GizmoxTS - Halfway Digital Transformation and Why Application Modernization Is a Priority

Halfway Digital Transformation and Why Application Modernization Is a Priority

Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:41
The world of digital transformation is buzzing with activity these days, as almost every company that hasn’t done so already is interested in moving its applications to the cloud. Why is it so critical to go through application modernization as part of this process? Isn’t it possible to leave the old Visual Basic, PowerBuilder, C#, .Net or Java desktop applications as they are, and just migrate them to a cloud infrastructure? When carefully looking into this, there are a few bridging solutions that can indeed provide partial remedy, but in order to unleash the full potential of cloud technology, it is imperative to weave application transformation into the very fabric of the digitally transformed organization.

A bridging solution could rely on IaaS for example, by migrating the old desktop applications to the IaaS environment without modernizing them first. However, there are a lot of consequences that make this solution a short-lived one as explained below. While such a solution can provide abundant hardware resources, it perpetuates all software-related drawbacks, as the application itself remains the same including its old UI, performance issues and outdated code and maintenance challenges.

While halfway digital transformation might seem good on paper, it has a lot of painful consequences

Why legacy desktop applications are a block that has to be removed

Legacy desktop applications have become a real burden on numerous organizations that will have to go through an application modernization  process sooner or later to stay competitive. These outdated systems are often sluggish and their update process often takes a lot of time and resources. Furthermore, their outdated security infrastructure can be easily hacked by sixth graders if not updated frequently. On top of that, desktop applications are isolated and don’t integrate or communicate with other systems. Such communication is at the heart of modern applications as they easily share data and communicate with each other. It is easy to understand why this is so popular when looking at smartphone apps - you take a photo, you share it with the photo editor to tune colors and lighting and then share it with your favorite texting app. Similarly, modern enterprise technologies are highly effective and enable a dramatic boost in productivity. Once an advanced application modernization tool is used to simplify and automate the transformation of legacy desktop applications, this block can be removed and the organization can finally benefit from an upgrade to a web UI, new business strategies like SaaS, improved performance and better security.

We all know what it feels like facing a sluggish legacy app. Luckily, most of us are a little better at anger management

Unleash the full potential of cloud technology by automatically migrating to PaaS!

Until recently, migrating old applications directly to PaaS was considered a privilege. However, there is no more need to compromise on IaaS when choosing a target platform for your modernized solution. Thanks to recent advancement in application modernization technology, for the first time it is now possible to automatically migrate those old Visual Basic, PowerBuilder, VB.NET, C#, .NET or Java desktop applications into PaaS as full-blown cloud applications. What has changed? Among other breakthroughs, this was made possible thanks to successful handling of application state from old desktop environments in a stateless cloud environment. Cloud frameworks, such as those based on ASP.NET MVC, Spring and Angular, are stateless by nature as the application is partitioned between the local client and the cloud-based server. In a desktop application however, everything that comprises the application state is directly accessible to the business logic - each variable, checkbox value, textbox content and radio button position. Application transformation technology that can automatically bridge this gap is therefore essential for successful transformation to PaaS, and it is so revolutionary that it is actually patented.

A word about security and how to avoid those nasty worms

Going halfway with digital transformation, where old desktop applications are not modernized, introduces security risks that can take heavy tolls. This was painfully demonstrated by the Wannacry worm in mid 2017, as it exploited vulnerabilities of old Win systems, causing massive damages by billions of dollars to hospitals, airlines and others. Those massive damages could have easily been avoided by modern security measures, which are baked into the automatic application modernization tool. What makes an old Visual Basic, C Sharp or Java desktop application so vulnerable? It is actually a combination of two factors - its outdated security standards and a wrong belief that everything is fine as long as the application is under the protection of the firewall. This misperception is exactly what the Wannacry worm has disproved – when the firewall is bypassed, all sensitive information can be easily accessed and those old legacy apps are like sitting ducks, as their design assumes only a single user and their security measures are flimsy at best and often nonexistent. On the other hand, modernized cloud applications, like those based on Angular, Spring and ASP.NET MVC, have been designed for multiple users with tight security, user management and privileges built-in. These tough cookies are built to survive out in the wild without counting on a firewall to protect them, and are far superior if you have sensitive user information to protect.

The Wannacry ransom note. Legacy desktop applications are like sitting ducks when it comes to security standards