Application modernization answers CIOs’ questions.
Imagine a legacy app that sits on an on-premises server, its code all wrapped into one big package. That arrangement may work for a small, local customer base; but as the company grows, that app will need to grow with it. The CIO charged with scaling the technology infrastructure must provide answers to the following questions if that company is to succeed:
- How does our application quickly get information to customers who aren’t located near our main server?
- How long will it take us when we need to do a major application update?
- How do we build new, scalable apps and services to entice our customers?
These types of questions are why, according to a VMware-commissioned Forrester Consulting report, 88% of executives tie application improvement to improving the customer experience. “Application modernization” may sound like another buzzword, but it is a process that enables customer interactions that fuel company growth.
“Improving Customer Experience And Revenue Starts With The App Portfolio,” Forrester Consulting commissioned by VMware – March 2020.
To further understand the benefits of application modernization, VMware gathered research and spoke to executives about their journeys with hybrid cloud, containerization, legacy app migration, and all the technology and architectures needed for those ventures.
“Elevate the Customer Experience and Adapt to Changing Requirements” is a guide for organizations unsure about how to begin their app modernization process. It discusses common pain points for CIOs, the technology needed for app modernization, and best practices for modernizing an app portfolio.
Modernization is a dual-focus feat
Trying to modernize an app without the appropriate infrastructure is like remodeling a house without a firm foundation in place. The report paints a similar picture, highlighting two major considerations for CIOs:
- How to modernize IT infrastructure
- How to support developers in their pursuit of next-generation applications
Thus, application modernization is really a tale of symbiosis.
To achieve business objectives, CIOs must support the needs of developers creating the next generation of cloud-native applications as much as they enhance the on-premises and hybrid cloud infrastructure on which the applications and workloads are run and managed.
With an appropriate infrastructure in place, CIOs can turn their attention to developer needs. Developing modern applications requires tools and technology. The process must also be born out of a mindset shift. CIOs should help their teams automate manual tasks, improve visibility, and urge teams to live concepts such as Agile development.
Containers, microservices and cloud
No discussion of app modernization would be complete without mention of Kubernetes or, more broadly, containers. Microservices should also be on the list of tools and architectures involved in turning a legacy app into a lean, mean containerized machine.
As you’ll recall, a major consideration CIOs have is that existing apps packaged as a single chunk of code are challenging to update. For this reason, microservices are the heartbeat of app modernization initiatives. In a microservices architecture, an application is split into smaller, more agile deployable units.
For example, instead of updating its entire mobile app, a retail company can just update the shopping cart microservice component of its overall application. Along with microservices and containers, here are the other technologies and methodologies CIOs are pondering today:
Data from 451 Research “Voice of the Enterprise: DevOps H2 2019”
A microservices architecture makes building with containers that much easier. Hybrid clouds are a way of life; however, expecting to run an application on different clouds for different devices without hiccups is a poor bet. Containers make it easier to deploy, scale, and patch applications on any cloud and improve organizations’ odds of modernizing and leveraging a hybrid architecture.
Best practices for modernization success
The number one rule of application modernization is to start with understanding the business impact. Too often, teams opt to modernize the oldest platforms or the legacy app that’s easiest to modernize. Instead, CIOs and their teams should evaluate their app portfolio and prioritize modernizing applications that provide the most value to their business.
Once priority is assigned, teams can take the following steps to set themselves up for app modernization success.
- Modernize data centers. Not all apps need to be in the cloud. Some might require cloud-like capabilities, which can still be achieved on-premises. Rather than expecting a fully-cloud infrastructure to solve their problems, companies can instead modernize their data centers by adding cloud-like capabilities to support modernization tools, such as containers.
- Evolve existing apps and develop new cloud-native apps. Spinning up new cloud-native apps may seem like the way out of legacy purgatory. But teams may be better served identifying an existing app to update rather than jumping head-long into new projects. Executives polled expect that nearly one-quarter (23%) of their applications will remain unchanged in data centers. Just 12% will be re-written to be totally cloud-native. Of course, if building a new app makes the most sense for solving the business need at hand, then it should be cloud-native from the ground up.
- Get SaaSy. Sometimes, a jumble of non-strategic legacy code needs replacing. Leveraging a SaaS model to replace outdated but non-critical components of a service offering can be a less expensive, lightweight fix for instances where a complete overhaul isn’t necessary.
Plan your next steps
Enterprises are changing daily, by the minute, in real-time. Many have a mountain of applications in production and more in the hopper. To learn more about how your organization can take advantage of app modernization tools and strategy, download VMware’s “Elevate the Customer Experience and Adapt to Changing Requirements” report to elevate your enterprise, today.