You never know what event might trigger a dire need for the functions a zombie app used to provide. Perhaps an old client has come back into the fold or a line of business has restarted after being mothballed many years ago -- and some old app was a critical part of the mix. The IT group then gets together to see if anyone remembers anything about the app, but with the amount of turnover that occurs in a decade, whoever knew much about it is long gone. Still, it must be brought back to life.
So the search begins for documentation, references, old output, anything. If the documentation ever existed, it's probably still around, stuffed into a three-ring binder labeled "Bob's Stuff" in a banker's box in a storage room, though nobody even remembers who Bob was. It'll never be found, at least not until its period of usefulness has long since passed.
Finally, the development process begins anew, with one or more developers setting out on the abhorrent task of painstakingly re-creating an ancient app armed with nothing more than vague memories and supposition, dreading every day they sit down in front of the keyboard, surrounded by the spirits of dearly departed colleagues and being crushed by the pressure of nontechnical management to "just get it done."
All the while, especially at night when the data center is quiet and the bustle of the normal working day has passed, you can sometimes hear them moaning and shuffling around. The zombie and ghost applications wander in and out, waiting to be rediscovered and reanimated. After all, what do zombie apps want? BRAAAIIIINNNS ...
This story, "Zombie apps return from the grave!," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.