What Does Brownfield Mean?

Brownfield refers to the implementation of new systems to resolve IT problem areas while accounting for established systems. New software architecture must account for existing and running software.


A commonly used IT term, Brownfield was borrowed from the building industry, where brownfield land describes a geographical location where new buildings may be constructed after considering the area's established structures and services.

Techopedia Explains Brownfield

Brownfield development enhances traditional software engineering practices. Greenfield, or a blank slate, is considered the traditional target environment during software development. Brownfield extends the traditional software development plan to add context. Thus, the context of the IT system under construction and all system details are factored into any development practice prior to implementing improvements.

As recently as 2006, the IT industry has had more failure than success due to unexpected complexities related to the large scale delivery of software changes to customers, including risky and expensive brownfield development.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…