Apps

Creating good vibrations with app modernization

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app modernization good vibrationsWhat do sleigh bells, bongos, empty soda cans, trains and a barking dog having in common with application modernization? To explain, let’s travel back to the 1960s.

In 1966, the Beach Boys released their album Pet Sounds, which is often regarded as one of the most influential albums in the history of music.

Pet Sounds advanced the field of music production through the way the band was able to capture a wider, more complex mix of sounds into one song. It had not really been done before. The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, the creative genius behind Pet Sounds, accomplished this through the use of multitrack recording, which is the process of capturing different channels of sound on the same recording medium, then dividing them into separate tracks that run parallel with each other for playback.

In much the same way, developers deconstruct traditional, monolithic applications into microservices, each running in their own container.

Wilson’s audio innovation enabled the band to record on both four-track and eight-track recorders to mix a vast array of musical instruments rarely used in rock music, such as an accordion and an ukulele, and record completely off-the-wall things such as a soda can, bicycle bell and even a dog barking.

By using the same microservice ideology of creating loosely coupled services instead of a large monolithic application, Wilson, along with every modern-day musician, can record music in loosely coupled audio tracks instead of recording all of the elements of a song on a single track.

Before the use of the multitrack recorder, all of the singers and band instrumentalists would have to sing and play together during a recording session that was captured on one single track. If a musician wanted to make a change to the melody of a vocal, change the tune of a guitar or simply just experiment with the song, they would have to start from scratch and re-record it all together. This process is eerily similar to how a monolithic application operates, and it raises the same problems developers face in lacking the flexibility needed to scale functions, make alterations and add new features. It also creates higher costs related to maintenance.

Multitrack recording had been around for a few years prior to Pet Sounds, but that groundbreaking album made the containerization of music into multiple tracks an industry standard and paved the way for new sounds from other acts, such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Many recording artists have departed from the small-ensemble electric rock band format and have championed the ease of scaling new sounds into musical compositions by separating the elements of a song in multiple tracks.

The same can be said about app modernization. The idea of containerizing and breaking down older, monolithic applications into smaller services to use cloud services while reducing costs and simplifying operations is beginning to revolutionize the way enterprises support their entire application estate. There are also other approaches businesses can take to start their modernization journey that may better align with their inventory and needs.

A few approaches include:

  • Containerize the monolith to reduce costs and simplify operations.
  • Expose on-premises assets with APIs, which enable established assets that are difficult to enable on cloud.
  • Refactor into microservices by breaking down monoliths into deployable components.
  • Add new microservices to innovate incrementally and establish success early.
  • Selectively refactor or strangle the monolith to incrementally sunset it.

Much like how the Beach Boys enlightened millions of musical acts by breaking down barriers for how music was traditionally produced, IBM is empowering enterprises to accelerate agility and reduce operational costs by helping them modernize their existing environments.

It can be a serious challenge for an organization to get started on their modernization journey in a multicloud environment, which is why IBM is bringing app modernization expertise to a city near you. To learn more, register for one of these upcoming application modernization events.

DevOps Workshop: Moving Apps to Modern Architectures

App Modernization Summit

Program Director, WAS Product Management, IBM

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