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Application modernization: Full speed ahead!

Businesses want to be able to add new features to existing applications without putting their IT systems at risk. Application modernization can make this possible by accelerating the application lifecycle and increasing business agility across all industries, including manufacturing, telecommunications, automotive and banking.

Why modernize your applications?

A first reason would be because your technology assets are outdated. If your legacy applications are still useful but have become hard to add features to, it makes sense to modernize them.

A second motivator would be to support your digital transformation and take full advantage of the cloud's potential. Doing so can lead to productivity gains and prepare your company to respond to market changes. Cloud architecture is more flexible than on-prem infrastructure, mainly because it's less complex.

What does modernization involve?

Modernization is a process that transforms a monolithic entity into a service-based architecture—what's known as microservices. There are several advantages to this "re‑architecture" process. It allows you to only deploy the services that have changed, rather than the entire app, or to only make specific updates to key services.

This precision can save your company a lot of time, while reducing the risk of error that's inherent to every upgrade. It also means there's little to no downtime during updates.

For example, in a streaming app, you could choose to only upgrade the recommendation tool without having to update the rest of the application's features. What's more, breaking down the services lets you test new app features on a select group of customers.

The automation imperative

Automating tasks can simplify the modernization process and minimize potential impacts on your infrastructure, security, storage and networks.

It also allows you to manage Day-2 operations, such as request events on the application. If we go back to our example of the streaming business: once the last episode of a very popular series airs, demand for it will go through the roof. To support the spike in demand, the company will have to increase the app's resources (i.e., the structure that hosts the application and the network that manages the flow for the series' fans).

These Day-2 tasks can be automated by an orchestration tool that determines the steps, one by one. Clearly, the streaming service would want to automate its connectivity or database updates without affecting the rest of the activities. The same thing is true for a company that sells an online application: the flow sequencing is automated for the buyer and makes it easy to configure.

Ansible by Red Hat

Red Hat has created Ansible, an open-source automation platform with four essential features for modernization:

  1. A library of 3,000 ready-to-integrate automation modules (open source)
  2. A repository for storing the various modules created by the company in order to break down the silos between business sectors
  3. An automation and orchestration tool
  4. An analytics component that generates reports on the added value of the modernization process

This added value comes in the form of improved collaboration within the company and increased productivity. One thing is for sure: employee satisfaction and engagement will skyrocket among those who previously had to do endless hours of coding and repetitive tasks whenever you updated a service.