Leaving A Legacy of Cloud


Businesses embraced cloud migration of legacy applications, but there are several details being overlooked

Cloud migration is no longer a trend businesses have realised the critical necessity of transferring their applications to the cloud. A ResearchAndMarkets report predicts that the application transformation will grow over $16 billion globally by 2024. While several enterprises are successfully hosting cloud applications, some brands have been facing trouble amid the digital rush of the pandemic.

The most critical complication is of legacy applications. A recent report by Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-cloud revealed that 77 per cent of IT leaders believe that the primary motivation for the migration of legacy applications was to secure data, optimise storage resources, and accelerate the digital transformation. Moreover, 78 per cent of respondents state that the IT management systems were responsible for the transformation.

While the core responsibility of the IT teams includes cloud security of the legacy applications that were earlier protected by on-premise, traditional security, experts recommend brands to retire redundant applications. They believe some legacy platforms and applications no longer hold business value in the digital age; migration efforts greater than the ROI are not worth the upgrade. Careful consideration of compatibility and agility is critical. These decisions can save the organisation money and give them more time to focus on the migration of necessary legacy applications.

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Most legacy systems, also termed monoliths, are divided into single applications that consist of a massive codebase and services that include storage, reverse proxy, and databases. These critical business functions that run on older technology might not have source codes or a skilled maintenance team. Many organisations want to migrate their legacy applications to the cloud for efficiency and management. However, experts warn not to rush into the process. There is a possibility that the cost and risks of the migration might not be worth the effort. Why?

There are legacy applications that consistently evolve with new features. Many brands do not change their legacy code during migration, so they are left unprotected when new features are added. Experts recommend adding cloud capabilities that will continuously enhance the application performance and productivity that would include the new features as well. Another strategy is to depend on a separate serverless architecture. If done methodically, it can improve productivity, flexibility, and reduce company expenditure. 

Some companies try to force legacy applications to follow the rules of the cloud platform, which can cause complications in the near future. According to cloud specialists, the first step should comprise a strategic plan with business goals. The long and short term migration goals could include scaling, better ROI, improved security, or reduced on-site access. 

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The execution process demands multiple technical strategies and testing. Before the main upgrade, a testbed with behaviour analysis of the application is also recommended. The complications do not end with the migration process. The Lemongrass study revealed that 34 per cent of the legacy cloud platforms did not work as expected, and another 34 per cent cited the lack of in-house skills.

Depending on the end result, brands should decide if the migration of a particular legacy application is viable and worth the effort and risk. An alternative is to look for a cloud-friendly replacement of the same.

An expensive but easy way out of the legacy application migration is a cloud-native system. Many brands invested in the cloud-native industry since the advent of cloud computing. Last year, the industry saw the most strategic acquisitions. Cisco bought Banzai Cloud that uses open-source tools to launch cloud-native applications and VMware acquired Octarine that works with containers and Kubernetes security. These acquisitions portray the irreversible shift into the cloud. It’s about time enterprise business strategy grows with technology and embraces cloud migration and invests in cloud innovations.