Hosted legacy applications are legacy applications that are hosted by a managed IT hosting company. They allow you to access your legacy applications from any device without having to rewrite or virtualize the applications yourself.
And because they’re hosted, they can also increase the accessibility, scalability, performance, security, and reliability of your legacy applications, and reduce your IT management hassles and costs.
A legacy application is an application that is only compatible with older, no longer widely used operating systems, platforms, or hardware, but is still being used by a business. Many legacy applications were designed and built from scratch by the companies that use them, or they’re extensively-customized versions of commercial software. A legacy application may also be a commercial application that’s no longer supported its developer.
In most cases, it’s possible to rewrite legacy applications to be compatible with newer technologies, but many businesses opt not to because there are less expensive and disruptive alternatives. With virtualization software, for example, you can run legacy applications on OSes, platforms, and hardware that they would normally be incompatible with, though it may not work with all legacy applications and can be expensive and complicated to set up and use.
One of the better ways to allow employees to access legacy applications from their usual devices and operating systems is to have them hosted by a managed hosting provider. An advantage of this approach is that it doesn’t require you to know anything about application virtualization, because the hosting provider will virtualize your legacy application for you as part of the setup and implementation process.
In addition, the hosting provider will probably do a better job of virtualizing your applications than any of your in-house IT staff—which will eliminate the errors and performance problems associated with a less-than-perfect virtualization and deployment process—since hosting providers have their own in-house virtualization specialists, who are experienced at virtualizing all types of applications, and can afford the most advanced virtualization software.
Other benefits of hosting your legacy applications with a managed hosted provider rather than deploying it onsite include all of the usual benefits of hosting an IT solution with an external provider, such as:
Increased accessibility. You can access hosted solutions from anywhere with any device via the Internet.
Decreased IT management hassles. The hosting provider will monitor, protect, and support your application for you.
Increased scalability. You can add users and CPUs, RAM, and storage to a hosted application deployment quickly and easily, because hosting companies already all of the requisite hardware in place and ready to go.
Lower costs. You can access your hosted application from low-cost devices like thin clients and refurbished PCs, and it doesn’t require you to purchase any onsite servers or hire any additional IT personnel.
Increased performance, security, and reliability, because of the hosting provider’s advanced hosting infrastructure and the expertise of their personnel.
There are some potential disadvantages to hosted legacy applications. For one, the legacy application may not be compatible with the hosting provider’s infrastructure, or may not perform well in a hosted environment—though many managed hosting companies have the ability to customize their hosting platform and avoid compatibility issues.
Your hosted legacy application may also perform slower than an onsite version of the application, though this will depend on the manner in which your application is hosted and the device and network you access it from. In addition, hosted legacy applications may be more expensive than onsite legacy applications in terms of monthly costs—though usually not in terms of long-term costs or overall value.