Turn your monoliths into cloud-native apps

Produce a better user experience for your applications by accelerating the delivery of new features and capabilities. In many cases, you don’t need to start writing new applications from scratch.

Modernizing existing applications can help you leverage previous investments and business logic while capitalizing on the agility, flexibility and scalability of the cloud. Whether you containerize, extend, decompose or refactor, you can update your traditional monolithic application into a cloud-native app.

Learn more about application modernization and how to get started in this on-demand webinar.

Recent research on modernizing existing apps

Approximately three out of four non-cloud applications will move to the cloud in the next three years — most commonly by being lifted and shifted or modernized. Most companies plan to extend a modernized or existing cloud app with advanced services.


of non-cloud apps will move to the cloud in the next three years


of apps will be extended with new cloud-based features within three years

Various approaches to application modernization

All have different purposes, effects, values, costs, risks and impacts. But which one is right for your business?

Simplify the move to the cloud with containers

Avoid a large-scale development effort. To migrate your existing application to the cloud, containerize the entire monolith.

Placing the application and all of its dependencies in an extremely portable, self-contained environment accelerates cloud migration by significantly reducing development work. Running a container in a public cloud eliminates the need for infrastructure administration. By employing Kubernetes container orchestration, you can simplify the deployment and ongoing management of the containerized environment. This approach can also be a first step toward applying other modernization methods.

Extend your app with cloud services

Eager to add capabilities without having to rewrite your application? Extend your monolithic application, incorporating a range of cloud-based services.

For example, add cognitive capabilities with cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) services. Or integrate shared-ledger technology with blockchain services. Take advantage of cutting-edge technologies without excessive development work, while your development team gains valuable experience working with new cloud-based technologies and APIs.

Decompose your monolith into microservices

To enhance development agility and efficiency, decompose components of the monolith into microservices, with each performing a single function. Small teams can iterate on individual application components, helping enable you to deliver new capabilities quickly — without a total application revision.

Enhance flexibility by placing each microservice in its own container on a cloud. A Kubernetes-based container service can automatically spin up new capacity to respond to evolving user demands, while avoiding infrastructure management. Running microservices in containers helps you move to the cloud gradually, with some components remaining in your data center until you’re ready to move them.

Refactor with microservices

To make your change to a cloud-native app all at once, rewrite your monolithic application entirely in microservices. Once the application is rewritten, users are redirected from the old application to the new one and the monolith is retired.

A mobile app arrives ahead of schedule

American Airlines tapped into IBM tools and expertise to integrate a new mobile app into an existing system, enabling travelers to self-manage rebooking. Using a microservices approach, developers delivered the app more than eight months faster than planned.

Ready to modernize your applications?

Modernizing your existing applications can help ease your move to the cloud, while helping enable your development teams to become familiar with the cloud-native approach. But how do you get started?

IBM Garage™ can help your team acquire the skills they need to move forward, whether they decide to modernize existing applications or build new. This consulting practice combines deep expertise with a methodology based on IBM Design Thinking, Lean Startup, agile development and continuous delivery — to help you deliver cloud-native apps fast.