Business applications—like businesses themselves—must constantly change and improve in response to new challenges and opportunities. In today’s world, that evolution typically involves moving some or all of your IT environment into the cloud.
While the benefits can be tremendous, it’s important to remember that cloud adoption and optimization is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all proposition. It’s an ongoing process that demands a continuous commitment—as well as complete, full-stack observability to cope with the increasing complexity of your cloud systems and to make sure you’re getting the results you expect.
The meaning of modernization
Most organizations rely on one or more of three cloud-adoption approaches:
- Rehosting (“lift-and-shift”)—moving your on-premise applications to the cloud with as little change as possible
- Replatforming—changing one or more components of your applications to achieve a higher level of optimization in the cloud
- Refactoring—making significant code and architecture modifications to achieve maximum cloud-native benefits
Rehosting, replatforming, and refactoring are all part of what Amazon Web Services (AWS)—and New Relic—call modernization: the process of continually upgrading and optimizing your applications and their underlying infrastructure and services. Modernization is the key to reaping the full long-term value and benefits of running your applications and IT infrastructure in the cloud. These longer-term transformational benefits range from boosting team and IT agility in development, operations, and change management; to accelerating technology-driven business opportunities, including new business models, new revenue opportunities, increasing customer engagement and delight, and cost optimization.
Taking full advantage of all that the cloud offers requires you to adopt a culture of, and commitment to, continual modernization. That means continuing to evaluate your cloud applications, infrastructure, and services to ensure they are optimized to achieve your business and IT goals. Applications may go through a variety of modernization projects over time, based on technical opportunities, business needs, customer requests, and so on.
Why embrace continual modernization?
Modernization is all about transforming your legacy, monolithic applications into something more agile, more elastic, and with higher availability. Our customers find that as they modernize their applications, they often find themselves modernizing the business itself in similar ways.
Continual modernization is worth the effort—as you can see from some results our customers have shared with us:
- Many companies reported cloud cost reductions of 40%, 50%, and even 97% in one case!
- Application-response times up to 10x faster
- Deployment cycles shortened from 6-8 weeks to 1 week
- Code deployment accelerated to 80-100 times per day
Modernization is a powerful transformation of both technology and culture. Yet many customers tell us they struggle to derive the full benefits of the cloud as quickly as they would like.
It’s important to understand that moving to the cloud is only the first step on a modernization journey. Even if your application is performing just as well—or even better—in the cloud as it was on-premise, you’re likely still not deriving the cloud’s full benefit.
If your organization recognizes any of the following key triggers, it may be time to take steps toward modernization:
- You’re spending just as much in the cloud as you were on premise
- Your applications aren’t scaling when needed to meet demand on your biggest days
- Your competitors are growing faster than you are or are nipping at your market share
- You customers are looking for more features than you can quickly add
- You still haven’t been able to create a successful DevOps culture
- Reliability, performance, availability, security, etc. continue to be a challenge
Observability is key to successful modernization
The majority of New Relic’s more than 15,400 customers are now running their applications entirely in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment combining cloud and on-premise implementations.
Many of them rely on New Relic to help them migrate to the cloud, but that’s only the beginning of the modernization process. Once their applications are running in the cloud, businesses find continuous value in the observability New Relic provides as they continue to modernize and optimize their applications to achieve the cloud’s maximum benefits. Those benefits typically include technology-driven business agility, accelerated time-to-market for new features and revenue opportunities, near-instant scalability for both planned and unplanned demand spikes, and constant monitoring and tuning for improving customer experience
Observability: the antidote to complexity
Teams modernize by breaking up their monolithic applications into smaller services that can be independently owned and deployed; these microservices are easier to maintain and can be reused to help speed development. Teams also make their applications more portable and scalable by adopting modern technologies such as containers (Docker) and container orchestration (Kubernetes) using Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS); AWS Lambda; Amazon EC2; elastic Relational Database Services (RDS) and elastic databases like Amazon Aurora; as well as application load balancers such as Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancing (ELB). Teams also embrace self-healing technology by implementing autoscaling groups to quickly scale up instances when something fails or demand increases (or to scale down when demand decreases); and by using multiple availability zones in multiple regions to allow for redundant architectures that are more resilient against vendor-system outages.
While these modern approaches to agile application development and operations can help companies compete better and build new and improved revenue streams, they come with their own complexity that makes your monitoring strategy even more critical. Applications now have many independent connected parts, and you may not be able to tell how the entire system will behave until it’s in production.
In this scenario, simply reacting to an alert is not enough. To track application and infrastructure performance and stability in real time, you must continuously evaluate application behavior—especially during change events like deployments. And you must constantly optimize for speed, scale, and stability.
Successful modernization never ends
AWS and New Relic both view modernization as essential to business success. Observability, while critical for cloud adoption, is even more important to optimize your business in the cloud. Continuous application modernization requires a robust DevOps strategy and practice—which, in turn, requires deep, real-time, full-stack observability. Observability enables the constant measurement and analytics to drive agility within your development and operations practices.
AWS and New Relic have deep experience working together to solve today’s complex cloud migration and modernization challenges. Using the New Relic platform to instrument your environment delivers the observability needed to speed your modernization journey.
We present this approach to ongoing success and optimization in the cloud in a new ebook, The Enterprise Guide to Continuous Application Modernization, that introduces and explains the concepts, triggers, considerations, and approaches to this high-stakes, high-priority transformation.
Read the ebook now to learn how to achieve the value of moving to and optimizing in the cloud!
The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. Any solutions offered by the author are environment-specific and not part of the commercial solutions or support offered by New Relic. Please join us exclusively at the Explorers Hub (discuss.newrelic.com) for questions and support related to this blog post. This blog may contain links to content on third-party sites. By providing such links, New Relic does not adopt, guarantee, approve or endorse the information, views or products available on such sites.