Whether to modernize or not, stops being a question when outdated software systems can’t keep a business afloat. That’s like evolution applied to the technological world: it’s not the strongest or the most intelligent of the species that survives, it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.
Why move to the Cloud?
Once you admit that your software no longer meets your business needs, don’t lament and fall into despair. You’re not automatically obliged to shut down the old system and build a new one from scratch. Replacement is not the only option. It may make some sense to re-engineer or transfer the original product to new technologies. And it oftentimes does. There are different modernization strategies out there that depend on the problems you’re trying to solve.
Today we’re going to consider the most popular strategy – migration to the cloud. But don’t delude yourself with the term. The migration doesn’t necessarily imply simply moving systems to the cloud. It goes hand in hand with a transformational strategy and frequently includes enhancements to let you get the full value of the benefits the cloud infrastructure can provide.
We won’t lie to you that this way is all that smooth and covered with rose petals. There are some pitfalls you may come across. But, you know what they say: forewarned is forearmed.
Benefits of cloud adoption
The benefits of cloud computing adoption are definitely worth it. They allow a business to:
- reduce overhead expenditures on testing, integration, and maintenance
- shorten time to release new features
- scale the processes up and down according to needs
- increase the flexibility of the system(s) with the help of sophisticated solutions that cloud-providers are steadily developing
However tempting the idea to start ‘right here, right now’ may be, any decisions related to software modernization should be based on real data and thorough thoughts, rather than guesswork and sudden impulses. That’s why before starting cloud computing adoption, you need to:
- Define the current state of your system
It’s impossible to create a roadmap for modernization without having a clear understanding of each application of yours and its interdependencies. Only a deep insight into your applications, including its running state, processes, infrastructure, business KPI, codebase, etc. will help you to choose the right track and stay on it.
- Set technological and business goals
Using the information you’ll get from a detailed analysis of the current state of the system, you can think of improvements in terms of profitability, customer experience, and more. The goals you set should not come up out of nowhere but be based upon the real situation your system is in and the sourcing you can afford. You can’t just expect that everything you want will pop up with a magic wand swish.
Approaches to cloud adoption
Now, having data – not just ‘gut feelings’ – under your belt, you can choose one of the approaches within the migration strategy which suits your business needs best. There are three of them to consider:
- Rehosting is the technique of the lowest cost and risk. While re-engineering projects can take years, rehosting is faster. It keeps the underlying business logic untouched with no negative impact on the enterprise. As a result, the system operates in exactly the same way.
On the other hand, rehosting doesn’t generally make use of cloud-native features as some other techniques do.
- Replatforming includes adjusting the code to a new platform while preserving the existing functionality. Minimal changes like using a managed database offering or adding auto-scaling can help return the basic profit of cloud infrastructure.
- Refactoring presupposes restructuring and optimizing the existing code without altering its external behavior. Refactoring an application component allows for solving technical problems and improving the component’s features and structure.
By re-coding some portion of an existing application, companies can fully exploit cloud-native features and maximize operational cost efficiency in the cloud.
The good news is that you can start with one approach, acquire some initial benefits, and then keep on modernizing your systems through other approaches to get even better results. When the primary modernization iteration is accomplished, you can estimate its out-turns by comparing your previous baseline against the current performance, user experience, and business outcome data. Thus, you’ll see the areas where further modernization can be made.
There’re a number of big, powerful players on the market which to a large extent owe their success to cloud technologies. We bet you’ve heard about Netflix or Spotify. These are the companies that have learned the lesson: it’s the one that’s the most adaptable to change who survives.
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