Architecture Patterns and Strategy: Migrating Legacy Applications to Modern Digital and Cloud Platforms (Lift and Shift, Refactoring, Re-Architecting)

04 March, 2021


Imagine a customer journey and experience in a post-Covid19 marketplace. The coronavirus pandemic and progressive disruptive technologies coupled together with cutting-edge competition, continues to spur businesses — large and small  to change their business models, strategize for long-term technology changes, and increase their pace of digital transformation and adoption. 

Any business that wants to win and lead will have to adopt the flexibility and agility required to integrate IT technologies in a way that aligns with business demands. It all starts with well-defined business technology architecture patterns and strategies. 

According to Eben Hewitt, Author of ‘Technology Strategy Patterns: Architecture as Strategy’, business technology architects can produce great technology strategies through the following; 

  1. Adopting a strategic architectural attitude to achieve meaningful business impact (architecture and strategy
  2. Defining the components of a technology strategy through tried and tested patterns (strategy development) 
  3. Conveying the technology strategy in a persuasive way to different audiences (strategy communication)
  4. Employing patterns for specific challenges for a comprehensive strategy (strategy integration)

However, even with improved “enterprise architecture strategies,” a term coined over 20 years ago, the challenge of IT systems complexity and poor alignment with business goals still lingers today. A major cause of this is the reliance on legacy technology systems. 

Legacy Systems Challenges 

Yes, many businesses continue to rely on, and use outdated software systems, which are expensive to maintain. For instance, the federal government had to spend over 75% of its IT budget on systems maintenance just to keep its old systems afloat. 

With outdated architecture patterns and strategy, not only do you deal with high maintenance charges, but these setups also eat up your business productivity time. A group of CIOs in a recent survey said that they spent between 40% and 60% of their time managing legacy IT instead of focusing on strategic business activities. 

Beside this, the lack of vendor support and regular updates for old systems can significantly compromise your data security.

Put simply, organizations relying on legacy systems lack the necessary agility needed for any upcoming architecture and strategy challenges. 

 More than 8o% of IT leaders believe that their organization’s future will be defenseless if they don’t bring their technology up-to-date.

From this alone, we can conclude that legacy systems are a significant barrier to digital adoption and innovation and that migration to modern digital systems is vital for any modern business enterprise. 

Moving Legacy Applications to Cloud Environments 

Although they may still be crucial for day-to-day operations and hard to replace, legacy systems need to be modernized. Accenture research says that legacy applications modernization can help your business realize more than 35% in infrastructure savings. 

Other benefits your business can reap with legacy-system modernization include the following; 

  • Competitive advantage — using modern and lightweight applications and solutions over businesses that continue to rely on decades-old technologies 
  • Better business performance and reliability  —  decreasing system delays, which helps reduce the outage risks and ultimate losses
  • Happier and more satisfied clients  — through modern and sleek user-centered UI experiences which improve employee performance and customer satisfaction  
  • Becoming future-ready — putting your business in a position to evolve by keeping up with the latest technology trends, thus creating business agility and innovation 
  • Unlocking big data — from data flows which drive insightful business trends and data-driven opportunities  

What are The Best Legacy System Migration Strategies?

Are you ready to make the transition? Migration strategies are dependent upon your business goals.

The following are some of the best and widely utilized legacy modernization strategies to consider when planning a cloud transformation. Read on. 

The Lift and Shift Migration Approach

Also known as the rehosting strategy, the lift and shift migration approach involves shifting a part or a complete application from the old infrastructure to a new cloud environment.  

This procedure is often considered the simplest and fastest approach to cloud migration because it requires no changes or adjustments to the application code and keeps the underlying business processes intact. 

Lift and shift strategy, therefore, requires less time and fewer resources to implement, making it the cheapest with the lowest risks.

Refactoring Migration Approach 

Refactoring, also referred as decoupling, involves the movement of applications into cloud infrastructure while rewriting them to suit the new environment. Unlike rehosting, refactoring involves making changes or adjusting your application codes. 

As a result of making these code adjustments and testing, refactoring is a more complicated migration approach and thus, time-consuming. 

And while refactoring takes a considerable amount of time and is compute-intensive, it provides the highest return on investment once it’s complete. This is because the code changes to applications make those applications ready to take advantage of all the features and flexibility of the new cloud system. 

Re-architecting Migration Approach

The re-architecting migration method requires a complete and in-depth understanding of both the cloud platform and applications, including the application’s data, functionality, performance requirements, and usage patterns - so you can refactor it. 

The main goal of the re-architecting migration approach is to exploit innovative and better capabilities within the cloud platform. More specifically, it means fully altering the application code and redesigning the applications in a service-oriented, scalable fashion - enabling your business to get the most benefits from a cloud platform.

Because companies may lack the necessary cloud adoption experience when they are getting started, re-architecting helps take complete advantage of cloud-native features.

As such, the method takes even longer than the rehosting approach.

That said, re-architecting helps position your applications achieve the agility and robustness needed for future infrastructure developments.

How Do You Successfully Migrate Legacy Systems?

Migrating from legacy systems can be daunting and lengthy. However, it provides ample benefits and opportunities to your business, including allowing you to keep up with current technologies, increasing business value, and improving the management of business data and information.

Most importantly, always remember that legacy systems migration doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an incremental, iterative process that will vary for each organization. The process may include executing technologies (such as cloud solutions, mobility, advanced analytics, and cybersecurity) to transform your IT architecture based on current and future business goals as well as building a flexible foundation for future scalability and innovation. 

Next Steps: Get Maximum Business Value through Cost-Effective and Safe Modern Technology Adoption

Software is not like a wine that gets better with age. Relying on outdated software means that your business can no longer keep up with today’s emergent business and market demands. 

The right time to update legacy systems is NOW. 

You need an IT legacy system that’s able to cope with the increasingly expanding digital world. Failure to do so creates the risk of falling behind the competition, losing business flexibility, and maintaining costly processes. 

Regardless of the approach you select, the end results are well worth the risk.

You don’t have to be stuck or stranded as you can take advantage of third-party expertise.

Pronix IT Solutions helps businesses handle every aspect of legacy-system modernization: from analysis, to developing strategies and features for rebuilding your infrastructure, using the latest technologies and architecture solutions.

We’ll help you successfully implement the migration approach that is best for your business by carefully evaluating and performing an in-depth analysis of your legacy systems. We will then develop a roadmap with short- and long-term goals that need to be achieved, enabling you to migrate your legacy systems in to the cloud and forge ahead of the competition. 

Contact us for your free consultation.


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