Table of Contents

Top 10 Practices to Effective Application Modernization in AWS Cloud

How Cloud4C's End-to-End Cloud Managed Services Help
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Remember, standing still is akin to moving backwards.

Businesses that fail to adapt and modernize their applications risk being left behind by more agile competitors. The writing is on the wall - a staggering 70% of digital transformation initiatives fall short due to the constraints imposed by legacy systems and monolithic application architectures. As customers demand seamless, personalized experiences, and markets shift, organizations realize that modernizing their applications is no longer an option.

Enter the AWS Cloud, helping businesses transform their application portfolios for the future. With its expansive suite of services, tools, and architectural solutions, AWS opens up a world of possibilities. From containerization and serverless computing to advanced analytics and machine learning, AWS provides the building blocks for organizations to improve their applications and deliver exceptional customer experiences. This transformation extends to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) as well, enabling them to evolve their traditional products into cloud-based, scalable solutions that better serve customer businesses through proper cloud hosting, core modernization, and improved licensing management.

However, starting on an application modernization journey is no small feat. It requires careful planning, execution, and a willingness to embrace change across all levels of the organization. Let us explore the top 10 practices for successful application modernizations on the AWS cloud.

Future-proofing Application Operations: 10 Strategies to Application Modernization on AWS Cloud

Migrating to AWS is just the beginning; true optimization and leveraging the best out of cloud requires modernization!

1. Assess and Plan

The first step in any successful AWS application modernization initiative is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the existing application architectures, infrastructure, and business requirements. At this stage, it is essential to involve key stakeholders from various departments, including business leaders, IT professionals, application owners and architects, and often internal users, to ensure that the modernization strategy aligns with the organization's overall goals and objectives. This involves:

  • Application Inventory: Cataloging all existing applications and their dependencies.
  • Assessment: Evaluating each application's current state, including architecture, performance, and technical debt. Some AWS native tools include - AWS Application Discovery Service, AWS Migration Hub, and AWS CloudEndure Migration.
  • Prioritization: Identifying which applications should be modernized first based on business value and complexity.

For instance, a financial services company might prioritize modernizing its customer-facing payment applications to enhance user experience and improve ROI.

2. Adopt a Microservices Architecture

Transitioning from a monolithic backend to microservices-based architecture is a cornerstone of application modernization. Microservices architecture involves breaking down applications into small, independent services that communicate via APIs. This approach offers several benefits:

  • Scalability: Each microservice can be scaled independently, improving resource utilization.
  • Resilience: Failure in one microservice does not impact the entire application.
  • Agility: Smaller codebases are easier to manage and deploy, facilitating continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD).

To adopt a microservices architecture on AWS, the following AWS tools can be utilized:

  1. AWS Lambda: Serverless computing for building and deploying microservices.
  2. Amazon API Gateway: API management for creating and managing APIs between microservices.
  3. Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS: Container orchestration for managing and scaling microservices.
  4. Amazon DynamoDB: NoSQL database for storing and managing data for microservices.
  5. AWS Step Functions: Workflow management for coordinating microservices and ensuring business logic.

3. Containerization

Containerization is another critical strategy for AWS modernization. Containers encapsulate an application and its dependencies, ensuring consistent performance across different environments. AWS offers robust container services such as Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS.

  • Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service): A highly scalable, high-performance container orchestration service that supports Docker containers.
  • Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service): A managed service that makes it easy to run Kubernetes services on AWS without needing to install and operate your own Kubernetes control plane.

For example, a legacy ecommerce application can be modernized by breaking it down into decoupled microservices, each responsible for a specific business capability, such as product catalog management, shopping cart, payment processing, and customer reviews. Here, the product catalog service can be containerized and deployed using Amazon ECS, allowing it to scale independently during peak shopping seasons. The shopping cart service can be managed using Amazon EKS to handle user sessions and cart data efficiently.

4. Leverage AWS Application Modernization Services

AWS provides a comprehensive suite of application modernization services to support organizations throughout their modernization journey. These services are designed to streamline the process, reduce risks, and accelerate time-to-market.

