As the control system end users gathered at ARC Advisory Group's recent World Industry Forum in Orlando, it became apparent that aging control systems, many which have been in place for twenty years or more, remain a daunting issue for many. Users continue to struggle to determine exactly when their efforts to keep their legacy systems operating are no longer viable and it's finally time to replace these with new technology. Since every system and situation is different, this decision cannot be based solely on the age of the system.
Once the decision to replace the legacy system is made, the method of executing the migration must be well thought out. One method, or practice, clearly does not fit all industries. For that matter, a single approach may not even fit all situations of a single company's installed base of legacy systems.
Many large global process companies today have delayed replacing their out-of-date control systems for so long that the number of systems that need replacing is staggering. Even if these companies started replacing their systems today, the process would take years to complete. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that some enterprises have grown by acquisition. Here, not only is there likely to be a large quantity of obsolete control systems, but chances are they will be from different suppliers and/or of different vintages.
The problem is not going away and will only become more pronounced as competitive and other pressures increase, and the industry continues to move toward commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies. As workshop participants discussed, while many older components found in the current installed base of technology may have been designed and built to last, time and environment will take their toll on even the most rugged design.
This ARC Strategy Report summarizes the many sound migration strategies discussed at this workshop and shares some of the migration-related lessons learned from the many knowledgeable and experienced end user participants.
Table of Contents
Major Operating Companies Share their Approaches
Getting Ready to Replace Legacy Systems
Lessons Learned about Managing the Migration
What Is the Best Replacement Approach? It Depends
ARC Advisory Group clients can view the complete report at this Link.
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