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Cloud Modernization: Strategies for Modernizing Applications in the Cloud


March 31, 2023

In the past decade, migrating to the cloud has been a significant turning point for businesses across the globe. The cloud has provided several benefits, including enhanced data access, flexibility, and streamlined deliveries, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, modernizing or adopting the cloud is an ongoing process that involves selecting a suitable provider and planning a migration strategy to ensure the system’s smooth operation. As a result, it is imperative to invest in cloud modernization to maintain operational efficiency and manage costs while maximizing the value of your cloud investments.

What is Cloud Modernization?

Cloud modernization is the process of transforming critical legacy applications by updating their features, modernizing their architecture or infrastructure, and ensuring they are optimized for operating in cloud environments. A cloud environment alleviates the need for a company to purchase, maintain, and replace hardware. However, cloud costs can quickly escalate and get out of control in the absence of constant monitoring and optimization.

Why is Cloud Modernization Important?

Cloud modernization helps businesses eliminate resources wasted on inefficient, obsolete, and unoptimized processes. One of the major drawbacks of legacy applications is the difficulty in integrating them with new technologies. Moreover, if your applications cannot improve your user experience, your business loses the opportunity and fails to create a competitive advantage. Without modernization, applications can become cumbersome and difficult to use. This also extends the software delivery lifecycle and complicates work further. However, if the application is modernized, it becomes more adaptable to new features and functions, which speeds up the software delivery process. Cloud modernization makes it seamless for businesses to scale, add new users, and quickly boost capabilities. An application re-platformed to the cloud without modernization will require additional attention and resources. On the other hand, a modernized application compatible with cloud environments may scale with ease.

Three Cloud Modernization Strategies

A successful cloud modernization strategy prioritizes business needs before focusing on technology. As the cloud gains traction, organizations are exploring multiple ways to accelerate cloud adoption.

1. Lift and Shift Migration

Lift-and-shift migrations require lifting an application or landscape from its current hosting environment and shifting it to another. An exact copy of the top three layers: application, database, and Operating System (OS) layer, is performed in such migrations. This is also known as rehosting, and it entails shifting your stack to a new host with minimal changes. This allows for faster, more cost-effective migration, higher ROIs, and minimal disruption. Migration from on-premises to the cloud increases agility and simplifies future avenues. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses with a conservative culture and those unsure about long-term cloud modernization. Yet, failure to modify your system hinders businesses from reaping key cloud migration benefits in the short run.

2. Technical Migration

Technical migration, as a cloud modernization strategy, encompasses upgrading the Operating System (OS) and Database (DB) to meet specific transformational goals. This strategy is frequently carried out in stages to leverage cloud-native features. Migrating from on-premises SAP ECC to Suite on HANA on the public cloud, for example, enables enterprises to benefit from HANA’s real-time visibility and significantly enhances performance, in addition to providing the benefits of the public cloud. Furthermore, technical migration will assist organizations in minimizing disruption and gaining cloud experience.

3. Application Migration

Application migration involves the transformation of the application layer, the OS, and the database. While this can be challenging, businesses must guarantee that the new system and business process flow reproduce all features. Also, historical data must be audited. You will also need to retrain the team on a new suite of applications that may function quite differently than the previous application stack.

Cloud Modernization Benefits

Reduce Cloud Expenses: A mismatch between the cloud service and the lift and shift of applications or databases can increase expenditure. Furthermore, the legacy application comes with its own set of talent availability issues. As a result, fixing and maintaining these critical dependent services can be expensive. These difficulties are eliminated with the help of cloud modernization.

Reliable Systems: Modernized databases and applications have in-built cloud capabilities, allowing them to leverage the high-availability infrastructure, which increases their reliability. Although a lift-and-shift cloud migration may be beneficial, it is not as effective as cloud-first or cloud-native software. This change significantly impacts your organization, allowing you to remain competitive.

Improved Scalability: Since the legacy application was not designed for cloud scale, it may encounter numerous issues following migration. When your organization’s IT or application ecosystem expands, you will also need a solution to keep up. Modernized cloud solutions give you more space without increasing your resource requirements.

Moving to Purpose-built Databases: Cloud platforms provide a great deal of flexibility when it comes to choosing different databases for your systems. Furthermore, you can always experiment with ones that excel in cloud environments. By migrating to databases best suited to your cloud use cases, you can pave the path for exceptional performance gains.

