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The Essential Guide to Microsoft Azure Application Modernisation

With technological advancements, numerous organisations are considering moving to the cloud and building remote workplaces for their employees. With Azure application modernisation, you can re-engineer your legacy apps and migrate your critical operations to the cloud. The additional agility and efficiencies improve the ability to conduct business and generate revenue. 

Technological advancements and maintaining a remote workplace have made legacy applications obsolete. Therefore, enterprises must adopt modern tactics to keep up with technological advancements and competition. One way is to use Azure app modernisation to convert your legacy applications to cloud applications. 

Modernisation is now the need of the hour, and enterprises should take it seriously by shifting their legacy applications to the cloud. With Azure, you can transform your application’s features, infrastructure and code for better alignment with your requirements. Cloud APIs can help deliver superior time-to-value and lower the need for CapEx. 

The migration process can be tricky, and most enterprises struggle to decide which application they should move to the cloud first. Get in touch with our team of Azure specialists for a smooth and effective transition to the cloud. 

What Is Application Modernisation?  

Application modernisation is a process of updating old software for newer computing approaches by adding new languages, frameworks, or infrastructure platforms. Enterprises can modernise their apps in many ways, like integrating APIs into the existing system or going with a complete remodel. 

Here are four key technologies that you can consider for enterprise with the help of Azure app modernisation: 

  1. Cloud
    Migrating your applications to the cloud should be your first option, as your enterprise can benefit significantly from scalability, agility, and lower costs. There are three types of cloud you can opt for: public, private, and hybrid cloud
  2. Containers and Kubernetes
    You can package your applications in a container and deploy them as a unit of software on your cloud. You can package numerous apps in multiple containers and manage them through Kubernetes, a container-orchestration system that automates processes. 
  3. Microservices
    Since most legacy applications are monolithic, you can convert them to microservices. Modernisation focuses on increasing the enterprise’s agility, making it easier to anticipate the changing expectations of its customers and employees. 
  4. Automation and orchestration
    With automation, you can set up individual tasks to run independently, while orchestration allows you to automate numerous tasks as a workflow. Therefore, enterprises can automate and orchestrate to improve their deployment, networking, or security efficiencies, 

Why Your Enterprise Needs Continuous Azure App Modernisation

Most enterprises are not built with a digital mindset, making it difficult to take advantage of the latest cloud-based technologies and increase productivity. If you want to get rid of your old infrastructure or applications, you must continuously modernise your applications to remain competitive.

To become more productive, you need to change your mindset regarding Azure app modernisation. Instead of looking at it as a way to survive, you should consider it a method to maintain business agility in these modern times. Modernisation and transformation can increase your enterprise’s power to:

  • Improve customer experience and loyalty 
  • Disrupt the industry and your competitors 
  • Introduce rapid innovation 
  • Optimise cost, speed, and volume of business
  • Support changes for regulatory compliance

Legacy applications are still essential for most enterprises as they are integral to their value chain and provide core capabilities and data for routine business. Here is a pragmatic strategy that can assist your enterprise in implementing continuous Azure app modernisation. You can start by: 

  1. Setting goals for modernisation 
  2. Understanding your applications thoroughly 
  3. Selecting an optimal modernisation approach for every application 
  4. Observing and measuring changes against your goals

Why Do Enterprises Modernise Legacy Applications? 

Enterprises can protect their investment by modernising their applications and refreshing their software. You can add modern tools, infrastructure, and other technological advancements to boost enterprise-wide efficiency through Azure app modernisation. 

With a robust modernisation strategy, you can significantly reduce the resources necessary for running an application, increasing the reliability of your deployments and improving application resilience. Therefore, an application modernisation plan is a part of the enterprise’s overall digital transformation strategy. 

Challenges During App Modernisation

Most enterprises face the following challenges while modernising their applications:

  • Kill the skill gap
    The skills necessary for designing, building, and maintaining legacy technologies become obsolete as time passes. Therefore, you must eliminate the skill gap and enhance the technical expertise of your team. 
  • Take a digital leap
    Migrating legacy applications to an advanced technology platform like Azure cloud makes you a digital enterprise but invites numerous problems and demands. For example, you must design a digital-first strategy, intelligent tools, IT modernisation, and well-designed projects before becoming cloud-native.
  • Need for balance
    Transitioning to the cloud makes it a challenge to balance performance, stability, and improvement of response timelines. Without the right apt tools, attaining a faster time-to-market without compromising stability is difficult. 
  • Be ready for data
    After modernisation, enterprises need to unlock Big Data opportunities like data retrieval, storage, and analysis, which is becoming a key concern. However, enterprises often struggle to decide on the best data platform to facilitate instant data access. 

Azure App Modernisation Stages And Strategies  

Before modernising your legacy application portfolio, you must determine the effort required to achieve your desired results. Evaluating every application for its business value and technical feasibility for modernisation is time-consuming. 

Therefore, you need to direct your efforts to only those applications with the highest business value and are most feasible to modernise. Here are six basic approaches towards Azure app modernisation. 

