If you have implemented cloud to some degree in your organization but have yet to realize the full benefit picture so compellingly painted by cloud providers, you are not alone.
You may have started your cloud journey by standing up a private IaaS deployment for test and development, and then added production Java, Web and infrastructure applications to your cloud mix. While you are comfortable hosting some applications in the cloud, and have a solid framework for managing this elastic environment, your monthly IT bills continue to be high.
The real key to unlocking full cloud potential may lay where you least expect it - on the legacy iron in your data center driving back-end business processing such as billing, claims and inventory management. Moving these weighty applications and data footprints can help you with compelling cloud benefits.
Before moving to the cloud, assess your IT systems
So, which legacy applications make good cloud candidates and how should you assess them? Ask yourself:
- What business value does my legacy system provide today? And is this value likely to hold true over the next three to five years?
- Can I make updates or changes to the systems in a timely and economical way?
- Is the application's workload expected to grow, shrink or remain steady?
- What benefits and opportunities can be gained by moving to a platform with compelling cost per transaction rates?
Also ask yourself if your application faces capacity restrictions today and if it has cyclical processing requirements that can benefit from the elastic nature of cloud.
After this exercise, you're likely to have a clearer picture of which legacy applications are likely to benefit your bottom line if they were to be relocated to the cloud. Now, what modernize strategies should you use?
Modernize IT systems: Re-hosting & re-architecting to the cloud
If a legacy application no longer provides strategic value to your business, replacing its functionality with a commodity SaaS offering may be a good option. As for your more strategic applications, consider two compelling modernization alternatives: re-hosting and re-architecting.
Re-hosting involves taking an existing legacy environment from a mainframe or proprietary UNIX environment and re-platforming it to the cloud largely "as is." This will lend a more cost-effective compute cycle and a streamlined, agile IT environment. Re-hosting is often seen as a quick way to lower operational costs and adds greater economies of scale to an IaaS deployment.
Re-architecting involves redeveloping legacy applications onto modern frameworks such as Java and .NET. It can help your business become more agile by simplifying code, creating more responsive and resilient applications, and streamlining often siloed environments. Since applications can be re-architected to several modern frameworks, it is equally suited for IaaS and PaaS deployments.
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