Legacy Control System Migration

One of the most serious issues currently facing plant/facility managers across all industries is that of legacy control system migration. What is this all about, and why is it such a serious issue? This paper will address these specific questions and provide guidance in the planning and implementation of a migration strategy. The term “legacy” was originally used to refer to in-place computers and software to distinguish them from newer systems being brought on line. The more contemporary meaning implies systems that have reached, or are approaching, the end of their reasonable life cycle, often because hardware elements have been obsoleted by the manufacturer (think no more availability of spares or replacements) or because software is no longer being
supported with upgrades. By some counts, approximately $65 billion of process control systems, both PLC and DCS, fit this definition.

Challenges Presented by Legacy Systems

Factors that need to be considered in determining a migration strategy include the following…


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