A DevOps Approach To Legacy System Modernization


July 13, 2020


March 17th, 2023

Category Blog, DevOps

Eric Minick, Program Director, IBM Hybrid Cloud DevOps, talked about app modernization in one of IBM Cloud’s video.

Have a look:

In this video, he talked about three transformations that are happening along the way in Infrastructure, Architecture, and Delivery.

Let’s fast forward to today.

  • According to APPDYNAMICS, a part of Cisco, 81% technologists said in a report that COVID-19 has created the biggest technology pressure for their organizations.
  • Digital customer experience is now the priority, 88% of technologists reported in a survey by AppDynamics.

Many organizations experienced the urgency to move online or to modernize systems to offer the best experience. Amid great pressure on IT systems and organizations, modernizing is essential to ensure continuity and stability.

In this article, we will be talking about Legacy Application Modernization and how DevOps helps companies implement and initialize modernization processes.


What Is Legacy Modernization?

It represents a journey and transformative changes in IT architecture, applications, services, and delivery. Put it simply, it is all about re-engineering, rebuilding, and enabling businesses to operate in new ways with data-driven, automated, and intelligent processes.

Why Modernize?

The reasons are quite obvious as it improves the organization’s ability to deliver sustainable performance.

Modernization helps:

  • Reducing cost and time
  • Improving customer experiences
  • Increase the time-to-market of an application
  • Gain a competitive edge with innovative, agile, and responsive solutions
  • Achieve business goals with agility
  • Drive actionable insights by incorporating data-driven flow across the organization
  • Build productive teams that share a common goal and encourage collaboration
  • Gain benefits of scalability and flexibility to respond faster to the needs and achieve efficiency

In this digital era, legacy apps must evolve quickly to look for better results and opportunities with fewer overheads and obstacles. Companies need an end-to-end approach for managing and upgrading business technologies to achieve successful IT modernization.

Good Read: Legacy Application Modernization – Digitizing the Future

Challenges In Legacy Applications: What Are The Roadblocks?

The majority of the legacy application architecture was monolithic. Due to a single code base and single-tiered applications, they were more prone to various risks.

  • Security:

Old systems lack security controls due to unsupported versions, old tools, traditional architecture, and obsolete methods. This results in increased security risks and vulnerabilities.

  • Higher Dependency:

In legacy apps, dependency across the teams is higher as teams work in traditional silos to develop and deploy applications. Lack of collaboration and high cohesiveness increases the time-to-market of application and cost.

  • Single Point of Failure:

If any module, function, or functionality fails, the entire system fails. This is one of the biggest issues with legacy software.

  • Lack Of flexibility:

Changing or updating even smaller modules can cause a whole system down. It required hours, days, and even months to reflect smaller or bigger changes. These systems are difficult to scale up due to large codebase and performance problems.

Legacy System Modernization And DevOps: Can DevOps Help Get It Done Right?

DevOps is not just an approach, it is a culture. It is a philosophical approach to software development where continuous development and continuous delivery are mandatory practices rather than following traditional SDLC practices.

Good Read: ‘DevOps As A Philosophy’ – A Perfect Approach to DevOps

DevOps and IT Modernization mutually helps each other.

To understand this, let’s consider three important aspects that matter the most in any organization – People, Processes, and Tools.

  • People

It is people who plan, design, and implement strategies to help organizations achieve specific goals. In legacy systems, traditional workflow and outdated skills are barriers to growth. People who lack a visionary approach and clear strategy in decision-making are a major setback to the development.

Role Of DevOps:

DevOps is a combination of people, processes, and tools to help businesses overcome modern challenges in an agile and efficient manner. It is based on a continuous cycle of improvements.

In terms of modernization, DevOps helps unite people to have a shared vision. It requires everyone’s participation. A change in process in a system requires flexibility to adapt to cultural shifts. DevOps help organizations establish a people-first culture and bridging the gap between Dev and Ops teams.

  • Process

Modernization of systems requires moving from traditional and manual processes to smarter and automated processes. It creates lots of code rework and may result in a delayed timeline, response, and disturbed workflow. Even a small enhancement depends on a quick decision. Faster decisions are important to avoid delayed time-to-market.

