There are many benefits to cloud modernization. However, prior to embarking on a cloud strategy, ISVs should understand what stage of cloud maturity both their organisation and applications are at. An experienced Azure partner can support them in getting the most from the cloud on their journey to modernized applications.
Application Modernization can provide ISVs with scalability, a reduction in costs and significant business growth. With the benefits associated with Azure, it is no surprise that ISVs are interested in cloud migration and modernization. While embracing cloud technology is important for application scaling, before embarking on their cloud modernization journey, ISVs must consider their cloud maturity stage.
Prior to committing to a cloud strategy, ISVs must review their own cloud readiness. This includes reviewing existing technologies, databases and internal stakeholder openness to digital transformation. Without establishing this, an organization may dive into a stage that does not match it’s requirements. This can waste vital resources or damage future cloud plans. For example, a ‘lift and shift’ approach may be the right fit over a complete application modernization, which requires re-architecture. This will allow the ISV to make a decision that best fits their business needs, resources and development capabilities. ISVs will be able to create a strategic development approach to cloud innovation.
ISVs must take a holistic view of their applications and data storage. When organizations are beginning their cloud journey from on-premise applications to the cloud (and eventually to modernization) there may be a plethora of data sources, legacy applications, processes and complexities to consider. The goal is to keep downtime to a minimum. Microsoft has developed a cloud maturity model to support organizations in their digital transformation, it is particularly useful for ISVs investigating application modernization (Microsoft, 2019 : https://devblogs.microsoft.com/premier-developer/understanding-your-cloud-adoption-maturity-level/). Also, it is important to highlight the value of having an Azure partner at the various stages of the journey.
The first stage of the maturity model is the Foundational stage. This is when Lift and Shift migration takes place (Microsoft 2018 : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/videos/build-2018-app-modernization-with-microsoft-azure/). At this stage, cloud migration provides limited but effective benefits without major rewriting of applications. The on-premise or virtual machine is transferred to the Azure environment. This may be in response to an immediate business or application requirement.
Why would an ISV choose this approach? ISVs at this stage may be exploring the potential benefits of Azure such as reducing spend on on-premise databases. However, they may not have a full understanding of Azure, business goals featuring cloud technology or complete stakeholder buy-in.
The next stage of the cloud maturity journey is intermediate maturity. ISVs may have already experienced the benefits of the Lift and Shift approach, having migrated their data to managed databases and developing knowledge of Azure (Microsoft 2018 : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/videos/build-2018-app-modernization-with-microsoft-azure/). They can see more potential in what Azure can bring their applications and business. While there is no linear journey to take, following this stage ISVs may decide to optimise applications for the cloud.
Beyond Lift and Shift, there are further benefits of hosting applications in containers, these include development agility, application portability and increased security. This agility provides the ISV with more business opportunities and reliability, with limited code rewriting. At this stage, ISVs may have experience of Azure and it’s benefits and want to drive further cloud adoption.
At the Advanced stage, ISVs have fully embraced cloud technologies and have established clear cloud-focused goals. They may have completed the first two stages of the cloud maturity model and want to access the full capabilities of Azure.
This stage is the most complex as applications have to be rewritten for the cloud. Here organizations complete a full application Modernization. Cloud-Native Applications are serverless and are optimized for long term agility and scalability. Azure autoscaling allows these modernized applications to scale up and down to meet demand (Microsoft 2018 : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/videos/build-2018-app-modernization-with-microsoft-azure/).
These ISVs will have a full understanding of Azure including the overall cost benefits and scalability it will provide. While at this stage, applications are modernized, which involves development and downtime, they deem this worthwhile for long term growth. As Azure technology continues to develop and evolve, cloud-native applications can evolve with it. Continuously, new features and benefits are released and therefore it is recommended to have an end goal of application modernization.
While there is no direct line to modernization many follow this trajectory from on-premise to complete application modernization. This is dependent on the ISV’s needs, Azure knowledge, and stakeholder buy-in.
It is beneficial to work with an experienced cloud partner who can support you in assessing these needs, your cloud maturity and what steps to take. Spanish Point Technologies works closely with ISVs at all stages of the cloud maturity journey – from Foundations to Advanced stages.
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