Friday 3 July 2020

Why it is essential for organizations to adopt an application modernization strategy

Given the scale of digital transformation, it has become imperative for enterprises to find a way to modernize their applications. Legacy applications are built on outdated architectures and typically are characterized by high maintenance costs, inflexibility, and redundant features. If the applications are not modernized, they lose their relevance to the business. Legacy apps also are seldom understood by the current generation of developers as they have been maintained for many decades with or without adequate documentation. The other big challenge is that of unsupported platforms or skills shortage. If the application has been created in an old language, then it becomes extremely challenging to find developers that can support these applications. Organizations that have legacy applications are hence, extremely vulnerable to a fast-changing business environment, and hence need to quickly have a strategy for modernizing their applications.

Options to modernize

There are several ways to modernize an application. Enterprises can choose to encapsulate a legacy application and make it available via an API to other modern apps. They can even choose to rehost the application to another infrastructure (such as the cloud) without making any change to the code. If organizations want to quickly take advantage of the cloud without making any modifications to their applications, then the rehosting option is the preferred option. If enterprises want to take advantage of the scalability of the cloud, then a re-architecting option is recommended. The other option is replacing or completely rewriting or rebuilding the application from scratch.

Why the cloud is the best option

The cloud is the best option from an infrastructure point of view, as it can help enterprises take advantage of several tools available in the cloud ecosystem to modernize an application. For example, a microservices strategy is one of the most common methods for refactoring and breaking down an application into small components called microservices. Another option is containerization, which plays a critical role in the modernization of an app. As containers provide a complete ecosystem for an application with all associated dependencies, they are ideal for running an application in an isolated environment. This makes them well suited to run on any cloud platform.

Cloud service providers such as AWS also provide the underlying database foundation (such as Amazon DynamoDB for quick lookups for user searches or Amazon ElastiCache for in-memory storing and rendering) for delivering cloud-ready applications. Serverless computing capabilities are also possible which allows enterprises to run application code without provisioning. Enterprises can also make use of proven migration tools from providers such as AWS to ensure a successful migration.

Modernizing an application without understanding the base infrastructure on which it is hosted, is not sufficient and can lead to performance issues. Hosting an application on the cloud can help enterprises ensure that their applications scale up to handle millions of users and manage the increasing volumes of data without any problem of infrastructure breakdowns.

By modernizing an application in the cloud, some of the top benefits include:
  • Ability to scale infrastructure up or scale down as per user requirements
  • Reduced cost and support issues for applications
  • Greater functionality at reduced costs
  • Ability to incorporate better security features
  • Ability to attract quality talent for supporting your application due to cloud
In summary, the question of modernizing an application today is not ‘why’, but ‘when’ as no company wants to miss out on taking advantage of the digital technologies that modern platforms like cloud provide them.

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