to preserve the functionality of the legacy system with all its advantages, while at the same time securing it against external attacks and ensuring compatibility with other systems.

There are three main benefits to using new compilers

  • Increased security: New compilers include patches that close known security issues to better protect your IT landscape.
  • Future compatibility: Whether new operating systems or new hardware, legacy systems can be connected to modern system landscapes with the latest compilers.
  • Improved performance: With new compilers, legacy systems can be optimized for modern architectures and processes, improving overall system performance.  

The cost of conversion is significantly less than a complete system rebuild. In addition, employees can continue to work seamlessly with the system they are familiar with, rather than having to spend time becoming familiar with new software. With updated compilers, the risk of disrupting key processes due to migration is also significantly reduced.

What are the technical considerations?

Although a compiler upgrade can be described as "minimally invasive" compared to a system change, there are a few things to keep in mind. It is advisable to proceed step-by-step, rather than replacing all components at once. If stability or performance problems occur after the changes have been made, the sources of the errors cannot be clearly identified. Therefore, it makes sense to change only one component at a time.

In addition to regular code reviews, penetration testing should also be performed, with the emphasis on the former and being performed as part of the general testing, see below. If it turns out that the old code is no longer maintainable, refactoring is required, but should only be done in an absolute emergency.

Automated testing (unit test, system test, integration test, regression test, etc.) is essential for a compiler upgrade to ensure that the software performs the same after the upgrade as it did before the upgrade.

20 years of experience in innovating build processes

ISO Software Systeme GmbH has been providing this service for about two decades to companies in a wide range of industries, from automation to aerospace and energy. Especially for customers who cannot switch to a new system every few years for safety and production reasons, this type of service is essential. As a result, we have extensive experience in highly sensitive and safety-critical applications.  

If you have any questions or simply want to know more, please contact us.