Cloud computing is no longer pure hype or a fad—it’s long been a business best practice. According to the 2021 Flexera “State of the Cloud” report, 99 percent of organizations are now using at least one public or private cloud.
Yet while an overwhelming majority of companies have at least dipped their toes in the proverbial water, actually using the cloud to its fullest potential is a different story entirely. For example, many organizations are still wedded to their monolithic legacy software on-premises, preventing them from taking full advantage of the cloud. In a study by the MIT Technology Review, 62 percent of businesses said that legacy systems were one of their top two challenges when moving to a multi-cloud environment.
With legacy IT holding you back, you might think that you need to go through a long and arduous modernization process before you can move these applications to the cloud. The good news is that’s no longer true. With just a bit of tweaking, you can use containerization to make your legacy systems more portable for cloud migration. But what is containerization exactly, and what are the benefits of containerization for businesses looking to modernize their legacy IT?
What Is Containerization?
Containers are software “units” that bundle up an application’s source code together with the libraries, configurations, and dependencies it requires. By wrapping your software in a container, you can ensure that it runs predictably and reliably, even in very different IT environments.
Like virtual machines, containers are a virtualization technology, but they have several differences and advantages over VMs. For one, containers virtualize a single operating system to run multiple workloads, whereas VMs use hardware-level virtualization to run multiple operating systems. Containers are also much lighter than VMs: they’re only a few megabytes in size and can start up nearly instantaneously.
Thanks to their minimized footprint and portability, containers are transforming how companies build, deploy, and use their enterprise software in the cloud. According to IT research and advisory firm Gartner: “By 2023, more than 70 percent of global organizations will be running more than two containerized applications in production, up from less than 20 percent in 2019.”
The Benefits of Containerization
There are multiple benefits to containerizing your legacy applications. In this section, we’ll go over three of the most significant advantages of containerization for businesses struggling to move their legacy IT to the cloud.
Accelerating Your DevOps pipeline
DevOps is a software development methodology that seeks to foster closer collaboration and tighter feedback loops between the development and IT operations teams. So how can using containers help you improve your practice of DevOps?
The greatest benefit of containers is that they provide a predictable environment in which applications can run. Developing, testing and deploying applications in containers from start to finish means that the software will always behave consistently, even across different machines. This makes it easier for multiple teams and departments to share their work and collaborate.
Containers cleanly separate the concerns of developers and IT operations teams: developers can focus on the underlying code base and application logic, while operations teams can focus on the tasks of application deployment, management, and maintenance.
Faster Time to Market
Next, containers make it easier to achieve a faster time to market for your enterprise applications. Containers enable both sides to concentrate on doing their job faster and better, making development and operations teams more productive and effective. Containers also simplify the task of scaling your application’s workload in response to increases and fluctuations in demand.
Another benefit of containerization is that containers are language- and framework-neutral. Developers can use containers for almost any kind of programming language, software framework or platform. You’re free to choose the technology stack that’s most familiar or convenient for you, which will ultimately help improve your time to market.
Monolithic to Microservices
Traditionally, software has been built using a “monolithic” architecture that treats applications as a single, indivisible unit. However, the highly complex code bases of monolithic software make it harder to implement changes or scale the application.
Instead, many businesses are switching to a microservices architecture consisting of many smaller, independent components that communicate with each other using APIs (application programming interfaces). Each microservice can be deployed in its own container, providing greater stability and predictability.
From accelerating your DevOps pipeline to enabling microservices-based architectures, there are many benefits to modernizing your legacy applications using containers. For more information, download our white paper, “Are We There Yet? Your Guide to Modern Application Development.”
Need assistance with containerization and moving to the cloud? Datavail can help. We’ve partnered with hundreds of clients to migrate their legacy on-premises applications to the cloud, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud. Get in touch with our team of IT experts for a chat about your business needs and objectives.
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