IBM and AWS Partnership Accelerates Cloud Modernization

BrandPost By Beth Stackpole
Oct 12, 2022
Cloud ComputingCloud Management

Creating cloud-native apps that deliver cost advantages can be complex. Together IBM and AWS offer the strategic planning and development expertise to help.


A majority of companies are confident in a future built around hybrid cloud, according to a recent poll conducted by The Harris Poll and IBM. What they are less decisive about is how to map the right cloud modernization journey, one that is efficient and secure while delivering business agility and competitive advantage.

Modernizing the application estate through cloud migration is a key part of any digital transformation strategy. More than just generic tweaks to the application stack or a simple lift-and-shift initiative, true app modernization involves holistic process improvements and optimizing the application mix for quantifiable business outcomes.

But enterprise application portfolio and ecosystem complexity, coupled with diverse business requirements, means there is no one-size-fits-all. Typically, this journey requires strategically coordinating many overlapping objectives in line with clearly defined business outcomes and orchestrated without disrupting business continuity.

As part of an application portfolio rationalization, organizations must understand what each application does, how it could benefit from transformation, and what path is right for cloud migration. Given the variety of factors and business outcomes, it’s a complex exercise to determine what applications should be rewritten for native cloud, refactored to better leverage cloud’s benefits, or alternatively, rehosted or relocated to gain essential advantages.

Naturally, companies are drawn to AWS Cloud to reduce operating expenses. But they may overlook the required strategic planning and lack the development expertise to leverage AWS services and create fully optimized cloud-native apps that deliver actual cost advantages. 

“Business priorities always come with constraints like people, budget, and timeline,” notes Praveena Varadarajan, modernization offering leader and strategist for IBM’s Hybrid Cloud Migration Group. “When you take all those things into consideration, it’s not always feasible to rewrite an application completely and redesign it.”

Navigating Modernization

Based on institutional knowledge gleaned from scores of modernization engagements, IBM can help organizations navigate the journey while leveraging tools and expertise from its AWS partnership. IBM guides organizations through the assessment stage, garnering a thorough understanding of the state of the application portfolio through rationalization of existing systems and tailoring app modernization strategies that add value in phases.

IBM establishes a detailed understanding of operations, identifying bottlenecks and pain points, to establish a modernization roadmap that drives the most business value. With IBM as a guide, organizations can significantly reduce the business risk of modernization and accelerate the time to benefit from migration to hybrid cloud.

Key to IBM’s approach is IBM Consulting Cloud Accelerator (ICCA), a revolutionary platform designed to map out the best path to hybrid cloud modernization. Powered by the expertise IBM has gained leading over 100,000 successful hybrid cloud migrations, ICCA delivers a step-by-step path to modernizing business functions, tailored for individual business requirements and preferred outcomes based on automated analysis and a set of complex rules.

Through ICCA, IBM operationalizes its institutional knowledge while delivering a variety of resources such as expert rules, tools, technical assets, and industry solution starter kits. This helps practitioners decide, for example, what applications would benefit from a complete rewrite to be cloud-native versus which should be refactored through use of containerization, APIs, and microservices. The result: A packaged guide to different hybrid cloud pathways, helping to accelerate planning, ensure low-touch execution, and deliver predicable outcomes.

“Think of ICCA as a GPS for app modernization,” Varadarajan says. “All the work that is typically done manually is automated and there’s this basket of goodies put in front of the practitioner to say here are the tools you should be using to accomplish your goals.”

In addition to ICCA, IBM’s mature Garage methodology helps organizations navigate app modernization. Garage is an end-to-end iterative framework that guides organizations through the ideation, build, and scaling stages of app modernization. This process helps ensure successful, predicable delivery of projects on schedule and with the highest levels of quality. IBM works with customers in a collaborative partnership, applying agile principles and using an outcome-first, data-driven methodology that according to Forrester, delivers 67% faster speed to outcomes. Customers can engage with IBM and the Garage framework through three pathways: Co-create, co-execute, and co-operate, depending on their needs.

For its part, AWS brings best-of-breed offerings and accelerators to the IBM/AWS partnership to steer organizations on their modernization pathway, whether it’s to rewrite or refactor applications.

When refactoring applications, it’s critical to decompose a monolith application into microservices that can fetch data for different business transaction. However, if microservices are incorrectly integrated, this undermines the cost and scalability benefits of the architecture and may cause data loss or latency and integrity issues, says Hilton Howard, global migration and modernization lead at AWS.

AWS helps organizations integrate microservices through services like AWS Lambda, an event-driven, serverless computing platform used to refactor applications by allowing code to run on high-availability compute infrastructure without provisioning or managing services, Howard explained. In addition, AWS API Gateway can be used to design and build complex or large microservices-based applications with multiple client applications. In addition to its sweeping portfolio of tools and services, the AWS Well-Architected program and coterie of SMEs help organization leverage mature design principles to deliver cloud native AWS services.

The mandate for modernization is clear, but the pathway is still ill-defined. With help from the AWS/IBM Alliance team, organizations can gain access to best-of-breed resources and accelerators designed to simplify and optimize app modernization while helping navigate the twists and turns of the transformation journey.

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