Choosing the Right Cloud Platform

When customers choose a cloud provider, they may feel limited by the similarity of services offered by each provider. However, it is crucial to ensure that the chosen provider has the necessary technical skills and platform alignment, including security, performance, reliability, experience, and reputation. Other considerations include budget, project scale and size, and compatibility with the technology stack.

Some cloud providers go beyond the usual offerings and provide innovative use cases enabled by Machine Learning (ML), AI, and infrastructure for mobile apps. These providers are at the forefront of technology and can help expand your vision of what is possible. Let us examine some of the major cloud providers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first to enter the cloud services market. According to experts, AWS is the gold standard of cloud service excellence in terms of the number of products and customers. It offers a range of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings that are classified into the following categories: computing, database and storage, and networking. AWS enables a smooth and flexible data collection flow using serverless services such as Amazon SQS Queues, Amazon Kinesis Streams, and AWS Lambda Functions. It also allows organizations to choose their web application platform, programming languages, operating system, and database, among other elements, as required. Organizations can utilize AWS management tools like AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch to monitor resource usage conveniently. At the same time, AWS Config can be employed for managing resource inventory and the modifications made to them. Amazon’s data centers are the largest among the three major cloud providers and operate in 99 availability zones.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a platform for developing, deploying, and managing various services and applications using Microsoft-managed data centers. Azure’s offerings include computing, networking, data management databases, and performance services. Azure Site Recovery enables enterprises to perform site-to-site replication and data recovery to VMs hosted on Azure. Furthermore, Azure ExpressRoute facilitates data connectivity to Azure through a private link and eliminates internet dependency. As a result, there is more security, greater reliability, and lower latency. Azure also offers extensive networking capabilities, including support for multiple site-to-site connections to virtual networks and connecting them across different regions. Azure also provides the lowest on-demand and discounted instance pricing. Additionally, specialist developers may write, test, and deploy algorithms using Azure Machine Learning Studio.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud is an appealing alternative to AWS and Azure because of its user-friendly interface, reduced rates, and flexible computing options. It uses full-scale encryption of all data and communication channels, including the traffic between data centers. Google Cloud competes with AWS in areas such as instant payment configurability, privacy, traffic security, Machine Learning capabilities, and cost-efficiency.

How Can Hexaware’s Cloud Modernization Services Help Accelerate your Cloud journey?

Hexaware’s proprietary application cloud modernization platform, Amaze®, is designed for enterprise-level Java, .NET, and TIBCO BusinessWorks applications running on Oracle, DB2, or Sybase databases. Amaze®’s rapid application assessment of complex monolithic applications and built-in cloud transformation engine for code refactoring based on the target architecture can help you save time and money on cloud migration. Aside from real-time evaluations, it reduces your initial manual efforts and accelerates time-to-market. Additionally, based on an in-depth assessment of your on-premises tech stack, you will know which architecture is best suited and which cloud modernization plan will work best in the early phases. Our cloud specialists will guide you through the cloud modernization process. With the platform’s built-in automation capabilities and source-target mapping features, up to 70% of cloud modernization/ transformation operations can be automated. The primary focus remains on converting legacy applications into macro and microservice APIs and migrating them to the public, private, or hybrid cloud without disrupting the application’s business functionality. It also includes database migration from licensed to open-source technology deployed on various cloud services/models.

This modernization approach decouples the application into a web front-end and service back-end for more flexibility, scalability, and agility. Furthermore, the amaze®-led automation strategy ensures a 50% reduction in re-platforming efforts and expenses. It also allows for cross-platform deployment (private, public, and hybrid) and improves performance after cloud migration with enhanced scalability to meet current and future needs.

About the Author

Sarita Tripathy

Sarita Tripathy

Sarita Tripathy works with Hexaware’s amaze® R&D Engineering function and leads product evangelism team. She handles go-to-market digital activities, market research, and competitor analysis, etc. for amaze® product suite to be ahead of curve in positioning amaze® in the market for better brand recognition. She also performs product manager role and manages various marketing deliverables. And works closely with Business Leaders and SMEs to plan & execute contents to increase amaze® digital presence among internal and external world.

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