What's the Difference Between Application and Operational Modernization?

3 min read

Traditional WebSphere and modern apps will coexist for a long time. Your modernization story should address both.

Enterprises are being challenged like never before to be innovative, to be disruptors, to go faster, and to do more with less. To meet this challenge, the way applications are designed, built, deployed, and managed has evolved.

The way IT was done 10 years ago is insufficient—modern applications rely on new architectures, powerful platforms, intelligent automation, and integrated cross-disciplinary teams. And yet, all of the IT assets and investments from the last 20+ years are still around, are still business critical, and need to find a path forward to the modern world.

Enter the application and operational modernization journey.

The modernization journey

Modernization is a strategic journey navigated over time where you transform your existing assets and environments to conform to modern best practices. Application and operational modernization are becoming imperatives for organizations, and it is important to understand that each has different benefits, starting assumptions, and drivers throughout the journey.

Application modernization, by its very nature, is a developer activity. Whether the application is refactored into microservices, augmented with new services like AI or blockchain, or is simply updated to run on the latest APIs and runtime stack, application modernization requires the development team to change the application. This modernization process presents an opportunity to solve scalability, reliability, and performance problems in existing applications.

By contrast, operational modernization is driven by the IT operations team when they are empowered to embrace new platforms and management tools which do not require changing the application or its architecture. Operational modernization presents an opportunity for organizations to streamline skills and technologies to reduce total cost of ownership.

Which modernization journey you begin with depends on the needs and capacity of your organization. It is not uncommon for organizations to dedicate developer time to explore building new applications and environments without dedicating time to explore the modernization effort of the existing asserts and environments. This can lead to divergent environments: the “old” and the “new.”

Tip: Avoid these common mistakes—check out "3 reasons most modernization projects may not deliver business value."

The reality is that traditional and modern application environments will exist side-by-side for an extended period of time—potentially indefinitely—as business priorities dictate. Instead of treating these application environments as two distinct worlds (i.e., “old” and “new”) it is critical to manage both assets as one environment to leverage your existing IT investment and drive innovation with speed and agility.

Modernize WebSphere apps and build new cloud-native apps

The operational modernization journey blends the “old” and “new” environments by creating a common management interface. It enables the operations team to move forward, without needing to put change requirements on the development team, and to embrace modern operations best practices in order to prepare for the transformation to containers and cloud-native applications. As financial enterprise Finanz Informatik learned, operational modernization is a powerful first step to the application modernization journey.

The newest update to WebSphere, WAS 9.0.5, delivers new operational modernization components which aid customers on a WebSphere-centric modernization journey to Kubernetes.

The new Application Navigator feature provides a dashboard with visibility to applications across traditional and container-based deployments, and Kubernetes-based logging and monitoring services are now available for use to centralize logging and monitoring for existing WebSphere environments.

Webcast: 3 New Ways to Help You Get to Containers with WebSphere ND

Watch an on-demand webcast recording to learn more about operational modernization and application modernization and see how today’s WebSphere is designed to help you get to containers.

Sign up to watch the recorded webcast: 3 New Ways to Help You Get to Containers with WebSphere ND

Talk to our modernization experts one-on-one at the European Application Platform and Modernization Summit September 9-10, 2019, in Hursley, England.

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