As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, legacy software can hinder companies from keeping up with competition. This is where application modernization comes into play. Application modernization, also known as software modernization or legacy application modernization, involves upgrading or replacing older software with new technologies and architectural patterns.
See how we explore here at Luby the reasons to modernize legacy applications, when an application becomes legacy, and modernization strategies.
The two main drivers for modernizing legacy applications are eliminating risks and costs associated with supporting old technologies and taking advantage of the new ones.
Old technologies can pose significant risks for companies. For instance, some enterprises still rely on COBOL applications that were built decades ago. While these applications may still work fast and be remarkably stable, changing or troubleshooting something on them can be a challenge. It may be difficult to find a COBOL developer who understands the code, and even if you do, it could take weeks or months to make the change.
In addition, unsupported third-party software can leave companies vulnerable to critical vulnerabilities and force them to replace it.
On the other hand, new technologies such as web and mobile interfaces, containerization, microservices architecture, and DevOps tools are emerging at an incredible pace. These technologies can significantly improve scalability, resilience, and productivity.
For example, containerization abstracts applications from the hardware they run on, making them easier to deploy anywhere and behave exactly the same. Microservices architecture breaks down the complexity of huge monolithic applications, facilitating easier support and faster modifications. DevOps tools enable shipping new versions of applications in minimal time, eliminating human factor. Public clouds provide ready-to-use services, endless scalability, and high levels of failover with minimal maintenance efforts.
Finally, modern development languages are much more expressive and less error-prone, boosting developer productivity and helping to build advanced software faster.
“Obsolete” is a relative term that can only be considered in a certain context. In the enterprise world, 10-20 years is a normal life span of an application. During this period, it is actively supported internally or by a vendor and can evolve according to the business needs. However, some applications may require complete system modernization every few years to stay competitive. An application can be considered obsolete if it cannot be supported, upgraded to meet new system or business requirements, or can only work with obsolete software or hardware.
Before embarking on the modernization voyage, companies need to decide whether they want to modernize their IT landscape or actually change their business processes to embrace new digital opportunities. Digital transformation can be a more demanding, long, and expensive endeavor than modernization.
An optimal application modernization strategy depends on the result a company wants to achieve, the resources it has, whether it controls the application source code, and how critical the application downtime is. Below we will start from the easiest and cheapest to the hardest and most expensive modernization option.
This is the easiest and basic option. It is the right choice when business benefits do not justify the modernization costs or risks or when modernization is not possible until other applications are modernized.
This option involves moving the application to a new infrastructure, usually by means of containerization and hosting on a local Kubernetes instance or a public cloud. This is a relatively simple and cheap option that can reduce maintenance costs, improve hardware utilization, scalability, monitoring, and cut down recovery time.
Re-platforming is an advanced variant of re-hosting. Minor changes to the application source code can help utilize cloud resources like database, authentication, or full-text search services.
This option involves exposing API and modernizing the application front-end. With relatively small changes, it is usually possible to expose application API via REST services, enabling other applications to communicate with the legacy one. Also, a modern web or mobile interface can be built around this API, eliminating one of the most common pain points of legacy applications. This can be combined with re-hosting or re-platforming.
Refactoring or re-architecting may be necessary when applications become too complex or cannot handle the scale they are facing. This option involves optimizing the most heavily-loaded business logic, implementing caching, cluster support, moving some data to a NoSQL database, and splitting monolithic applications into microservices. The functionality of the application remains the same during the process.
The ultimate option is a complete rewrite or “rip and replace.” This may be the best or only option in scenarios where the functionality of the application does not suit business needs and cannot be amended with light touches, there is a newer and better product available on the market, or the company does not control or does not have resources or skills to modify the source code of the application. Unless a ready solution with good migration tools is available, “rip and replace” is almost never easy.
When embarking on the modernization journey, companies need to assess their existing applications to identify legacy ones and possible modernization options. They can then estimate the effect versus costs and risks for each option, effectively determining the ROI. It is essential to stay reasonable with modernization requirements, prioritizing candidates based on their ROI and dependencies.
Luby Software is a leading software development company that offers modernization solutions to help businesses stay competitive in the digital world. We understand the challenges that businesses face when dealing with legacy systems and provide tailor-made modernization strategies to address them.
Our team of experts can evaluate your existing applications, identify legacy ones, and provide the best modernization options based on your goals, resources, and constraints. We can help you choose the right modernization solution, from re-hosting and re-platforming to complete rewrite, ensuring that the selected option meets your business needs and delivers a high ROI.
At Luby Software, we use the latest technologies and best practices to ensure that your applications are modernized efficiently, cost-effectively, and with minimal disruption to your business. We provide end-to-end modernization services, including assessment, planning, implementation, and testing, as well as ongoing maintenance and support.
By partnering with Luby Software, you can unlock the benefits of modernization, such as reduced costs, improved efficiency, enhanced scalability, and better customer experiences. You can also future-proof your business, ensuring that your applications are ready to adapt to changing market trends and customer needs.
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