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A legacy system is a process automation system which was developed sometime in the past and which is critical to the business in which the system operates. Many legacy systems were developed before the widespread use of modern software engineering methods and have been maintained to accommodate changing requirements.Distributed Control Systems (DCS) first entered the process control arena in the mid-late 70’s and through the 80’s and 90’s. These systems revolutionized process control byimplementation of digital technology in process facilities. Through their new digital architecture, these systems provided distribution of control processing physically through deployment in different locations, and functionally, though distribution of control and human-machine interface in different processors.Early systems were based upon proprietary architectures of operating systems, networking and engineering software tools. With standardization efforts in networking throughEthernet, TCPIP protocols, and through operating systems like UNIX and Windows NT/2000, differences between systems in these areas were reduced.These legacy systems are now reaching the end of their product lifecycles. Without continuing long-term support, the problems of spare parts, people knowledgeable in thesystems, system reliability had escalated their life cycle costs to a point that replacement or renovation is necessary to maintain operation. Also, many companies are investing in current technologies to take advantage of their openness and connectivity to business and other operation systems.
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