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The 4 Rs of Middleware Modernization

Many enterprises are well on their way to digital transformation – others are only just beginning. But cloud-first strategies demand a lot from middleware, and legacy middleware platforms weren’t built to address the needs of modern, hybrid IT environments.

This means that enterprises need to migrate those legacy platforms to ones that can run on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

Before you can migrate legacy middleware, enterprises need to determine how they’re going to modernize. There are multiple journeys to middleware modernization, and there is no “one size fits all” approach.

Enter the four Rs of middleware modernization.


Also known as “lift and shift,” rehosting means that developers are transferring servers or software from the current environment to a public cloud infrastructure. For those enterprises that are just starting a modernization journey, rehosting is the standard strategy.

This option doesn’t require modifications to code, features, or functions. Business logic is preserved and data is migrated to the cloud; the only requirements are the replacement of middleware, hardware, the operating system, and the database. It’s often used as a step to eliminating expensive legacy hardware.


Each application has its own design, which means that every application will work differently in a cloud environment. In order to optimize functionality in the cloud, existing middleware may need to be restructured and the code optimized to take better advantage of cloud-native functionalities. This helps remove technical debt and improves nonfunctional attributes.

IBM / Red Hat - Unlock Potential App Modernization
Unlock Your Potential with Application Modernization

Application modernization is a growing area of focus for enterprises. If you’re considering this path to cloud adoption, this guide explores considerations for the best approach – cloud native or legacy migration – and more.

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Refactoring is a time-consuming method to middleware modernization, but sometimes, there is no other way to address it.


Similar to rehosting and refactoring, replatforming moves applications that are already in the cloud to a different cloud environment without making any major changes to the application. Examples of replatforming include upgrading the application to work with a cloud-native managed database, changing the operating system(s) or middleware it will work with, or containerizing applications.

Replatforming enables enterprises to increase scalability and improve developer productivity.


When an application is no longer needed in a cloud environment, it might make the most sense to decommission it. Oftentimes, changes are required to better suit the new environment. Reasons for replacing an application include limited value, its capabilities are duplicated elsewhere in the environment, or it’s more cost-effective to replace it with a different application than to migrate it.

What is Middleware?

Middleware is software that provides common services and capabilities to applications outside of what’s offered by an operating system. Middleware makes it easier for developers to build applications. Data management, application services, messaging, authentication, and API management are all commonly handled by middleware.

For organizations with multi-cloud and containerized environments, middleware is a cost-effective option for developing and running applications at scale.

Modernizing Middleware with Red Hat

Red Hat Middleware is a leading set of digital transformation tools that helps enterprises improve the features, reliability, and security of middleware platforms. Its comprehensive frameworks, integration solutions, process automation, runtimes, and programming languages help create a unified environment for application modernization.

The Red Hat Application Services portfolio of middleware products provides your teams with the ability to develop, implement, and run business applications cost-effectively and at scale. All products in the portfolio can run on-site, in the cloud, or within a container platform like Red Hat OpenShift.

The Red Hat Middleware portfolio includes three product groups and tools:

  • Red Hat Runtimes
  • Red Hat Integration
  • Red Hat Process Automation

Why Perficient

Our middleware and application modernization expertise earned us the 2020 Red Hat Application Platform Success Partner of the Year Award. As a Red Hat Premier and Apex Partner, we help drive strategic initiatives around cloud-native development, DevOps, and enterprise integration to ensure successful application modernization and cloud implementations and migrations.

We offer targeted platform as a service (PaaS) solutions for the enterprise using Red Hat OpenShift, which are founded on our best practices, methodology, and reusable frameworks to accelerate, migrate, and automate processes.

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