  1. Rehost
    The rehosting process is simple; you just take an application from its old infrastructure and move it to a new infrastructure with minimal changes to the code. For example, you can take an on-site server and rehost it on a public cloud. Rehosting is the least intensive modernisation approach, which may not be the right approach depending on the application. 
  2. Rearchitect
    If your enterprise requires scalability efficiently through the cloud, the right approach is to re-architect your applications. Rearchitecting modifies and extends the code and the application’s functionality to scale better over the cloud.
  3. Replatform
    Replatforming your applications is like a middle ground as it allows enterprises to take advantage of the cloud platform by modifying or replacing the application’s backend with minor changes. However, it does not require significant changes to the code or the application’s architecture. 
  4. Rebuild
    To recreate an app using the cloud-native approach, you must entirely rebuild it with Microsoft apt tools. Even when it’s a heavier lift, moving over to the cloud is essential if your existing applications have a short lifespan or limited functionality. 
  5. Refactor
    If you want to modernise your application thoroughly, then refactoring is the right approach. You take a legacy application, restructure and re-write it with significant changes and run it on a new environment like a private cloud. Essentially, a legacy application is converted to microservices that maximise the benefits of a cloud-native infrastructure and tools while helping accelerate the delivery of new features. 
  6. Replace
    If your applications do not meet your current business needs after a rebuild, your last resort is to replace the app with a ready-to-use solution. The replacement approach is much faster than rebuilding legacy applications as it does not consume the resources required for development. However, replacing an app is challenging and can interrupt key business processes. 

Using Microsoft Azure App Modernisation 

You can modernise your apps with Azure through containerisation, which acts as a zip drive that efficiently carries the code from one computing environment to the other. Microsoft Azure is one of the best methods to digitise your legacy apps and gain agility. The need for less or no code allows you to run your app without additional infrastructure. 

After deciding to modernise your applications or services by moving them to the cloud, rearchitecting is not necessary because it’s not always the right option in terms of cost and time requirements. To remain cost-effective during your enterprise’s cloud migration, you need to determine which apps: 

  • Require transformation or architecting 
  • Need partial modernisation 
  • Can be shifted to the cloud directly

Here are three levels of Azure app modernisation your enterprise can use to modernise your legacy applications.

Level 1: Cloud Infrastructure Ready

The first level is a lift-and-shift approach, where you deploy applications to VMs hosted on Azure. There is no need for rearchitecting or writing new code, allowing quick migration to the cloud. Azure ensures essential availability over the cloud, where you can modernise your application even more. 

Level 2: Cloud-Optimised 

The second level is a modernise-only approach where you deploy monolithic or N-tier applications to the Azure App Service, Azure Container Instance, or Azure Kubernetes Services. Minimal code or configuration changes are required while avoiding architecting. 

Containers help improve the deployment and DevOps agility of the applications while increasing the density and lowering the cost of deployment. You can improve the portability of your applications and their dependencies by using PaaS or IaaS. 

Level 3: Cloud-Native 

The third level is a modernise, re-architect, and rewrite approach where you deploy your applications as containerised microservices with AKS. Your applications are redesigned for the cloud with a new backend that brings the best benefits to your enterprise. 

Cloud-native applications are hyper-scalable, fully managed services optimised for autonomous agility through the subsystem. Legacy applications are rewritten as microservices for the cloud. 

Benefits Of Microsoft Azure App Modernisation 

Modernising their legacy applications is becoming an essential component of their digital transformation strategy for most enterprises. With Azure app modernisation, your enterprise will enjoy the following benefits: 

Reduces Ownership Costs

Moving from an on-premises application to Azure Cloud reduces the associated infrastructure expenditure because the enterprise moves from a CapEx model. The enterprise now has to pay for the services they consume instead of spending large amounts of investment on acquiring, setting, running, and maintaining an on-site infrastructure.

Improves Agility And Scalability 

Rehosting their legacy applications over the cloud allows enterprises to take swift action on opportunities without relying on old code and infrastructure. Technologies like containerisation and continuous delivery pipelines to set up standardised test environments. Enterprises can also scale their applications to make them accessible to more users. 

Increases Security And Performance 

Microsoft has designed Azure with numerous built-in security services that offer granular controls to facilitate compliance and privacy. Improved insights into how cloud applications perform allow enterprises to take actionable steps to ensure the quality of service. Azure also offers free Extended Security Updates for enterprises. 

Improves Customer Engagement

Cloud applications enable easy expansion by reducing resource usage. Using a data-driven decision-making algorithm built with Azure can help you send a better response to your customers. You can allocate resources focusing on functionality and help increase customer value while ensuring zero operational disruptions. 

Integrates Customer Feedback

An application modernisation strategy not only modernises your apps, but it keeps you updated with the current trends. However, you must implement basic functionalities that track your customers as they use your apps.  Modernisation allows you to minimise the risks by interpreting the changes in user behaviour. 

Encourages Experimentation 

Since Azure app modernisation requires minimal code changes, you can keep your applications running at a good pace. Azure also assists development teams by using self-driven techniques to experiment with different ideas. They can also see how innovative solutions flow through the modernised legacy application. 

Improves Decision-Making Abilities 

By modernising legacy applications with Azure, your IT teams can increase their efficiency as they will have improved insights into the business, operations, and customers. Therefore, Azure empowers them to make accurate decisions that grow their business and satisfy their customers. 

Offers Greater Opportunities For Automation

With Microsoft Azure, you can automate your applications by leveraging microservices and serverless containers to remove dependencies. You can easily add new features and functionalities to your legacy system to solve your customer’s problems immediately and deliver more value. 

Conclusion

Staying ahead of the competition is paramount for success, so relying on legacy applications is not feasible anymore. Your goal should be to build a digitisation strategy and modernise your applications before your competitors even think about it. Azure app modernisation offers the right technology and tools for successfully migrating to the cloud. 

Looking to streamline your app modernisation journey? Get in touch with our Microsoft Certified Azure experts to start your migration.

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