The methods and motivations behind application modernization efforts

July 21, 2020
Chad Stansel
Director, Application Services

Most business leaders understand the importance of bringing their applications and infrastructure up to date, but many are grappling with the question of how best to go about their modernization efforts. The secret may lie in the growing abundance of cloud-based applications and networking solutions.

The cloud isn’t merely an improvement upon existing database technology—it’s an entirely distinct networking environment that demands a new approach from the organizations that hope to capitalize on it. As the use of cloud computing becomes more common, modernization will similarly become a crucial component of readying your enterprise to tap into the cloud.

Initially, some elements of the industry assumed that cloud computing would be limited to smoothing out workload traffic that would otherwise bog down legacy IT infrastructure and speed up program deployment speeds. However, the common understanding of the cloud’s capabilities has evolved, and savvy enterprise leaders should be aware of the cloud’s utility when it comes to a wide variety of applications, including e-commerce, networked devices, and more.

The cloud itself is a constantly evolving phenomenon, now encompassing “multi-cloud architectures” that function differently from traditional data centers. For this reason, applications designed to be used on legacy networking hardware must also be adapted to coexist with “the new cloud.”

Revolutionary developments are also occurring in the virtual layers that bridge hardware and software, creating “microservices” that are opening up a new frontier of application management, integration, and portability. This signals a very real change to the nature of IT itself across multiple industries, from research and manufacturing to commercial enterprises.

On top of being deployed in new ways, applications are now playing very different roles in daily life as the cloud continues to play a bigger part in the modern world. With information constantly streaming through cyberspace, legacy networking infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the intensifying demands of application support. The lesson is that while applications grow in complexity, so must the systems that allow them to function.

These myriad factors are adding up to a global data environment that is more connected and efficient than ever before. Developers are now able to launch into production easily and with little delay thanks to new containerized microservices that help them transition smoothly between computing environments. However, these advances are only possible when an enterprise embraces cloud-native development systems and infrastructure, and care must be taken to migrate to these systems without compromising regular business operations.

A significant portion of the business community has come to the same conclusion.

In a recent IDG survey of IT professionals, 60% of respondents said they have already started to repurpose their applications into a cloud-native design, with the remaining 40% saying they are in the process of developing a modernization strategy.

However, many respondents also reported difficulty in their modernization efforts, specifically in regard to protecting their data and managing security risks.

There are multiple avenues for an organization to approach modernization. DevOps, an organizational transformation practice that involves close coordination of teams and the adoption of automation wherever possible, is the most common method according to the survey: 78% of respondents indicated that they are either already adopting it (38%) or are currently testing it with some applications (40%). Another 10% are in the planning stages of DevOps utilization.

In a close second place is container technology, with 72% of respondents claiming to have either adopted it (38%) or started testing it (34%), with 16% planning to adopt it. Continuous delivery is less popular, with 68% of respondents indicating that they’ve adopted (36%) or have started to test (32%) the method, and only 28% reporting that they are actively planning to utilize it.

Of interesting note is that 22% of respondents reported having already adopted all three approaches, suggesting that the IT industry is realizing that infrastructure modernization is crucial to survival in the era of cloud computing, AI, and predictive analytics.

The struggle to modernize and keep up with the ever-changing world of cloud computing has more than its share of difficulties. Companies surveyed by IDG indicated that putting into action the many crucial improvements necessary to keep pace presents a significant challenge. Nearly half (48%) of respondents reported that implementing DevOps practices would burden and strain their IT resources, with another 46% voicing similar concerns about refactoring and/or rebuilding their applications for the cloud.

With these challenges in mind, it’s vital for the modern enterprise to be aware of its options when it comes to technology partners who can empower application modernization efforts. The CBTS Application Services team has a proven track record of working closely with clients in a wide variety of verticals to modernize their applications for cloud environments.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can enable your application modernization strategies.

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