Application Modernization

What is Application Modernization?

Application modernization is the practice of updating older software for newer computing approaches, including newer languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. It is the software development equivalent of renovating an older home to take advantage of improvements in efficiency, safety, and structural integrity. Rather than retiring an existing system or replacing it wholesale, legacy modernization extends the lifespan of an organization's applications while also taking advantage of technical innovations.

Why should businesses modernize legacy applications?

It makes smart business sense for organizations to modernize legacy applications because (1) it extends the life of current applications, (2) it takes advantage of innovations in computing technology, and (3) it extends the value of legacy applications.

It makes sound financial sense to modernize applications because companies often have significant financial resources invested in their current technology framework, and a bottom-to-top rebuild of their core services and infrastructure may be cost-prohibitive. Application modernization allows a business to renew, restore, and revitalize computing technology, similar to the way one might remodel a home, keeping the “bones” of the home while updating that which can be modernized.

It makes sound workflow sense, because modern application computing architecture is faster, more efficient, and more powerful. Organizations may see productivity improvements through shortened compute and process times. Businesses may also see more efficient employee workflows from the switch to cloud-based computing, which can shorten the time and distance between prompt and response.


How do businesses modernize legacy applications?

Businesses are able to modernize legacy applications in multiple ways:

Complete replacement

This is the most time-consuming, risky, and expensive option. It involves taking all monolithic applications and computing architecture and replacing them with modern technology. Not only is this expensive, but at scale this would almost guarantee downtime during transition process. Critical infrastructure would be nonexistent, and many internal and consumer-facing processes would be at a halt.



Another option is to replace monolithic services with modernized microservices that can adopt computing responsibilities. This could be a simpler, more cost-effective option, since application components are decoupled and no longer bundled together.


Containers and Kubernetes

Some organization may choose to modernize applications via Kubernetes and containers. Because of their scalability and flexibility, this can be an attractive option for running legacy applications in modern compute environments with current technology benefits.


Cloud-native computing

An organization may also move in part or whole from physical on-premises servers to cloud-based compute solutions. Even if they are not ready to commit to a full-cloud architecture, some of the workload of computing can be handled cloud-side, removing the burden from physical, potentially outdated local hardware.


Lift and shift

Lift and shift, also known as rehosting, involves taking an application “as is” and moving it completely from a legacy environment to a new infrastructure, such as a public cloud platform. This is the least intensive approach, but may not be the best approach depending on the application.



Refactoring involves taking a legacy application and rewriting significant amounts of the underlying code to better run in a new environment, such as a cloud infrastructure. This approach is typically used when an application is broken up into decoupled pieces, called microservices.



Replatforming does not require major code changes, but utilizes complementary updates, such as modifying a backend database, to allow the application to take advantage of a modern cloud platform.


Why do enterprises need application modernization?

Application modernization is important for small to medium businesses, but it’s critical for enterprise organizations. Generally speaking, application modernization is a means of future-proofing an enterprise, readying it for both market and technology disruptions that will inevitably change the course of computing. This adaptability is vital to long-term viability.

More specifically, enterprises need application modernization for the following reasons.

Transition to cloud architecture

Enterprises can use application modernization as the catalyst for transitioning to the cloud. Such a transition provides the many benefits of cloud-based computing, like on-demand resource allocation, self-service provisioning, a global presence, and usage-based pricing.


Development/ production timelines

As the speed of business increases, enterprises must be nimble and agile as they deliver products and solutions to a customer base accustomed to on-demand timelines.


Preserve and maximize investment in legacy/monolithic computing

Rather than replace legacy applications, enterprises can preserve and maximize their initial investment by modernization, protecting the bottom line and communicating soundness to shareholders.


Security and compliance

As the value of data increases, so does the value of securing that data and staying within compliance for data protection and storage. Enterprises that modernize their applications are in a better position to mitigate risk and avoid breaches that could jeopardize their standing with shareholders and customers globally.



HPE and application modernization

Enterprise IT organizations are adopting and integrating containers based on the needs of their business. Yet they are also making implementation decisions based on their familiarity with container technology. Regardless of where a business is on its containerization journey, HPE can help.

HPE Ezmeral Runtime Enterprise is the industry’s first enterprise-grade container orchestration platform designed to run modern applications (both cloud-native and non-cloud-native) with persistent data. HPE Ezmeral Runtime Enterprise deploys 100% open-source Kubernetes for orchestration, provides a state-of-the-art file system and data fabric for persistent container storage, and provides enterprises with the ability to deploy non-cloud-native AI and analytics workloads in containers.

HPE and Data-First Modernization shifts the focus from infrastructure-centric transformation to data-centric value creation and elevates data as the preeminent organizing principal of a company.

The approach behind data-first modernization is getting every department in your organization (IT and beyond) to ensure the accessibility of data regardless of where it resides and eliminate data silos proactively. This way of thinking unleashes data as a lifeforce for your company to create rich experiences, accelerate decision velocity, and deliver continuous innovation to move your business forward.

HPE GreenLake Edge-to-Cloud Platform powers data-first modernization to fast-forward your digital transformation, across edge to data center to cloud. HPE brings a unified cloud experience to apps and data everywhere, eliminating data silos across multi-gen IT, ensuring accessibility of data wherever it resides, and unleashing data as a lifeforce for your company to create rich experiences, accelerate decision velocity, and deliver continuous innovation to move your business forward, faster.