As mentioned in earlier blog posts I have written, modernizing applications in addition to creating new cloud-native applications is the underlying reason that cloud-computing, containers, and IBM/Red Hat are relevant.
While chanting the ‘cloud first’ mantra, consider your strategy to adapt and migrate existing applications to the cloud also. This is the ideal time to modernize these, especially with hybrid cloud or multiple cloud vendors.
Rather than migrating to a specific service or one with poor integration that will hamper you in the future, consider a flexible, open system. This can support your reasons for migrating to cloud in the first place: optimizing costs, control including the use of high availability and rapid recovery, and rapid or agile deployment of new, improved services to generate revenue. (IBM Cloud, 2019)
Here are factors that could comprise existing application strategy:
- Container deployment (see Miro’s previous blog post on Containers)
- Decompose existing apps into microservice modules (see Miro’s previous blog post on microservices)
- Any-to-Any Connectivity
- Cloud Enablement to operate on hybrid or shared infrastructure
- Integration with broader base through APIs and possibly AI
Open architecture is also scalable for growth, or to shrink when the application is later retired. Although evangelists may want to tout their life-changing app as evergreen, even Lotus 1-2-3 was sunset.
Conversely, modernizing applications may not deliver value. Please consider these factors also:
- Waving the ‘cloud wand’ does not mean savings magically appear.
- Developing a new, cloud-native app may be a better choice than updating an existing one
- Management of (multi-)cloud environment may be bigger than initially considered
- Governance and Security
- Data transfer and security costs may also be underestimated
- AI trained with faulty data (Noffsinger, 2019)
Specific to IBM:
If you are already operating in the IBM-verse, can you migrate your WebSphere Application Server (WAS) apps to WAS Liberty? You can try Open Liberty (hyperlink: https://openliberty.io/) at no-cost, and in case you didn’t realize it the Liberty Profile is part of later versions of regular WAS. So what is ‘Liberty’? The WAS Liberty profile is a scaled-down Java runtime environment for cloud-native apps and microservices. Liberty was created to start fast, use less memory, and has custom features to allow it to be flexible.
If you are already an IBM Cloud Private customer, IBM offers the IBM Cloud Transformation Advisor (hyperlink: https://www.ibm.com/garage/method/practices/learn/ibm-transformation-advisor) to simplify application modernization of Java EE apps at no additional charge. IBM’s Advisor categorizes Java EE apps and MQ queue managers in addition to generating a Docker manifest.
Gulati, Vikram. (2019, Jan 22). Modernize Your WebSphere Apps for the Cloud @ Think 2019. www.ibm.com/cloud/blog/think-2019-modernize-your-websphere-apps-for-the-cloud
Hernandez, Robin. (2019, Dec. 12). Multicloud management: Why visibility, security and automation matter to CIOs. www.ibm.com/blogs/cloud-computing/2019/12/12/multicloud-management- visibility-security-automation/
IBM. (2019, Dec 27). IBM application modernization. www.ibm.com/cloud/application-modernization
IBM Cloud. (2018, May 18). Old apps, new tricks: What application modernization means to modern enterprises [Video]. https://youtu.be/MMl9QRdi44E
IBM Cloud. (2019). Three Pillars of Application Modernization for the Cloud Era. www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/VAXKADZO
Noffsinger, Walt. (2019, Jan. 30). 3 reasons most modernization projects may not deliver business value. www.ibm.com/blogs/cloud-computing/2019/01/30/modernization-projects-business-value/