A Pragmatic Strategy For Legacy Application Modernization

A Pragmatic Strategy For Legacy Application Modernization

By Flux7 Labs
April 23, 2020

IT leaders are all too familiar with the 80/20 rule where 80% of efforts are spent on day-to-day operations and innovation receives the remaining 20%. Within this 80/20 balance, enterprises dedicate 80% of IT budgets on legacy system management and maintenance, according to an AltexSoft white paperYet, as the business pressures IT leaders to drive product and service innovation, it’s natural to turn to legacy application modernization.

Flux7 named in Forrester Now Tech: Application Modernization and Migration Services, Q1 2019 Report

Preserve Business Value While Growing Agility

According to Gartner, a legacy application can be any “information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.” The phrase, critical to business operations is noteworthy as it’s important to have a practical approach to legacy apps that sustains the value they bring while modernizing them. This approach will result in greater agility that will make room for innovation.

Assess the Situation

Legacy applications are like older homes. Before starting any renovation project, it’s advisable to assess the situation. Are there issues with the foundation, plumbing or the wiring? IT leaders should take a similar approach to their legacy application renovation, determining if there are issues with the code, architecture, or something else altogether.

Is It The App Or The Data?

Nearly 90% of UK enterprises sustain legacy applications for their data, per Help Net Security. If your enterprise is in this boat, there are options. First, think about acquiring a prebuilt SaaS application or content repository and migrate the data to the new platform. Although this option may require data customization, the ROI should come in the form of IT resources freed up for strategic innovation.

Will It Run In The Cloud? 

Does the application provide day-to-day business value? If so, the next question to ask is if it can run in the cloud. If it can, rehosting the application may be your best choice as it allows you to move the app to the cloud without code modification.

You may also think about reinstalling the app in the cloud. Such a move would allow the software to be with some cleanup to remove unnecessary software and configurations that may have accumulated over the years. Additionally, new best practices can be added.

If the answer is no, we recommend you seek a SaaS alternative, taking the steps to retire the app once one is found. If a SaaS alternative does not exist, think about rearchitecting enough of the application so that it can be moved to the cloud. 

Add Containers 

Containers can help you optimize operations while realizing even greater digital innovation – all while decreasing overhead. Although this approach requires more resources at the outset, the path allows enterprises to modernize components (e.g. databases) which will provide even greater cloud benefits. Another benefit of containers is that they provide portability, which allows you to move the app to the cloud regardless of its dependencies.

The process of containerizing legacy applications requires staff who can revise application code to take advantage of cloud platform services like autoscaling. Doing so creates repeatability and stability as it the app is enabled to take advantage of some cloud functionality like immutable infrastructure and continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Maximize Benefits with Cloud-Native Architecture

A serverless approach offers the greatest potential upside as it reduces application management to the greatest degree and takes advantage of cloud-native services like Lambda and DynamoDB. The process of abstracting the application from its functions means those functions can run anywhere. In the process, this gives enterprises the opportunity to use advanced services that can create paradigm changes, like moving a legacy monolith to microservices.  Although cloud-native may be a reach for many legacy applications, for those that can be rearchitected, it is an optimal way to maximize cost efficiencies and achieve the best cloud ROI.

Legacy application modernization can be resource-intensive; yet, it offers terrific potential upside, decreasing the significant time and resources spent managing them. Instead, these resources can be invested to provide digital innovation and operational excellence that gives staff more time to spend on strategic business initiatives.

A version of this article originally appeared on Forbes.

Technology is always changing. Stay in the loop with the Flux7 Blog

Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7, an NTT DATA Company, is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.