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Application Modernization Pillar #3: Cloud Modernization

In this blog post, we’ll explore cloud modernization and its role in application modernization. Read about the first and second pillars of application modernization.

Cloud adoption can have an impact on many types of modernization, including infrastructure and application. It shouldn’t be done in a vacuum (i.e. only modernizing your business processes but not your infrastructure or platforms), and to do that, you’ll need a coordinated modernization strategy.

In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the various aspects of the cloud modernization process, and then put it all together in a rough outline for you to follow.


#1: Crawl, Walk, Run

Keep in mind: modernization is an ongoing process – and the cloud is built with future needs in mind.

Once you align your modernization strategy with your business and cloud needs, you can start working on your cloud modernization roadmap. First, you need to identify modernization patterns and potential challenges across all aspects of your business.

Think about what business rules you’ll need to integrate into your existing systems and applications, containerizing workflows, and API-enabled capabilities.

Legacy systems are typically built on large, highly integrated applications with customized components, and making changes to these applications can be time-consuming and expensive. In order to effectively modernize, you should break up legacy applications and their underlying infrastructure.

By breaking applications down into cloud-based capabilities, it’s simpler and there’s less risk. Changes can be isolated and deployment decisions can be made in response to application needs and market demands.


#2: Common Approaches to Cloud Modernization

In order to effectively scale (and ultimately save money), you need to choose the cloud environment that’s best for your existing processes and applications. You might choose on-premises or off-premises; public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud; or a combination of these.

The five most common approaches to cloud modernization, in order from least mature to most mature, are:

  1. “Lift and shift” or replatforming moves your applications to the cloud without code modifications. This isn’t a solution for all applications, so keep that in mind as you’re considering different approaches.
  2. Platform as a service (PaaS) allows you to run your applications on a cloud provider’s infrastructure. This means you can reuse languages, frameworks, and containers and use your company’s code. But you might be missing out on capabilities, introducing risk, and tying your organization down to a particular framework.
  3. Modifying existing code, then moving to the cloud allows you to leverage the characteristics of your cloud provider’s infrastructure, but you’ll have upfront development costs.
  4. When business needs change quickly, software as a service (SaaS) doesn’t require the time and investment of mobilizing an entire development team. However, you might have inconsistent data semantics, difficulty accessing data, or experience vendor lock-in.
  5. By re-architecting cloud-compatible legacy applications, you can fully realize all the benefits of the cloud. The downside to this approach is that it usually involves lots of recoding, but it holds the most long-term value.


#3: Virtual Machine, Containers, or Serverless?

Once you’ve determined your overall approach to cloud modernization, you’ll need to decide if you should be using virtual machines, containers, or serverless.

  • Everything inside the virtual machine is configured individually for the applications you run in them. The host operating system is just the foundation for virtual machines to run – you can run an entire operating stack in a virtual machine.
  • Containers help alleviate issues and enable developers to iterate faster across multiple environments. Bottom line: developers can focus on applications and operations teams can focus on the infrastructure.
  • Serverless frees developers up from routine, time-consuming tasks associated with scaling and server provisioning.


Creating a Path to Cloud Modernization

Now that we’ve talked about the different aspects of cloud modernization, let’s put it all together and look at the five key steps you’ll take during your journey:

  1. Align. Get all the necessary stakeholders on board. Once you have buy-in, document and socialize your cloud modernization roadmap across the business.
  2. Design. Define the architecture and technology you plan to leverage. Examine key cloud platforms and evaluate if you’ll be using virtual machines, containers, or serverless.
  3. Connect. Integration allows you to connect and share data across teams.
  4. Implement. Make changes one by one, and prioritize your timeline by business case, sticking to the reference architecture you built.
  5. Enable. Cloud modernization is a cyclical process, and when you near the end of implementation, it’s probably time for another modernization project. As you continue along your modernization journey, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, and continue to iterate on your initial plan.


Perficient’s Application Modernization Expertise

The world’s leading brands partner with Perficient because we have the resources to scale major cloud projects and focused expertise for specific areas of your business. We partner with leading technology companies to help Fortune 1000 clients across all industries, and we’ve been recognized by analysts as a top service provider for application modernization and migration.

Contact us today to get started on your application modernization journey.


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Caitlin Koenig

Caitlin is the Marketing Manager for Perficient's Emerging Solutions portfolio and Salesforce. She lives in St. Louis and is a proud St. Louis Blues fan.

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