|By Mark LaJeunesse, Paul Evans||
|December 3, 2007 07:00 PM EST||
One of a CIO's top priorities is to leverage information to enable better business decisions and outcomes. Many CIOs trace constraints on their business back to the limitations of older legacy information systems - specifically, outdated applications.
A legacy-based environment can make it difficult to attain the level of agility, flexibility, and responsiveness that growing enterprises need from their applications. For many organizations, the application has become the business - powered by technology. Modernizing applications is a key step to providing agility and lower cost of ownership, as well as creating a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and ultimately, accelerating business outcomes. However, modernizing also presents risks - both in the process and the final result.
To manage the transition safely from costly and inflexible application architectures to increased application agility - which is aligned to and able to respond to business demands flexibly - there are critical steps that enterprises must take. Through a modernization process, enterprises can build a flexible and manageable application environment that can take advantage of an SOA and shared IT infrastructure, to make the best use of their company's most valuable resources: people and information. Application modernization uses services and technologies to reduce computing costs and improve IT service delivery, while enhancing customer service and knowledge-sharing capabilities.
This article will describe drivers for modernizing applications, the common misconceptions, and critical steps businesses should take to safely modernize applications to create a path to SOA.
Why Modernize Applications?
To achieve these outcomes effectively, CIOs need greater visibility into their application environment.
While most IT organizations are painfully aware that they have applications and systems that are underperforming, most aren't eager to undertake a modernization effort. There are several misconceptions surrounding modernization:
1. "This could compromise the service levels I'm accustomed to." Many times a senior IT executive will wonder, "If I move this piece of software from my legacy environment to a new system, will I get the same service levels?" Companies are hesitant to make the move and modernize their applications because they're unsure if the new system will garner them the same benefits.
The key here is to understand which attributes of the legacy system are critical to the business need and ensure that the functionality and underpinning infrastructure deliver and exceed the quality of service that the business demands. The secret is not to 'blindly' move all of the legacy software to a new platform, but to assess what software is required and what can be replaced or discarded. It's worth pointing out that when the original legacy system was built, much of the functionality had to be written in code by hand. Whether it's using packaged software or operating system functionality, we can reduce the amount of handwritten code, thus providing a much lower risk to modernization.
2. "Modernizing applications is costly." Some CIOs aren't aware of the return on investment (ROI) that modernization can produce. Many IT leaders erroneously assume modernization requires a complete rebuild to achieve strong ROI, and very often that isn't the case.
3. "This will cause operational disruption and my business cannot afford that risk." CIOs fear that the shaky application "house of cards" they've built might crumble if it's revamped. They worry about potential security flaws, system downtime, and exposure to technical failure.
Part of any modernization effort is the transitional planning, which has to be based on a thorough assessment of the current state. The better we know the current environment and its linkages to other application components, the lower the risk in the transition. Once again, going in blindly is exactly the wrong strategy.
Steps to a Smooth Modernization
With the software environments customers have today, modernizing isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. Unless the organization knows what must be done, and does it consciously, the change will have no meaningful effect. There are several key steps to consider when modernizing a company's legacy systems:
1. Take inventory: You've recognized that to achieve business goals, you need greater visibility into your application environment. The first step is to take an inventory of your applications - identify, analyze, and report on the status of the portfolio of applications in your environment.
2. Prioritize: To prioritize the application modernization project, CIOs should evaluate the existing architecture and constituent applications, review applications that may have differing characteristics, and examine historical and anecdotal information to determine the level of business value and technical quality of each application. Next, it's important to examine the potential costs and revenue impact of modernization for each application, and then rank and categorize each application as you discuss the best approach to take. Finally, identify those applications best poised for modernization and establish a target architecture.
3. Create a detailed action plan: Do a detailed analysis of the applications you've decided to modernize. This process focuses on specific applications and their underlying architecture - with a thorough examination of all the issues that affect three major tasks: 1.) existing application decomposability and cost impact on mining existing code; 2.) targeted application options including hardware, software, operating system, monitoring, management, and development; and 3.) incremental modernization strategy to move from the existing architecture to your target architecture, while allowing both to coexist during the transition.
4. Transition your apps: Once the roadmap is in place, the next step is to bring legacy applications up to today's performance standards while having a minimal impact on day-to-day business operations. These steps include re-engineering, re-hosting, replacing, retaining and retiring, as well as building, testing, and maintaining the new application environment.
5. Finally, it's important to implement management and support best practices to transition smoothly to the new operational environment.
Application Modernization Is a Must
Legacy systems stall innovation and are costly to maintain, but as any business professional knows, they run today's business. Modernizing applications isn't impossible if you plan properly. As a prerequisite for staying competitive in this global economy, IT modernization is a must-do for enterprises.
Companies are understandably concerned about the cost of modernizing its applications, the level of service during and after the move, and the possible exposure to technical failure. However, with proper planning and experience, it's possible to transition smoothly from legacy systems to an architecture that's more agile and responsive.
Enterprises should take an inventory of their application environment, and prioritize the most important and cost-effective applications. They can then analyze and determine the best course of action. Once a plan is in place, companies can begin the actual modernizing process through re-engineering, re-hosting, replacing, retaining, and retiring. Finally, a strong management and support system is key to a smooth transition.
A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.” The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 148
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,731
When you decide to launch a startup company, business advisors, counselors, bankers and armchair know-it-alls will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get funding. While there is some validity to that boilerplate piece of wisdom, the availability of and need for startup funding has gone through a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the next few years will see even more of a shift. A perfect storm of events is causing this seismic shift. On the macroeconomic side this ...
Apr. 27, 2017 11:34 AM EDT Reads: 275
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Apr. 27, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 669
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Apr. 27, 2017 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,835
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,331
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Apr. 27, 2017 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,730
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Apr. 27, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 6,036
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,215
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Apr. 26, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,612
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Apr. 26, 2017 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,815
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
Apr. 26, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,563
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Apr. 25, 2017 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 7,267
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Apr. 25, 2017 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,387
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Apr. 25, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,350
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Apr. 25, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 8,925
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
Apr. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 4,889
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
Apr. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 6,269
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
Apr. 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,139
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Apr. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,622