Featured October 11 -15

Legacy Systems Myths

Published on
October 15, 2021 at 2:24:02 PM PDT October 15, 2021 at 2:24:02 PM PDTth, October 15, 2021 at 2:24:02 PM PDT

Myth Busting Legacy Systems

If one were to trust the top search results for "legacy system," they'd be led to believe that all legacy systems are outdated, no longer supported, can't interact with newer systems, and inhibit growth. That might be true for the old bondi blue iMac in your garage, but things are different in the world of industrial computing. Legacy systems are gold, and they keep mission critical applications running smoothly around the globe!

Myth 1: "Legacy systems are outdated."

That's true, but any heavily tested system is probably outdated by the time it's deployed. NASA rovers, for example, use considerably slower processors than a consumer grade laptop because they are better suited for demanding environments. Reliability is a great deal more important than performance. It's the same in many manufacturing applications. 

While not quite the same as the surface of Mars, the inside of an industrial machine is a tough place to be! They are often controlled or monitored using a hardened computer that does a single task or a limited set of tasks in a perfectly reliable fashion. In these settings, the ICOP VSX-6124-2 shines. It's only a i386-class processor and it only supports DOS or a stripped down version of Linux, and that's actually a positive for the thousands of industrial machines out there controlled by single board computers in ISA backplanes.

In many cases, this little workhorse is a real lifesaver-- a drop in replacement that can pick up where the previous computer left off. Low cost replacement hardware to extend the life of expensive equipment is every operator's dream.

Myth 2: "Legacy Systems are no longer supported."

The leading processor manufacturers may have abandoned i386 and i486-class processors, but there's still demand for them. ICOP Technology’s parent company, DMP, is still manufacturing these processors. ICOP and DMP remain committed to maintaining that support.

While we love to tout hardware based on the latest NVIDIA modules and the fastest Intel processors, many of WDL's manufacturer partners still support older systems and architectures!

Innodisk continues to support the vast ecosystem of x86 systems with IDE drives. Their vertical 40 pin and 44 pin EDC 4000 flash drives makes upgrading an older system a snap! They come in a variety of orientations and capacities to suit the countless existing systems that require reliable, modern storage media.

WDL Systems partner TQ Systems is not only an innovative computer on module manufacturer, they are also a custom electronics manufacturer. Their supply chain expertise has led them to create an impressive obsolescence management program. If you need a guarantee that your product will be around for years and years after a key component End of Life, TQ can make that happen. 

If you have a system that is doing the job you need done, there isn’t any reason in the world to spend money and resources on upgrading to a more powerful system. Replacing one system can lead to an entire ecosystem overhaul, leading to downtime and unforeseen expenses. For OEMs in the medical and transportation markets, new certifications can be especially costly. Learn more about TQ's obsolescence management program: https://www.tq-group.com/en/products/tq-e2ms/obsolescence-management/

Myth 3: "Legacy systems can’t interact with newer systems."

Wrong! You just need a way to communicate with your legacy system or device, and serial communication is still an extremely stable and effective option. Many legacy devices have a serial port of some sort. Since most modern desktops and servers do not have a built in serial port, a multiport PCIe expansion card can bridge the gap to older technology.

The BlueStorm/Express Isolated PCIe multiport serial card is opto-isolated, adding another layer of protection to equipment. In the event of a power spike, opto-isolation protects connected devices from damage. 

Myth 4: "Legacy systems don’t allow for growth."

Really? Step away from the world of the desktops, laptops,and servers and come on over to the stackable world of PC104! Manufacturers like ADLINK Technology have remained committed to PC104 architecture, but have moved the technology forward by adding PCI Express functionality through the PCI/104-Express form factor. Compact size, fanless operation, ruggedized build, and stackable modular design have kept PC104 a popular computing platform for industrial systems, including in transportation. The legacy processors that come to mind with a venerable form factor like PC104 aren't able to process the amount of sensor data needed for modern Edge applications, though there's still a way forward.

For those applications that need more processing power, but must remain in the PC104 form factor, the ADLINK CM4-SL2 is the answer. If you are interested in learning more about the CM4-SL2 and how it is being used in rail systems, I encourage you to check out the solution brief from ADLINK.

We will be back next week with more products to share! Remember you can follow us on Social Media (use the links below to the right) or check our homepage daily to see our Products of the Day.