DevOps mandates CI/CD practices in companies that follow DevOps principles. Focusing more on automation and iteration, it helps streamline code pipeline and delivery. Moving code to the central repository and frequently committing changes in the code result in continuous build and integration.

Modernization With DevOps: Important Practices
  • Convert monolithic services into smaller and independently-deployable microservices
  • Choose a better cloud technology for better performance and availability
  • Implement automation practices like continuous integration, testing, and deployment
  • Use concepts like container orchestration to automate deployment, management, configuration, and scaling
  • Enable continuous improvement – early feedback, continuous monitoring, and analysis

Legacy systems were more inclined to long processes and decisions, making longer response times for every change – smaller or bigger. Opposite to this, DevOps encourages smaller, continuous, and faster changes, enabling faster response time and satisfied customers.

  • Tools:

It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way.
– Wallace Wattles

Majority legacy systems were lacking coordination between teams. Manual deployment, testing, and configuration management took hours, days, and even months. There was no automation and a decentralized environment increased dependency on each other to get the job finished.

DevOps makes things easier for the development and operation environment by introducing easy-to-use, centralized yet independent, and advance chain of tools. These tools enable developers to build, test, and deploy frequently with the help of automation and integration.

Tools are playing an important role in the modernization journey. The underlying technology stack should be stable, agile, secure, and flexible.

Modernization is not only limited to great UI/UX of an application, it’s an integral part of the digital transformation. It is about customers, employees, partners, and about everyone who is associated with your business.

Modernization is a journey towards continuous improvement.

DevOps Approach To Modernization: Reinforce Business Transformation Initiatives

Here are several key factors in the modernization process that are essential:

  • Automation:

Going from manual to automated process is one of the prime goals of modernization. Automated tools and technology reduce time and cost. It also helps achieve higher efficiency and better performance.

  • Integration:

Continuous integration is one of the important practices of DevOps. Whether it is code, people, or processes, everything represents tight integration across the application lifecycle to develop and deploy software at high velocity.

  • Transformation:

DevOps is not just a tool or a method. It represents enormous cultural changes across the teams, skills, and mindsets. It does not only involve changes in tools but in mindsets. Rather than working on a system as a whole, teams now have to develop small, independent, and easily-deployable units.

  • Optimization:

DevOps ensures that software development architecture can withstand any situation whether it is a high load of concurrent users or uploading a minor change in the system. With DevOps, an organization can better optimize their resources and skills to develop high-quality software faster at an optimized cost.

Collaboration and connectivity between teams help establish a faster feedback cycle. Ultimately, it increases the speed of deployment and reliability without bearing many risks.

  • Among companies chasing IT modernization, just 25% say the process has met its goals, according to a survey by Insight.
  • The 26% of companies in the beginning stages of transformation find the process helped improve the quality of service, customer experience, and cost savings, as per the Insight report.

Cloud, Microservices, and DevOps – three together work best for any IT modernization project. This combination is becoming increasingly popular. Investing in the right tools and skills helps organizations design a continuous modernization strategy to gain a competitive edge.

COVID-19 Accelerates IT Modernization

Digital is the need of the hour.

COVID-19 has changed how we work, travel, and interact. We all know it will take time to get back to normal. A huge number of people working remotely and trying to adapt to this new normal. Organizations are trying to operate in more virtual ways and adopt an agile approach in communication and collaboration between teams.

In one of our posts, we talked about the increased usage of DevOps in COVID-19 times. Modernization is as essential as digital transformation. It must not be viewed as an extra advantage but it should be considered as an important strategy to accelerate growth.

Building a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CICD) framework to support IT process modernization is a top priority even among those in the early stages of IT modernization, according to a survey by Insight.

DevOps consulting and services is more like a philosophical movement and it must be implemented in every organization for a faster, effective, and efficient response which is very important in IT modernization.

Whether you are starting your modernization journey or want to leverage this time to modernize your IT system, we are here to help. Let us know what do you think about IT modernization. With years of experience and expertise, we will help you realize the full potential of modernization with the DevOps approach.


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