Organizations are increasingly modernizing their applications in the cloud so they can innovate faster while still managing costs. However, transforming application infrastructure — shifting from monolithic apps to microservices — can be a challenge, especially as this shift often requires a larger cultural change for IT and development teams.
But the right approach can simplify your app modernization efforts.
Tips for modernizing apps in the public cloud
- Be extremely intentional in your approach
Start by developing a clear vision of where you need to be. Consider your organization’s strategies, challenges, initiatives and anything else that should inform your desired future state. This requires understanding where you're starting from. From evaluating your applications — what you have, where they’re housed, how much they cost, what value they provide now and will provide in the future — to determining whether you have the right people, processes and tools in place to execute your vision.
- Strategically define your needs up front
It's critical to develop a strategy for getting from current to future state effectively and efficiently. Which technologies, providers and approaches best suit your needs? It may be valuable to gain the insight of an independent, unbiased third party as you answer these questions and develop the strategic framework/guidelines for your application modernization initiative.
- Set quantifiable, achievable goals
Break your application modernization initiative into doable, understandable, measurable pieces. Each step should bring you closer to your ultimate desired state.
- Leverage the knowledge of a consultative partner
Select a partner with real-world experience in application modernization who listens carefully and who thoroughly understands your goals. If you can bring them in early enough, they can help troubleshoot, strategize and streamline your initiative. Plus, you'll benefit from their perspective and lessons-learned from past projects.
- Keep security front and center
Modernizing apps in the cloud may shrink your attack surface, but it can also create different exposures. With new avenues of attack come new approaches to risk mitigation, such as zero trust. Keep in mind that most attacks in the cloud exploit vulnerabilities caused by misconfigurations, mistakes and misperceptions about shared or owned responsibilities between an organization and its cloud service provider.
- Get high-level, visible executive support
Secure strong executive sponsorship — the higher up the chain the better — and solicit their visible support. Meet often to stay connected and keep them informed through every step of the process.
- Communicate with all groups and levels of the organization
Identify, listen to and fully comprehend the needs and concerns of impacted groups at every level, including operations, management, architects and developers. Check in regularly to keep all parties informed and debriefed as you complete the steps along your modernization roadmap.
- Understand the technologies you are moving to
The best way to truly understand the gaps and challenges inherent in app modernization is to develop a thorough comprehension of both current technologies and any new ones you're adopting.
- Prepare to address new challenges associated with the cloud
The challenges you’ll face in the cloud are fundamentally different from those you’ve faced before. To avoid being taken by surprise, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the challenges you’re likely to face, such as autoscaling and cost control.
- Crawl, walk, run
Moving to the cloud is a huge, fundamental change. It’s better to start slow and gain momentum than get ahead of yourself and have to revisit prior missteps down the road.
Building your app modernization roadmap
With all this in mind, you're ready to create an application modernization roadmap. At a high-level, your roadmap should follow this simple path:
- Address applications that will have the highest impact with the lowest effort first, building momentum and showing business value fast.
- Close down applications that no longer serve your company to free up resources.
- Focus on applications that can be refactored and migrated directly into the cloud.
- Rework applications that require minor effort before being moved.
- Address applications that require full refactors, starting with those that have the greatest impact to the business. This process entails breaking monolithic applications into microservices, and identifying ways to make the applications better, more efficient and more self-healing.
Remember to learn as you go through this process. And don’t be afraid to adapt your roadmap as necessary when you encounter changes in business priorities, organizational needs or unexpected challenges. You got this.