Think Big, Execute Small – Lean Thinking for Modernization Programs on AWS

The road to modernization is paved with serverless architectures, containers, and cloud-native databases

Pieces on a chess board

Enterprise migration to AWS is only a first step in the transformation journey. Migrating applications to AWS with minimal or no changes is often considered a high-velocity approach for a higher NPV and a lower risk of production issues and customer downtime. AWS migration programs are followed by a continuous cycle of right-sizing optimization, reserved instances, and continuous tweaking based on usage analytics.

The commercial benefits are typically magnified by modernizing the enterprise application portfolio using AWS’s purpose-built databases, serverless computing, containerization, and microservices architectures. These technologies, when properly leveraged, help to build a high-frequency change organization that is responsive to disruption.  

Modernization approaches can follow the Strangler Pattern proposed by Martin Fowler where new code and refactoring is handled on the edges of the legacy systems until the old application is “strangled.”

Historically, enterprise legacy modernization programs like service-oriented architectures have been start-stop affairs with challenges ranging from competing demands from users for adding new features, re-architecting and re-factoring application code, and choosing the right products from a crowded marketplace. AWS makes the road to modernization easier with a number of services that allows enterprises to think big and execute small while continuing to deliver new features to customers. The approaches include adoption of serverless architectures, containerization, and implementation of CI/CD pipelines and migration of your commercial databases to Amazon Aurora.

  • Serverless architectures: Serverless computing services like AWS Lambda enables enterprises to run applications/code without the requirement to provision or manage servers. For example, you can build serverless applications to provide scalable API services to your customers from legacy web applications without having to invest in highly available infrastructure. Serverless applications can also be built to process real-time data and back-end processing to serve requests from mobile applications and IoT devices. You don’t have to break down your big monolithic applications to microservices right away. Just look for use cases (typically all code that responds to events) for serverless implementations to modernize your legacy applications.
  • Containerization: Containers provide many benefits that include environmental consistency, interoperability (between your on-premise and public cloud), and microservices implementation. Containers also provide an easier path to migrating legacy applications to the cloud, including COTS products. AWS services such as Amazon ECR and AWS Fargate help to store, manage and run your containers.
  • Migration to cloud-native databases: Migrating commercial databases to cloud-native databases such as Amazon Aurora not only provides long-term cost savings but increases agility of application releases and operations. It frees up resources from managing routine database tasks and also provides performance benefits in production environments. You can move away commercial one-size-fits-all databases to purpose-built databases for transactions, analytics, text search, and machine learning

The above patterns help your organization to incrementally modernize its portfolio without disruption to product backlog and velocity.

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