Choosing Application Modernization Strategies

If you have critical workloads that need modernization to take full advantage of the cloud, read on.

Pilotcore
Pilotcore
7 min read
Choosing Application Modernization Strategies

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Technologies change and improve at break-neck speed. Organizations must continually strategize using the best and latest technologies to stay relevant and competitive.

Digital transformation of business processes has come a long way. A few years ago, it was for big companies, but currently, 70% of organizations will have experienced accelerated use of digital technologies. The goal is to streamline business operations to improve customer experience, productivity, and continuity.

The problem is that some organizations use outdated technologies like legacy applications. Such legacy systems slow down an organization in delivering products and services to customers.

However, cloud infrastructure and technology platforms keep improving. They provide businesses with an opportunity for application modernization. As a result, they improve agility and productivity.

In this article, we explore application modernization, reasons for modernizing, how to modernize applications, steps to modernization, and automation with DevOps.

What is Application Modernization?

Application modernization is taking existing applications and platforms on which they run and improving them to modern standards and capabilities. Businesses can achieve this by updating the application's infrastructure, architecture, and features.

How different businesses will approach the process differs depending on the state of their legacy application, the business needs, and what they want to achieve afterward. However, it is essential to remember that modernization doesn't necessarily mean replacing the application. Instead, it could take the meaning of upgrading features or rehosting the application on different platforms.

Why Modernize Applications?

Business applications are meant to increase agility and productivity. However, technology keeps changing, and customer needs and demands keep shifting, creating competitive markets.

If you bought a system ten years ago, it might have become monolithic by today's standards. Monolithic applications are built on outdated infrastructure with tightly coupled architecture that is difficult to improve. It is costly and resource-consuming to introduce new features or re-platform the application.

Monolithic applications also cause a problem with scaling. For example, when a particular app component needs improvement to meet demand, it may call for vertically scaling the whole app for that single component. Unfortunately, it means developers must spend time on unnecessary computing costs.

Application modernization may also be ideal when improving security and reliability. Advanced cloud-based platforms offer built-in and updating security capabilities to safeguard workloads. It also provides users with backup, recovery, monitoring, and availability automation.

How can Applications be Modernized?

There are different strategies an organization can adopt in modernizing its applications. Each method has its advantages and is ideal for various instances.

Move to the cloud

Moving an application to the cloud transfers data, applications, and infrastructures to a cloud computing service. This takes different forms and usually involves migrating your data center capabilities from an on-premises server to a cloud-based server provided by companies such as AWS and Google Cloud.

However, since many organizations have already adopted the cloud, the migration is more often within cloud-based platforms. It happens when companies move their applications and architectures from one cloud provider to another(called cloud to cloud migration).

Some of the reasons to migrate applications and their infrastructure to the cloud include:

  • Scalability: Moving applications to the cloud allows businesses to handle larger workloads. Companies will need to buy servers, software licenses, more storage, and other equipment to scale their business using the on-premises infrastructure. The cloud provides modern tools and unlimited space where more workload is supported. It also allows companies to allow more users without overloading systems.
  • Performance: The cloud allows businesses to enhance their performance and service delivery. Speed in performance is achieved since applications are hosted in cloud data centers worldwide. It means data travels a short distance to reach the end user, unlike when hosted on an on-premise server. This improves customer experience and satisfaction, making them industry leaders.
  • Cost: Cloud service providers handle maintenance and upgrades to the infrastructure, meaning companies using their services spend less on IT operations. Instead, the companies can redirect these resources into creating new products or improving the existing ones.
  • Wider Reach: Using cloud computing opens the business to new markets and demographics. Data on the cloud is accessible from any internet-enabled device from any location worldwide. This means that companies can have employees and customers from different areas. It also provides users with modern tools.
  • Economies of Scale: Cloud computing allows companies to share complex and expensive resources and pay substantially low fees. They also provide a pay-as-you-go pricing model that enables companies to pay for resources they need and buy more or less depending on demand.

Deploy Using containerization

While moving applications to the cloud looks like a simple solution, it has disadvantages. First, the application may not be compatible with the online infrastructure, eclipsing some features. Secondly, the application may need to be redesigned.

Containerization packages all your software and its dependencies as a unit to allow it to work the same way in different computing environments. The dependencies include configurations, libraries, and other files. With containers, we no longer hear the phrase "It works on my machine!"

Amazon Web services have become a leader in the provision of containerization services. Their two services Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Elastic Container Service (ECS), help businesses improve their legacy applications in simple steps. The difference between the two is that EKS uses Kubernetes and ECS uses Docker.

Furthermore, Amazon ECS provides simplicity by decreasing the number of decisions customers must make without sacrificing features and scale. On the other hand, EKS provides a vibrant ecosystem, open source APIs, and broad flexibility.

Some common container use cases:

  • Multicloud deployment: Containers are ideal for deploying apps across different platforms. Its portability allows quick movement within environments, from on-premise servers to the cloud.
  • Multi-Tenancy: Containers allow a single instance to serve many users who are called tenants. It is lightweight and faster, taking a few seconds to start.
  • Containers as a service: Containerisation allows computer resources to be delivered as a cloud provider service. The containers and the cloud become a creative platform where DevOps teams can automate some processes.
  • Containers and IoT: The easy deployability of packages in containers allows the ideal installation and updating of applications that run on IoT devices.

