As cloud computing continues to grow in popularity, many businesses are looking to move their applications to the cloud. However, more than simply moving applications to the cloud may be required to reap the full benefits of cloud computing. Instead, companies should consider modernizing their applications and leveraging microservices to create cloud-native applications. This article will explore the concept of application modernization and microservices and discuss the benefits and challenges of each.
Cloud-native architecture is a way of designing and developing optimized applications to run in the cloud. Unlike traditional applications, which were designed to run on specific hardware, cloud-native applications are built to take advantage of the cloud's scalability, resiliency, performance, and reliability. The cloud-native architecture includes a set of cloud-specific functionalities that can help organizations make the most of the cloud.One key component of the cloud-native architecture is microservices. Microservices are small, independent units of code that perform specific tasks. By breaking down applications into microservices, developers can change individual services without affecting the entire application. This approach allows for greater flexibility and scalability, as applications can be scaled up or down as needed without affecting other parts of the application.Another important component of cloud-native architecture is containers. Containers are a lightweight, portable way of packaging applications and their dependencies. Using containers, developers can ensure that applications run consistently across different environments, from development to production. Containers can also improve the scalability and resilience of applications, as they can be easily replicated across different servers and data centers.Cloud-native architecture also includes serverless computing. With serverless computing, developers can write code that runs in response to events without managing the underlying infrastructure. Serverless computing can help organizations save money by only paying for the resources they use and improve the scalability and availability of applications.However, moving to a cloud-native architecture can be a complex process requiring significant application and infrastructure changes. Many organizations opt for a "lift and shift" approach, where applications are simply moved to the cloud without being re-architected for the cloud. While this approach can be easier and less expensive in the short term, it may take only some of the benefits of cloud-native architecture.
There is another way, however. You can get you all the way to cloud-native while keeping some apps you can’t part with. Microstack can help. Application modernization is the process of upgrading applications and retreading them to work cloud natively.There are three main approaches to application modernization: serverless, containers and re-platforming.
Serverless: This approach involves moving ahead boldly, leaving one or more applications behind and developing one or more serverless applications. Serverless computing is a set of underlying cloud services that fully removes any semblance of server management. Serverless architecture can perform automatic up- and down-scaling dictated by current workloads and demand. That means you only pay for the resources your applications use. During off-peak hours, serverless apps partially shut down, and you’ll save money. With containers and virtual machines, you’re paying for those resources to be available around the clock. Serverless apps are arguably the high point of cloud nativity. Serverless also delivers the most potential cost reduction. A downside is that apps must be explicitly written to use them. Serverless allows developers to focus on their applications instead of the headaches of managing and operating servers or runtimes. This reduction of ancillary work lets developers save time.Good uses of serverless are for new application builds. Resource-intensive code, such as an image-processing pipeline, is a great use case for serverless. It’s also helpful ad hoc when you need to set up an unexpected workload. And serverless excels when the traffic pattern rises significantly. It automatically detects the load change and adjusts instantly.
Containers: The second way to make existing applications work more efficiently in the cloud is to place them in a container alongside all requisite app dependencies — such as frameworks, runtimes, monitoring, and supporting applications — creating a self-sufficient environment. Layering in microservices and other cloud-native bits may improve elasticity and prime you for perhaps making a bigger change later. Containers are more suitable for companies that want the flexibility to install and use software with specific version requirements. You have full control of the installed programming language and runtime version with containers. That allows applications to be moved quickly between host servers and becomes extremely useful for migrating legacy applications to the cloud because it enables developers to replicate an application’s original running environment.Containers are ideal for organizations that don’t want to rewrite their apps in a cloud service provider’s proprietary code. Using containers, they can pull apart their monolithic application code into smaller pieces that can execute independently.
Re-platforming: The re-platforming approach consists of moving applications almost as is, while replacing or lightly modifying some components to take advantage of the cloud. Customizing code might make your enterprise app support scalability, for example, but probably not with some of the desired functionality of a cloud-native app. One example of a typical re-platforming modification is transforming how a program interacts with the database to benefit from platform services that enable better scaling and higher availability in the cloud environment. Re-platforming lets infrastructure teams focus on higher value-added services for the business.Re-platforming by migrating away from legacy databases is a common approach to modernization. Some will even consider switching to a cloud-native open-source database engine to replace costly licensed ones. When re-platforming database workloads, the goal is to release the organization from the day-to-day care and feeding of the database.
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