Case study

Updated: 7/10/2024Published: 5/29/2024

Are you waiting to modernize legacy applications? Here are three signs you shouldn’t.

In this article, you will learn:

A lot has been written about why and when you should migrate legacy applications to the cloud when they no longer deliver business purposes. However, every organization’s situation is different. Therefore, many companies operate from the belief "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." Yet the IT business team can reap from legacy application modernization services.

There are many benefits to legacy app modernization, from enhanced security capabilities while adapting built-in features like performance monitoring, to disaster recovery, backups and enabling swift scaling even as technology evolves. This is not to mention the often-overlooked advantage of building on an existing investment. Compared to plugging completely new applications into existing operations, modernization preserves the uninterrupted flow of important business processes.

If any of the situations below apply to your company, it may be a sign not to settle for running legacy systems for another year or two.

Legacy application modernization strategies

Before that, let’s examine other typical legacy application modernization strategies; besides transforming it from monolith to microservices-based architecture.

  • Re-host

    This is also called "lift-and-shift." This modernization strategy emphasizes speed as it requires practically no code changes. Organizations take apps from their previous environment and transition them as they are to their current environment.

  • Re-platform

    This approach lies in between rehosting and refactoring. With replatforming, organizations make code changes to ensure that apps can be used with cloud technologies.

  • Re-factor

    Also known as "repackage." Refactoring or repackaging prioritizes productivity as well as speed. With this strategy, apps require minimal code changes to connect easily to and make the most of a cloud-first environment.

  • Re-architect

    If an organization needs cloud scalability, rearchitecting might be the right approach. With rearchitecting, both app functionality and code are modified and extended to scale better in the cloud.

  • Rebuild

    Also called rewriting. For recreating an app using cloud solutions, rebuilding is sometimes the right option. It's a more difficult task, but it may be essential if existing apps have limited functionality or lifespan.

  • Replace

    If an app doesn't meet current or future business needs even after rebuilding, replacing it with a ready-made solution might be considered. This approach can also be faster. However, replacing apps may pose challenges such as interruptions to business processes and limitations on future modernization initiatives.

Legacy modernization examples

1. Infinite grappling with tiredness from all system failures

Logickx IT, a software provider for logistics companies with clients from around the globe, built an on-prem application around Oracle and its database. This app was developed entirely by an in-house team and required substantial resources to manage its infrastructure. What is more, frequent system errors did not make life any easier. That is why they considered migrating to the cloud to overcome this challenge. However, the internal IT team was new to cloud exploitation. Here’s how they fixed it.

First, they calculated that the cost of ownership of an on-premises app would be far higher than in the cloud. Only after that did they decide to approach cloud specialists. During the initial phase, AWS cloud experts focused on splitting the application. Within a month, the external team modernized the app in terms of the frontend, then undertook a complete overhaul of the backend infrastructure.

Fresh eyes see both new opportunities and potential risks

The company benefited immensely by restarting applications in the AWS cloud. Maintenance costs were reduced. Now errors can be resolved faster and with less effort. "Responsive, able to understand needs, and implement [them] quickly," Nazar Spak responded when asked why Logickx IT chose the StormIT team to navigate the cloud migration. Cooperation on the project continues.

Lesson learned

Of course, no one has deeper knowledge of a company's systems than an internal IT team. However, trying to do everything yourself can quickly backfire. Bringing together internal experts in legacy systems and external cloud-savvy partners accelerates the reduction of tech debt much faster.

2. Running a business by a gigantic spreadsheet everyone is terrified to get rid of

One mid-sized company’s journey began when competition in the heat pump industry was scarce. The company grew relatively quickly, taking a prominent position in the market. As time progressed, this firm realized that its current processes weren’t designed for a digitally-intensive and customer-centric environment. To sustain its growth and broaden the customer base, the company embarked on removing unnecessary and time-consuming routine tasks for their purchase, back-office, sales, and marketing teams.

They completely rethought the way they track the customer journey and approach to customer experience. However, the non-existent digital strategy was a massive challenge. So, a renewable energy industry client partnered with digitizing experts from Radixal to build a modernization road.

Seconds instead of hours

Soon after that, over 147 cloud-native containerized applications were deployed by Russell Nyorere, StormIT Cloud Engineer, enabling tracking, and collecting data to make informed decisions. After this fourteen-month project, manual updating that used to take employees hours can now take seconds.

Lesson learned

Spreadsheets are widely used because people simply love them. Instead of forbidding their use, which will inevitably result in the emergence of “shadow systems,“ present solutions, talk to people, and tirelessly explain modernization’s benefits. Persevere, even if it takes six months!

3. Struggling to handle peak periods, resulting in delayed responses and longer wait times

Need another compelling legacy modernization example? In this case, we look at a multi-business company struggling with the challenges of monolithic architecture. "Killing Monoliths is hard. Especially when everything is deeply interconnected, making it difficult to isolate individual components," says Nazar Spak. Now, imagine breaking a twelve-year monolith into approximately fifteen self-sustaining systems. That was exactly the case for the fast-growing company, the leading platform for seizing opportunities in the Central European market.

Their monolithic application struggled to scale and keep up with peaks after the marketing campaign went online. So, the developer team at StormIT started deconstructing it by identifying the parts responsible for the frontend. After that, event-driven architecture came in handy to rip out the parts from the monolith and keep only one link between decoupled services.

"Holding on to legacy applications for whatever reason brings only headaches. This is probably the most valuable finding we have learned while guiding customers on the transformation journey," says Nazar Spak, CCO & Partner.

The significant business advantages gained by adopting microservices

Breaking the monolith helped accelerate development to keep up with the market. As a result, with microservices, the application became more reliable, and platform efficiency increased.

Lesson learned

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are monoliths to microservices breakdown. Gather data across the environment but do not waste time with overplanning. It’s impossible to create an all-encompassing plan.

Bottom line

Nothing is built to be permanent. This applies to software too. Application modernization benefits businesses in multiple ways, with cost reduction advantages, improved efficiency, and better system resilience. An additional win includes much faster deployment of new services. "Holding on to legacy applications for whatever reason brings only headaches. This is probably the most valuable finding we have learned while guiding customers on the transformation journey," Spak sums up.

Are you ready to start your cloud migration journey and learn how to modernize legacy applications? Contact our consultant to take the next step as StormIT team is ready to offer legacy application modernization services and begin the initial discussion for free.

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