Unlocking the Power of Application Modernisation: A DevOps Approach

Unlocking the Power of Application Modernisation: A DevOps Approach

19 July 2023

Johan Janssen

For companies nowadays, staying ahead of the curve is paramount, but traditional monolithic applications struggle to keep up with the dynamic demands of modern businesses. That’s where application modernisation comes in. By leveraging cloud technologies, containerisation, orchestration, and automation, organisations can unlock the true potential of their applications. The result? Adaptable, modular, and cloud-native solutions that seamlessly align with ever-changing business needs. 

At FlowFactor, we use our DevOps expertise to guide companies through the intricacies of application modernisation. In this blog, we’ll shed some light on our step-by-step process, using a migration to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as an example. Let’s dive in! 

Assessment: Building Strong Foundations

We believe in the power of effective communication and thorough understanding: getting the assessment right is crucial. By engaging in meaningful dialogue with our clients, we lay the groundwork for a successful partnership.

Firstly, we invest time in getting to know our customers and their organisational objectives. Through workshops and discussions, we gather valuable insights about their business, challenges, and long-term plans. By understanding their unique context and profiles, we position ourselves as trusted advisors capable of providing tailored guidance.

Secondly, we delve into the technical aspects, exploring the intricacies of their applications. We gather information about the technologies, programming languages, databases, and essential components they utilise. We align our understanding with their goals, objectives, and vision for transformation.

Throughout this phase, we maintain open lines of communication, conducting stand-ups and successive meetings. By fostering collaboration and an equal partnership, we strive to build a strong foundation for the project’s success.

Plan: Crafting a Blueprint for Success

With a comprehensive understanding of our client’s objectives, application landscape, and core challenges, we can now move forward and design the best-fit solution for their needs. In this phase, we work closely with our clients to bridge the gap between their organisational vision and our expertise.

One key deliverable during this phase is the architecture document, which serves as a blueprint for the transformation journey. It encompasses several essential elements that shape the future state of our client’s infrastructure. It serves as a comprehensive guide, covering critical aspects such as resource allocation, identity management, governance and compliance settings, security measures, and the network architecture. We also define the landing zone, which establishes how the customer’s environment will be structured within the chosen platform.

During this phase, we often encounter challenges, particularly when integrating legacy components with a cloud infrastructure. The cost of cloud solutions is another factor to consider. We carefully weigh the benefits and potential costs, ensuring the optimal balance for our client’s specific situation and requirements. While traditional solutions may coexist with Google Cloud in certain cases, we also need to consider the advantages of leveraging cloud-native services, including ease of use and scalability.

Migrate: Bringing the Plan to Life

With the agreements finalised and the infrastructure designs approved, it’s time to delve into the implementation phase and explore how we execute the migration process. In most cases, we will leverage the power of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Terraform to streamline the migration process. By treating infrastructure as code, we can reuse and maintain consistent code modules, promoting simplicity and standardisation. This ultimately makes maintenance and future modifications more manageable.

One crucial aspect of the migration process is establishing the landing zone, which is the foundation of the entire infrastructure. We often set up the workspaces of our IaC tools based on the folder structure of the landing zone. This allows us to deploy each component independently, minimising conflicts and ensuring granular control over resources. Paying particular attention to the networking layer is essential, as any sudden changes can have significant impacts on the entire infrastructure. By carefully managing and monitoring the networking layer, we maintain stability and avoid disruptions.

The concept of a seed project also plays a pivotal role, serving as the central hub for all deployments. It is referenced at the organisational level, providing a secure and controlled environment for executing IaC actions. By properly configuring permissions and access, we establish a clear and controlled deployment pathway from the seed project to the organisational layer, and from there to the target projects and infrastructure.

Optimise: Monitoring and Cost Control for Continuous Improvement

With the infrastructure in place, we now reach the final phase of our journey: optimisation. Optimisation is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. An essential aspect of this is the establishment of robust monitoring and dashboarding solutions.

To gain insights into the performance of the client’s infrastructure and applications, comprehensive monitoring is crucial. Cloud monitoring and dashboarding tools play a pivotal role in providing visibility and actionable data. That’s why we prioritise setting up monitoring and dashboards as part of our default tooling for both our team and clients.

A well-designed dashboard should display relevant metrics that depict the status of applications and architecture. By leveraging alerting mechanisms, we can proactively monitor these dashboards and promptly address any anomalies or critical events.

In addition to monitoring infrastructure and applications, keeping a close eye on costs is equally important. Cloud services offer robust cost control features that allow you to set up cost alerts, notifying you when you approach predefined cost thresholds. This enables effective budget management and ensures that costs remain within expected limits.

We can also generate comprehensive reports based on resource utilisation and project costs, providing our clients with valuable insights into load distribution and helping to identify potential areas for optimisation.

Conclusion

In this blog, we have provided insights into our approach to application modernisation and how we navigate the journey towards transforming applications into modern, cloud-native solutions. With a thorough assessment, strategic planning, seamless migration, and continuous optimisation, we ensure successful outcomes for our clients. Throughout all of this, communication is key.

If you have any questions or require guidance on application modernisation projects, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team of experts is ready to guide you through the process. Contact us today to unlock the full potential of your applications in the cloud!

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