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  • Blog April 22, 2020

    Modernizing Legacy Systems With
    Cloud-Native & Serverless

    5 Minutes Read

Businesses spend more than 80% of their IT budgets to maintain old software infrastructure that fails to meet their business needs. Legacy applications demand high maintenance costs, lower business performance, lead to data loss, and come with technical limitations. The worldwide market for cloud-native applications thus witnesses unprecedented growth. The growth continues over the next five years, with more and more businesses opting for legacy app modernization services.

Cloud-Native is the future of application modernization. It has a huge potential for business impact, enabling enterprises to transition an idea into production efficiently and faster. Cloud-Native typically involves DevOps, Microservices, Agile Methodology, Cloud Platforms, Kubernetes, Dockers, and Continuous Delivery (CD). Among these varied components of cloud-native application development, Kubernetes has exploded the cloud market.

Rise of Kubernetes & Serverless Computing

Kubernetes has emerged to be the most preferred solution to manage all kinds of enterprise software. Exploding onto the container orchestration scenario, Kubernetes makes containerized applications much easy to deploy, scale, and manage. 8 out of 10 organizations have adopted the Kubernetes container orchestration platform. Users can run it in the cloud as well as self-manage it on-premise.

Related to the boom of Kubernetes is the development of serverless computing on a large scale. According to Forrester, almost half the businesses are either using or planning to adopt a serverless architecture. This kind of architecture eliminates the need for hardware management and server software at the developer’s end.

But why enterprises are considering the adoption of Kubernetes and serverless computing is a big question here. Doing so is not only the first step to transition from legacy applications and build scalable modern applications but also crucial to ensure digital transformation success. How?

Observability

As Kubernetes containerized platform meets demands for high availability, security, auto-scaling, and reliability, the scale of operations demands robust management. There should be effective management of the three pillars of observability, including logs, metrics, and traces, to debug and maintain systems. Kubernetes observability emerges to be a top priority for DevOps teams.

While serverless functions are evoked on an event and scale to zero or shutdown on completion, which is why IT administrators need a different kind of monitoring. Serverless system state and health are derived through the system properties over time, typically done through log data that permits administrators to view input and output results over time. Besides, serverless doesn’t compel you to manage concurrency.

Remember performance monitoring is crucial at the time of running serverless applications. Since serverless applications are highly dispersed with business data and workflows distributed across APIs and multiple managed cloud services, you need complete observability into the application.

Epsagon on Amazon Web Services is a serverless monitoring tool that leverages API technologies and distributed tracing to offer a detailed, end-to-end view of serverless applications.

Event-Driven Programming

Serverless architecture proves to be the best for event-driven solutions, as it is more productive than Kubernetes. Easily scalable and highly suitable for event-driven architectures, serverless computing relies on events that signal changes in a specified system.

The event-driven design allows for loose coupling of services. This, in turn, supports service abstraction and isolation, scaling, and flexibility in deployment.

Besides, versioning can be done by considering a new service. Software developers can switch back to the earlier version with much ease if the service needs some undesired change. Loose coupling offered by versioning enables smaller components to work together effectively. The process is different, in case of a monolithic architecture, wherein recompiling is implemented to incorporate software library changes.

Talking about orchestrators like Kubernetes, they allow businesses to customize every aspect of their infrastructure. You can create complex service connections as well as dependencies to deploy them everywhere.

Cloud-Native Design Patterns

Kubernetes patterns refer to design patterns for container-based services and applications. They can aid developers to write cloud-native apps, offering them a library of application programming interfaces (APIs).

As patterns are a means to reuse architectures, developers can use prevalent Kubernetes patterns. This way things work the way they should. Businesses can thus easily create cloud-native apps using Kubernetes as a runtime platform.

While, in serverless architecture, functions are more ephemeral, as compared to those in a microservices architecture. They have a known lifetime. Functions in a serverless architectural pattern execute individually or in parallel, finishing their task, and then scaling down to zero.

Triggered by events, functions in a serverless architecture are stateless. The computation that is itself stateless is the kind of problem where Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) platforms are much relevant.

Functions may store the same state through a database or another kind of data store. They, however, retain no state between invocations. This implies state from one invocation of a function is not available to another invocation of the same function. If you plan to build a serverless application that needs state data, the data should be stored in an external database.

Security

The best thing about a serverless architecture is that it lessens the burden of security and offers better security than Kubernetes. As serverless providers tackle the infrastructure, and network, or host security, infrastructure no longer needs to be managed with much diligence.

Adopting serverless security offers applications – a strong beginning from a security perspective. Yet, enterprises should remain concerned about security management in serverless environments, as new attack vectors have emerged. These new attack vectors target hosting infrastructure and serverless applications. Besides, familiar attacks for serverless environments are reimagined.

Regarding Kubernetes, they offer many built-in security features to secure their components. The built-in security features include Role-based access control (RBAC), pod security and network policies, and secrets management. RBAC enables you to specify which users can perform certain actions through the Kubernetes API. While pod security policies help to restrict actions that pods or, other resources can perform.

Kubernetes gives you the option to define a Network policy, which allows you to control traffic permitted to flow between varied endpoints and pods in your cluster. You can lockdown the networks inside your cluster to mitigate risks associated with the network. Besides, you can keep secrets (such as an SSH key or passwords) secure through Kubernetes’ built-in secrets management framework.

Digital Transformation & Digital Augmentation

The technology boom that industry witnesses through Kubernetes growth enables businesses to take a step further in their digital transformation journey. Improved operational efficiency, enhanced customer experience, and faster time-to-market act as a catalyst to digital business transformation.

To extend Kubernetes and microservices to serverless, greenfield projects are suitable for pure-play serverless. This implies lifting and replacement of a few or all the existing applications with a serverless architecture. You may have many opportunities for serverless with brownfield projects; projects that are either production apps or in-progress.

Besides, in the case of brownfield projects, DevOps teams can modernize APIs. They may extract, transform, and load (ETL) tasks through workers hosted on serverless functions. DevOps teams can thus develop applications on serverless infrastructure, used to manage legacy infrastructure too.

Remember brownfield projects are often appropriate for digital augmentation. They allow for the addition of serverless functions, thus providing access to the cloud-native world. Digital augmentations extend the useful life of an existing IT investment made by your business.

Cloud native architecture and serverless are massively adopted. Around 50% of CTOs currently use or are evaluating prospects of cloud-native architecture to stay competitive. Modernizing legacy systems helps create new spaces for partnerships and ideas to grow. To gain maximum benefits out of cloud native, businesses needs a strategic, well thought out plan that includes serverless to succeed in greenfield and brownfield projects.

Are you ready to take up a flexible and agile approach to enterprise technology, while gaining the benefits of application modernization consulting?

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