  • AWS Application Migration Service (AWS MGN): AWS MGN simplifies the process of migrating applications to the AWS Cloud by automating and orchestrating the migration process. It supports a wide range of source environments, including on-premises data centers, other cloud providers, and AWS regions, making it an ideal solution for organizations with complex and heterogeneous application portfolios.
  • AWS Modernization Hub: AWS Modernization Hub is a centralized hub that provides a comprehensive view of an organization's modernization progress. It offers pre-built workflows, tools, and best practices to streamline the modernization process, enabling teams to plan, track, and govern their modernization initiatives effectively.
  • AWS Fault Injection Simulator: The AWS Fault Injection Simulator (AWS FIS), a fully managed service, enables organizations to improve the resilience and reliability of their applications by injecting faults and testing their applications' responses in a controlled environment. This service is particularly valuable for organizations modernizing their applications to leverage cloud-native architectures and ensure they can withstand failures and recover quickly.

5. Leverage Managed Databases

Modernizing database is as important as modernizing application code. AWS offers a range of managed database services that provide scalability, performance, and operational ease.

  • Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service): Makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.
  • Amazon DynamoDB: A key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale.
  • Amazon Aurora: A MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud, combining the performance and availability of high-end commercial databases with the ease and cost-effectiveness of open-source databases.

A logistics company like DHL or FedEx can migrate its databases of fleet control, monitoring, and tracking applications to Amazon Aurora. This migration would enable real-time tracking and management of shipments, optimize route planning, and improve inventory management. Similarly, a company like UPS can migrate its databases of package tracking and delivery management applications to Amazon Aurora for scalability without disruptions.

6. Monitor Key Metrics

Effective metrics monitoring ensures achieving pre-defined results. Critical metrics to monitor include:

  • MTTR (Mean Time to Recovery): The time it takes systems to recover after an incident.
  • MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures): The average time elapsed before a component fails again.
  • CAPA (Capacity, Availability, Performance, and Affordability): Measuring how well the company meets capacity needs, availability goals, performance targets within budget, and affordability objectives.
  • User Satisfaction Ratings (USRs): Measuring user satisfaction with applications or services, allowing identification of areas needing improvement.

To monitor these metrics, AWS offers tools like AWS CloudWatch, AWS X-Ray, AWS CloudTrail and AWS CloudFormation. Monitoring these metrics helps organizations understand modernization gaps and adjust strategies accordingly.

7. Implement DevOps and Automation

Modernizing applications in the AWS Cloud presents an opportunity to adopt DevOps on AWS technologies and automation to speed up software delivery, improve quality, and reduce operational overheads. AWS provides a range of services and tools that support DevOps and automation, including AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, and AWS CodePipeline.

AWS DevOps: A Map of Tools, Services, and How they Transform Businesses

Read More

By implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, organizations can automate the build, test, and deployment processes, ensuring that changes to applications are delivered quickly and reliably. Additionally, AWS CloudFormation and AWS CDK (Cloud Development Kit) enable organizations to define and provision their cloud infrastructure as code, ensuring consistent and repeatable deployments across different environments.

8. Embrace Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when modernizing applications in the cloud. AWS security solutions like AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Key Management Service (KMS), and AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) enable organizations to implement robust access controls, data encryption, and application-level protection. Additionally, AWS offers a range of compliance solutions, such as AWS Artifact and AWS Config, to help organizations meet industry-specific and regulatory compliance requirements.

Rainbow Hospitals, a premier multi-specialty pediatric and OB/GYN chain implements AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to strengthen its security posture.

Know More

9. Optimize for Cost and Performance

AWS offers a wide range of services and pricing models that enable organizations to right-size their resources and pay only for what they use.

Services like AWS Auto Scaling and AWS Elastic Load Balancing enable organizations to automatically scale applications based on demand, ensuring optimal performance while also minimizing costs. Not just that, cost optimization tools like AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Trusted Advisor provide visibility into cloud spending and recommendations for optimizing costs.

