Why not throw out old and bring in new

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hi All, This is going to sound like a really stupid question to most of you I'm sure. My hubby and I were talking tonight and we were discussing why all these companies who are spending tremendous amounts of money with no proof that their systems will work are not getting rid of the current computers and programs and just starting over. What do you all think? Why aren't they doing this? Candice

-- Candice Brinkman (Cansas@aol.com), May 10, 1998


In some cases companies are bringing in new hardware and re-writing their software, but that is an option only if they started early enough. Most companies have specialized software for their particular business, you can't just go to the local software store and buy it off the shelf. Many big systems take 2-3 years (or more) to re-write, test and install. Obviously there isn't enough time left for that option. As a programmer, this is the option I think would have been the best, since it could have brought the code up to date and made it more efficient going forward. Now with the fixing of arcane code, companies will want to "re-coup" their investment and refuse to move forward with replacing obsolete languages and code.

-- Rebecca Kutcher (kutcher@pionet.net), May 11, 1998.

Companies have spent the last 20 to 30 years building these systems. It could take just as much time (another 20-30 years) to totally replace them with new programs. It is somewhat parallel to all the buildings that were built over many years using asbestos as insulation. Then someone suddenly decided that asbestos had to go. It wasn't feasible to say just junk every building and build new ones - the asbestos had to be removed and replaced with another insulation. Similarly with these computer programs. Maybe only 1% of the instructions have to be corrected. The other 99% still do what is needed. So totally replacing the systems would be a task many times larger than just fixing the date problem.

There are certain agencies, among them the IRS, that have in fact tried to totally redesign and replace all their computers and systems with new ones, and found the project to be so big it has failed completely. I think that the IRS blew 11 billion dollars on such a failed project. And other agencies, such as the FAA, have found the prospect of replacing everything with new to be a daunting task. It's why some of them still have computers f

-- Dan Hunt (dhunt@hostscorp.com), May 11, 1998.

My last post should have ended with the words "still have computers from the 70s."

I don't know why the system cuts off the last few words on an answer sometimes.


-- Dan Hunt (dhunt@hostscorp.com), May 11, 1998.

Three things:

1. Money 2. Time 3. Willingness to change

Many companies lack all three, most lack at least two of these three. A sever lack of even one could prevent replacement, and since time is in incredibly short supply from this point forward, you won't see too many successful replacement projects that haven't already gotten underway.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@compuserve.com), May 11, 1998.

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