As the name gives it out, application modernization is the process of modernizing outdated/legacy systems. Legacy systems pose several challenges: increased security risks, inefficiency, incompatibility with new technologies, and lack of scalability are some of them. Hence, they are always one of the biggest concerns for CIOs and CTOs of a company. A CIO survey report states legacy systems to be the top concern of CIOs.
Application modernization can act as the trampoline to help businesses overcome legacy systems’ obstacles. Hence, it is evident that the market is growing at an exponential rate. The global application modernization market valued at USD 11.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to USD 24.8 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 16.8%. By overcoming the legacy systems’ challenges, it can help you promote your business growth exponentially. But before getting into promoting business growth, it is essential to know what is driving application modernization’s growth.
Driving factors behind the application modernization
The most significant driving factor is the adoption of cloud services. One of the standard advantages of the cloud is scalability and its native microservices architecture. Most of the legacy systems are based on monolith architecture, making them less flexible, thereby leading to a lack of scalability. Due to the monolith architecture, businesses are not able to adopt the latest trends and innovations. Hence, it has become essential to modernize legacy applications and shift them to a microservice architecture to leverage cloud services’ full potential.
Some other significant factors driving application modernization are:
- Minimizing costs
- Streamlining multiple systems
- Leveraging latest innovations
- Ease of maintenance
- Enhanced security
- Faster application development and deployment
- Increased accessibility, performance, and reliability
- Changing customer needs (need for scalability and flexibility)
- Regulating compliance requirements
- Competitive pressure
Application Modernization Strategy – Key Factors to consider
You would have decided to modernize your legacy applications, and most probably on the cloud, due to the numerous benefits. But this does not mean merely jump on the bandwagon and update your applications within a few days. You need to build a strategy that can ensure the success of application modernization. Here are some of the most critical factors to consider while making your strategy.
Review your current architecture
Deploying your application on the cloud with microservice architecture will allow you to scale it quickly. But that does not mean to ignore your current architecture and go ahead with planning the infrastructure for the new modern application. It is vital to understand your existing architecture.
Reviewing how your current legacy system is bringing value to the business and what are the most important features it provides is essential. It will help build the perfect roadmap for application modernization. It will also allow you to plan how to effectively manage costs, scalability, and performance of the modern application.
Evaluate all migration options
After building the roadmap, pick the appropriate migration method that will best suit it. Selecting the right option depends on how you want to migrate, all at once, in pieces, or in other ways. Stephen Orban, General Manager of an AWS service, defines 6 Rs of migration that may help you choose the right strategy. The 6 Rs include:
- Rehosting: Lifting the legacy systems as-is and shifting them to the cloud. This is usually preferred when legacy systems are massive but need quick migration for scaling. The downside is you cannot utilize all the features of the cloud-native architecture.
- Replatforming: It is almost similar to rehosting, except that instead of moving the entire application as-is, you make some changes to the application to utilize cloud-native architecture.
- Repurchasing: Making your current legacy system and replacing it on the cloud. Some of the examples include moving a CMS to Drupal or a CRM to Salesforce.
- Refactoring (aka re-architecting): As the name suggests, you reimagine the entire application architecture to leverage cloud-native features, including scaling, accessibility, agility, and performance.
- Retire: This strategy means getting rid of your legacy system’s obsolete services or features and then modernizing it.
- Retain: It means retaining some part of the legacy system running on-premise optimally and migrating the rest of the application to the cloud.
You can pick the migrating strategy that best complements your application modernization roadmap.
Ensure security and compliance
No matter what industry your business operates in, ensuring application security will always be one of the most critical factors influencing your planning and decisions. Cyberattacks are increasing with each coming day. According to an IBM report, the average cost of a cyberattack is a whopping USD 3.86 million. Hence, it is essential to make your modern application compliant with all security laws and guidelines.
Analyze cost benefits
Right before you begin implementing application modernization, it is crucial to analyze cost benefits and ROI. You can use relevant business metrics and benchmarks against specific applications and processes.
What’s next in your Application Modernization journey
Sketch out a roadmap & application modernization strategy to modernize your infra/apps. A robust strategy will not only reduce the maintenance costs but also improve the uptime of your apps, also making them more resilient, and secure.