Benefits of deployment using containerization:

  • Portability: Containerization bundles an app with its dependencies, meaning it works the same way on any platform and doesn't need rebuilding to migrate.
  • Scalability: Containers allow developers to add features and functions without affecting the original code. This way, few compute time and resources are needed. Additionally, they can configure existing architecture to handle increased workloads.
  • Agility: Containerization allows DevOps to create containers quickly and deploy them in any environment. For example, they can quickly create a container that handles a task and shut it down until needed. In addition, technologies such as Kubernetes automate some of the processes.
  • Improved Security: Containers are isolated from each other and the host operating system. As such, when the security of a container or OS is compromised, the rest remain secure.
  • Speed: Containers are lightweight compared to other methods. They don't rely on the host OS to access computing resources, meaning they start quickly.
  • Ease of management: Container orchestration platforms allow businesses to automate containerized workloads and services' installation, management, and scaling.

Re-Architect as a Microservice

Microservice architecture or microservice is a type of app development architecture style. It enables companies to break down apps into multiple, smaller, and loosely coupled parts or services. Each service is a separate codebase that can be developed and deployed independently. As a result, each service can be updated without rewriting or redeploying the whole application.

Microservice lets each service act as a single service that accommodates an application feature and handles discrete tasks. The services then communicate with each other via APIs and help in the transition to modernization.

Amazon provides AWS API Gateway bridges services hosted on AWS and external apps. It authenticates, manages, and monitors API calls from external apps and passes them to the AWS services. Furthermore, Amazon provides AWS Lambda that executes any code uploaded to it. As a result, the computing platform eliminates the need for businesses to maintain servers and own CPUs and memory.

Some microservice use cases:

  • Website Migration: Companies can migrate websites deployed on a monolithic platform to a microservice platform.
  • Transactions and Invoices: Businesses can separate ordering and payment processing from invoicing so that one can go on if the other is not functioning.
  • Media Content: Media assets can be stored on a scalable platform and served directly to the web or mobile.

Benefits of using microservices to modernize applications

  • Agility: Microservices are deployed independently, meaning a bug in one doesn't affect the rest. As such, developers can make an update or rollback without affecting the rest of the functions.
  • Small Code Base: Microservice eliminates component inter-dependency, meaning they don't share code or data stores. As a result, businesses don't need to touch on the other features when adding new features.
  • Scalability: Businesses can scale individual services when required without scaling the whole app. They can also efficiently use resources by packing a higher density of services onto a single host.
  • Fault Isolation: The independence of each service means that when a problem occurs in one, the rest are not affected.
  • Mix of Technologies: Developers can choose different infrastructures that fit various services. The aim is to optimize functionality at low costs.

What are the Steps to Application Modernization?

Plan

The first step towards modernization is assessing the application. You'll need to have an understanding of what you have before transforming.

Start by defining your goals and formulating a strategy. Ensure you figure out which of the features is the highest priority and explore how it could benefit from better performance and scalability.

Also, look at your applications' architecture and analyze what the markets offer. It gives you a better look into how to best modernize the application.

If the process of identifying your high-priority applications is confusing, you could leverage the AWS Application Discovery Service, which provides metrics and data relating to existing applications. It will help you make an informed decision and conduct a successful modernization.

Implement

Once you have the data needed to make an informed decision, you must pick a modernization strategy or approach. Remember to use an iterative modernization strategy that allows you to reap the benefits of one approach before diving into another to benefit more.

An excellent example of an iterate approach is containerizing your application to upgrade some features before rehosting it on a cloud-based platform.

Operate

Modernization is not a one-time deal. Instead, technology keeps changing as new and better opportunities arise, meaning you need to be on the lookout for better developments that could help optimize your applications. For example, new services could help you secure and manage apps better.

Automation with DevOps

DevOps are consultants that give teams an in-depth analysis of what is needed to accelerate efficiently. They also help you build a plan that helps you learn new processes like agile methodologies to speed up processes and digital transformations.

Manually testing and deploying software can be time-consuming and inefficient. DevOps offers testing and deployment consulting that lets users concentrate on creating value-adding features. Some of the robust CI/CD tools DevOps engineers use include CircleCI, BitBucket Pipelines, and AWS Code pipeline.

Advantages of Using DevOps Consulting Services:

Reduced human error

Automating repetitive app development and release tasks reduces the chances of the team making an error and letting a bug reach production.

Improved Speed

Automating testing, delivery, and deployment allows teams to focus on tasks that add value to the application. It will enable them to move their scaling and upgrading speeds up.

Integration across all platforms

Modernizing and automating deployments allows applications and their features to work on different platforms seamlessly.

Continuous Testing

Test automation ensures that bugs are detected earlier and corrected before they impact the app's usage.

If you want to improve your applications and take advantage of modernization, Pilotcore is your perfect partner. We will work with your team to provide the right strategies to help you upgrade your old applications and migrate to the cloud. You'll also benefit from their stable, reliable, secure, fast, and transparent coded infrastructure under your control. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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