The recent pandemic has spurred the demand for digital transformation amongst organizations, with a need for an agile and scalable IT environment to meet ever-growing customer needs. To make matters worse, the fulfillment of this need is further diluted and blurred by the monolithic architecture that these businesses run on. Digital transformation is just a mere idea if it’s not combined with an intent of application modernization and cloud migration. Organizations must ramp-up their game and adopt application modernization in order to get ahead of their competitors.
Understanding Application Modernization
Application modernization is breaking down legacy applications into its’ individual functions so that each function runs on its own with the help of containers, thereby, making the framework agile, scalable, faster-to-deploy, and independent. To understand Application modernization, we need to break down its components:
As you see in the table above, application modernization is not just transforming your off-line business processes to digital, but leveraging your legacy applications to build micro-services of individual functions in order to enhance productivity, and reduce costs.
True application modernization will encompass pivoting your architecture from monoliths to micro-services, your infrastructure from physical servers to cloud computing, and your delivery method from waterfall to DevOps. Some organizations implement these with incremental steps due to capital constraints, while others go for a complete overhaul. Whichever way you choose, you will end up taking all three aspects of your IT environment from legacy to being modern. And application modernization works best when all three factors are aligned. For instance, if you have micro-services running on physical servers, it will be expensive to manage and scale, and similarly, if you have a monolithic architecture on the cloud, it won’t be able to leverage all the benefits of a cloud environment.
Organizations must realign their legacy applications with new business requirements, in order to become a complete digital-native enterprise and create new business value from aging, legacy applications, without having to reinvest. There are business-critical applications that need to run 24x7x365 and stopping them for a complete overhaul might not resonate well with already invested IT dollars. This is where micro-services shine. Application modernization can be implemented on one application at a time without having any domino effect on your existing application stack.
The need and commitment towards modernizing the IT environment must be agreed upon internally. It must be backed by strong executive-level sponsorship. A recent report suggests that many organizations fall back from their digital transformation journey due to miscommunications between teams or the management, and end up running legacy architectures on the cloud, or modern applications on physical servers, which makes the whole process redundant, inconclusive, and deemed as an experimental failure.
3 R’s of Application Modernization
There are strategies for all kinds of businesses with different capital appetites. Some are more beneficial than others. Let’s look at the 3 R’s of application modernization:
This is the cheapest and the most sought-for option. Re-hosting is primarily a ‘lift-and-shift’ model that lifts your existing application stack and migrates it to the cloud. The downside to this model is that the application stack remains untouched. Businesses could benefit from having their applications on the cloud such as remote-access to applications, infrastructure scalability, ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, but due to the underlying aging applications being the same, it does not take complete advantage of cloud services, and might not prove to be RoI worthy.
This is similar to remodeling your car one step at a time. In this method, aging applications are broken down into its components, and each function is converted into a micro-service with the help of containers. These micro-services talk to each other via RESTful APIs and are independent of each other. This results in agility in development, faster time-to-market, and an increase in overall resilience. Micro-service architecture performs best in a cloud environment and enables to reap benefits such as scalability, ‘pay-as-you-go’ subscription, and remote accessibility.
Contrary to Re-architecture, Re-building means scrapping the old car and building one from scratch. In this method, legacy application codes are re-written keeping the cloud-native environment in mind. Numerous lines of code are replaced with shorter lines of codes that are optimized for maximum productivity and output.
This is the most advised methodology for long-term practices. It might take up a lot of resources to re-write the codes and optimize the application, but in the long run, you will enjoy the benefits of being a true digital-native enterprise. Organizations will be able to accelerate innovation, increase efficiency, fasten time-to-market, and reduce overall operational costs.
The Need for Change
There are a host of benefits of transforming from being on-premise to being digital-native with the help of application modernization:
- Cost of Infrastructure/ Scalability
Moving to the cloud enables you to ‘pay-as-you-go’. It enables businesses to scale when they need to manage with considerably lower cost-of-ownership.
With applications no longer OS-dependent, thanks to containerization, developers can free their arms and code with multiple OS instances. Also, micro-services make functional fixtures easier to update. Each function or micro service within the application can be allocated to teams with respective ownership. This leads to room for experimentation, innovation, and a healthy competition, thereby, accelerating growth.
- Security and Resilience
Legacy applications are considered as hot-targets by hackers. There are instances where we can no longer update legacy applications, giving hackers an opportunity to exploit. With Application modernization, your applications on cloud are automatically updated, and the security patches are taken care of. Even in an unforeseen event, the cloud infrastructure switches to a back-up, ensuring seamless business continuity.
- Operational & Resource Cost
Application modernization helps organizations develop an agile framework that reduces time and cost of resources and increases their efficiency. Developers can spend more time on building productive apps and enhancing the organization’s ability to grow faster.
Join the Race
Organizations must join the modernization race to keep pace with the competitors. If your business-critical applications are residing on legacy infrastructure, then Clover Infotech is the perfect modernization partner for you.
Clover Infotech has more than 25 years of experience in transforming businesses by delivering best-in-breed IT services. Experts at Clover Infotech can help you optimize your IT spends by understanding your technology landscape and designing suitable IT strategies. This will help you to modernize your application landscape, enhance its productivity, agility, and transform you into a future-ready organization.