As the agility benefits of cloud computing become clearer, organizations are looking for ways to imbue their legacy applications with more cloudlike features. That’s driving interest in application modernization products and services, a market that Verified Market Research expects to grow nearly 19% annually, to more than $30 billion by 2026.
It’s clear that simply lifting and shifting on-premises workloads to cloud infrastructure can often deliver some immediate benefits in scalability and availability. But the full potential of cloud-native platforms is best realized when modern constructs such as microservices, containers, and application program interfaces can be applied.
Such features enable enterprises to outfit legacy applications with customer-friendly front ends, move them between cloud platforms, and enhance them with third-party extensions. Modernized applications can also take advantage of AI plug-ins such as smart chatbots as well as the ability to ingest streaming data for real-time decision-making.
For firms in highly regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare, or the public sector, though, moving legacy software to a public cloud for modernization can be fraught with risk. Some applications may be legally required to remain continuously available, making it impractical to take them out of service for refurbishment. Legacy software also often contains undocumented interdependencies with other applications that can cause catastrophic failures if a single component is disconnected. Large-scale development projects also have greater risk for security lapses, compliance vulnerabilities, and performance issues.
A safer alternative to public cloud is modernizing in a managed private cloud environment that is compatible with public cloud infrastructure. This approach gives organizations full control over data integrity and security. It also provides much needed visibility into development operations and the ability to smoothly migrate to a public cloud platform if and when the time is right.
Using a managed private cloud, “you can migrate your stack piecemeal without worrying about application affinity or introducing latency or bandwidth issues that can occur when you go offsite,” says Stanley Wood, IBM distinguished engineer and chief technology officer for the company’s Managed Private Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Managed Private Cloud IaaS) offerings. “You get services as well as APIs that you can use in your data center, and you can move your stack piecemeal with near-zero latency.”
Private cloud infrastructure has all the same elasticity and availability benefits of the public cloud without requiring enterprises to move data offsite or out from behind the firewall. Organizations can take advantage of cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) for modernization as they adopt agile devops practices. Some legacy applications can be encapsulated in software containers, permitting them to be shifted as needed between public, private, and even legacy infrastructure.
To maximize options when modernizing a private cloud, organizations should look for infrastructure that is open and broadly supported. Not only do open platforms benefit from the contributions of large development communities but they also provide a measure of protection against vendor lock-in.
“Kyndryl1 supports every step of what we call the journey to the cloud,” Wood says. “We can advise you on what to do and how to approach modernization. IBM’s deep experience with financial institutions gives customers access to tested and repeatable processes and tooling.”
The company’s Managed Private Cloud IaaS is also fully compatible with IBM’s public cloud infrastructure . “We’ve been doing this for more than 10 years,” Wood says. “As long as the cloud has existed.”
For more information on Kyndryl’s Managed Private Cloud IaaS, visit ibm.biz/PC_IaaS.
1Kyndryl is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Business Machines Corporation with the intent that Kyndryl will be spun-out.