Organizations can further leverage the FinOps framework on AWS to establish a collaborative, cross-functional team that drives cloud financial management and cost optimization. This approach empowers engineering, finance, and business stakeholders to make data-driven decisions that balance cost, usage, and performance, ultimately maximizing the value of the AWS Cloud.

10. Leverage AWS Partner Network (APN) and Managed Services

While AWS provides a comprehensive set of services and tools for application modernization, many organizations choose to leverage the expertise and support of AWS Partners and Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to advance their modernization efforts and ensure successful outcomes.

APN Partners offer a wide range of services, from consulting and professional services to managed services and technology solutions, tailored to specific industries and use cases. By partnering with APN Partners, organizations can access specialized expertise, best practices, and proven methodologies for modernizing their applications in the AWS Cloud.

AWS Managed Services Providers (MSPs) on the other hand, offer comprehensive cloud management and operations services, enabling organizations to focus on their core business while leveraging the expertise of AWS-certified professionals. MSPs can help organizations optimize their cloud environments, implement best practices, and ensure ongoing compliance, security, and operational excellence. This is where an AWS cloud managed service provider like Cloud4C steps in.

Enterprise Applications: Built, Modernized, and Run on AWS. Managed end-to-end by Cloud4C

Modernizing applications with AWS means breaking free from the limitations of traditional monolithic architectures. It is an absolute strategic imperative.

At Cloud4C, we understand the complexities and challenges associated with application modernization on the AWS Cloud. With our extensive experience in AWS cloud adoption, migration, and management, we provide a tailored approach to modernize your applications, leveraging the latest cloud-native services and tools. Our expertise spans across 6R's of Application Modernization Framework, including:

  • Repurchase: Drop and shop, repurchasing licenses for cloud-based software.
  • Rehost: Lift and shift applications to the cloud, minimal changes.
  • Replatform: Lift, change, shift, optimizing for cloud performance.
  • Refactor/Rearchitect: Overhaul codebase, breaking monoliths into microservices.
  • Retire: Identify and eliminate redundant applications to reduce costs.
  • Retain: Keep legacy applications running, often for critical projects.

We also provide end-to-end services, from assessment and planning to migration and management, ensuring a seamless transition to the cloud. Our AWS managed services ensure the security and compliance of applications, while our AIOPs-based approach monitors and manages applications for high availability and performance. Cloud4C's container management, database and infrastructure modernization, DevOps, application security, and application performance management (APM) solutions further ensure a comprehensive experience on cloud.

Contact us to learn more about how we can support your application modernization initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Why modernize applications in AWS?


    Modernizing applications in AWS helps leverage cloud-native architectures, adopt DevOps practices, optimize costs through scalable and serverless models, enhance security and compliance, and achieve unprecedented agility and innovation. Businesses can future-proof their operations, reduce technical debt, and deliver superior customer experiences to stay ahead of the competition.

  • What is the difference between modernization and migration?


    Migration involves moving applications to the cloud, while modernization transforms them to leverage cloud-native architectures, DevOps practices, and advanced AWS services for optimal performance and innovation.

  • What is the cloud modernization strategy?


    A cloud modernization strategy involves assessing applications, prioritizing modernization initiatives, adopting cloud-native architectures, leveraging AWS modernization services, and continuously optimizing for cost and performance.

  • What is AWS security?


    AWS security is a comprehensive suite of tools, services, and best practices designed to protect data, applications, and infrastructure hosted on Amazon Web Services. It includes features like encryption, identity and access management (IAM), network security, and continuous monitoring. AWS security also ensures compliance, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of resources in the cloud environment.

  • How is AWS used in automation?


    AWS utilizes tools and services like AWS Lambda for serverless computing, AWS CloudFormation for infrastructure as code, and AWS Step Functions for workflow orchestration, helping automate tasks and achieve operational efficiency in the AWS cloud environment.

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Team Cloud4C
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Team Cloud4C

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