Trust the data

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Today’s businesses operate in an age where customers, partners, and the business itself require lightning-fast services, the highest levels of availability and a rapid response to changing needs. Having a data-driven approach to application modernisation underpins all of these, which is why it is becoming a prerequisite to ensure workloads run cost-effectively and well.

By becoming more data-centric, organisations can gain real insights into how applications are behaving, and determine which ones are efficient and which ones are proving to be a drag on the company’s resources.

Cloud Centre of Excellence

According to IDC, one logistics company succeeded in moving to the cloud at the fourth attempt when it built a multi-disciplinary cloud centre of excellence. The team behind it used data-driven insights into workloads so they could better understand metrics related to the performance, security, costs, availability, and usage of their applications.

Having this data-driven approach enabled them to put into place the right modernisation and migration strategy. As a result, the company's app usage is up by nearly 90%, which means that the infrastructure supports the successful delivery of almost 130,000 transactions per week.

Collaboration, KPIs and metrics

IDC research found that the best approach in leading transformation across business and IT organisations is to build strong leadership teams that combine IT professionals from both development and I&O (infrastructure & operations). 78% of IT professionals surveyed said that expanding the collaboration between development and I&O teams would drive greater efficiency and performance.

Also, when measuring business outcomes with data-driven KPIs, it’s essential to have well-defined and measurable business metrics that can holistically measure and communicate the success of cross-team investments, notes IDC. So, for example, not all metrics are specific to systems or processes; customer-specific metrics are as important as all business performance metrics, says IDC.

Additionally, successful data-driven strategies feature the adoption and deployment of flexible and unified infrastructure, such as cloud or multi-cloud, combined with agile, data-focused practices such as DevOps and CI/CD.

Approaches to application modernisation

IT organisations are deploying various techniques and approaches to modernise their applications and measure the effectiveness of their deployment and operations with some of the best approaches relying on data and analytics. Here are some of the more popular approaches and the kinds of data that organisations are measuring and analysing to determine their success.

Application Portfolio Rationalization (APR)

APR is an application modernisation practice that consolidates and simplifies applications through retirement and decommissioning. This can drive competitive advantage, improve service delivery, and help organisations to keep up with emerging business needs.

Business and IT leaders can work together to determine which data should be collected to achieve the goal which could be to measure application usage by business unit, or measure TCO, business value, or technical health. They can then use commercially available data visualisation tools to analyse the information and spot insights and trends.

Application Cloudification

There are different ways to cloud-enable applications, including running applications to the cloud through rehosting (aka lift and shift), re-platforming applications on cloud infrastructure to standardise operating systems and databases, or carrying out application remediation to make them cloud ready. However, cloud migration may require data analytics expertise from a cloud service provider or consultancy to measure, monitor, test and analyse workloads to enable successful application modernisation.

Cloud Native Transformation

Another way to cloud-enable applications is through rearchitecting them - from monolith to microservices, and by using serverless architectures such as AWS Lambda. Cloud native transformation is considered one of the more complicated cloud migration strategies, but it can yield huge advantages, for instance in software development quality, time to market, and failure reductions. Again, this may require third-party assistance to gather and interpret the right application performance data to measure cloud success.

Application Containerisation

Containerisation is a hugely popular way of modernising applications, to run applications securely in virtual environments, and is particularly suited to cloud. Containerisation increases hardware utilisation by packaging software in a software-defined virtual environment to enhance its portability, reduce its dependency on the underlying infrastructure, and make it more cost effective to run.

BizDevSecOps

Finally, heavily technical and data-centric in nature, BizDevSecOps is a technique used by modern developers to rapidly create applications with a development lifecycle that breaks down the silos between dev and ops, with continuous delivery to yield high-quality products. It incorporates security from the start and recognises business requirements and outcomes such as the user experience and usability. However, like cloud native and containerisation, agile development techniques like BizDevSecOps are likely to require specialised or external expertise to determine the efficiency and success of an application modernisation initiative.

Effective application modernisation in 6 steps

1. Health and efficiency

Achieve greater technical health, operational efficiency, and business disruptiveness by automating application deployments and configuration, and through better management visibility and controls.

2. Agility and speed

Gain greater business responsiveness, value and agility by harnessing data-focused practices such as DevOps to be able to change, fix or scale rapidly and bring in new features and functions quickly.

3. Functionality

Boost your application functionality by improving the user experience, offering deeper access to data, or introducing new functions in response to demand.

4. Security

Bolster security by building it into the development process, for example through DevSecOps, or configuring in software rather than building additional security layers.

5. Infrastructure cost

Optimise your infrastructure costs by shifting applications to the cloud, modernising them, replacing legacy with SaaS, or rebuilding applications for greater efficiency.

6. Software cost

Improve your software and licensing costs by shifting to SaaS, rationalising applications, or introducing open-source licenses.

Supporting your transformation

Applications are the lifeblood of the modern enterprise. Organisations need the flexibility to run

their applications in the manner that best aligns with their business requirements.

Data-centric operations such as virtualisation fundamentally shifted the way this flexibility was achieved, and virtualised infrastructure quickly became a standard feature of datacentres.

Now, we are witnessing the next evolution in application architectures as organisations embrace cloud-native infrastructure and orchestrated, containerised workloads.

The Dell Technologies Cloud

Dell can help organisations to optimise their resources and transition to a modern application infrastructure. For example, the Dell Technologies Cloud enables customers to build, deploy, and manage modern applications with a consistent experience across physical, virtual, and containerised infrastructure.

Modern applications will rely on the coexistence of virtualised and containerised applications. Furthermore, having a cloud-native approach, supported by a platform like the Dell Technologies Cloud, results in an environment that is designed to be rapidly updated and is more resilient to component failure.

The good news is there are many ways to achieve success with application modernisation, from portfolio rationalisation to cloud migration; cloud native transformation to containerisation. Whichever route you choose, trustworthy data is the key.

Need to develop a data-driven approach to application modernisation? Find out more about how Dell can help you

Learn more about Dell Technologies and VMware solutions here.

Learn more about Dell Technologies and VMware solutions: APEX Cloud Services - Cloud-as-a-Service | Dell Technologies United Kingdom