Assessing App Portfolios for Cloud Native Readiness

Nearly all of our clients who experiment with a Cloud Native approach for application development quickly become believers.  The magnitude of change involved with DevOps, continuous delivery and PaaS platforms, however, drive most clients to start by dipping a toe in the water with one or two initial applications.

Once clients are comfortable with going Cloud Native, a natural next question is around the legacy portfolio.  Which applications would benefit from transformation to a true Cloud Native model?  What path will be required to get them there?  How much code will we have to rewrite?  And what’s the business case for doing it?

There are multiple options to consider.  For some applications the Cloud Native modernization business case just won’t be there and a ‘strangler application’ pattern will be the best answer.  In the strangler approach, the legacy app is isolated and exposed to new Cloud Native applications via API or service interface, providing ongoing access to business functionality.  The application is slowly retired, or ‘strangled’ as new services are incrementally developed to replace the original app.

For other applications a ‘lift and shift’ model can be used – for example Java applications that use standard libraries can easily be moved to Pivotal Cloud Foundry.  For some the only option will be refactoring or rewriting the application for Cloud Native.  Michael Cote of Pivotal has a great post that describes the various options and tradeoffs in more detail.

Clients looking to operationalize and scale the Cloud Native model need to understand the different options and patterns and how they apply across their portfolios.  In a recent post we discussed that the first step for enterprises driving portfolio transformation at scale is to profile the applications and first determine which are high potential modernization candidates (vs. migrate, retire or retain).  With our Application Profiling services EMC brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools that even help even our largest enterprise clients rapidly identify the appropriate investment path for applications in their portfolio.

Once clients have identified ideal modernization candidates, they need to go deeper into the application to assess Cloud Native readiness.  To help our clients extend their analysis to include Cloud Native assessment we’ve recently added a new capability to our Application Profiling services.  Our new Cloud Native Assessment service scans application code and within minutes provides an analysis of that application Cloud Native ‘readiness’ based on criteria aligned with the 12 Factor Model.

Why is this valuable to our clients?

  • Pattern Identification – our service doesn’t just assess overall alignment with the 12 Factor model, it also automatically identifies specific remediation points (e.g. detection of middleware dependencies or environment configuration variables). Our service helps rapidly identify common remediation actions that may be required across some or all Cloud Native modernization candidates in the portfolio.
  • Prioritization – by identifying Cloud Native gaps and remediation requirements we can then help our clients identify specific potential modernization archetypes or patterns, develop associated business cases for prioritization for these different paths, and develop prioritized roadmaps for Cloud Native portfolio transformation.
  • Speed – assessing Cloud Native readiness for a handful of apps is easy – just go talk to the owner. But that doesn’t work when rapid assessment of hundreds of applications is required using a consistent tool and approach.  This is particularly true when documentation is scarce and tribal knowledge is suspect.  Our service can help clients assess their portfolios for Cloud Native readiness in a matter of days or weeks, not months.

By extending our Application Profiling services to assess Cloud Native readiness, EMC Global Services can help clients identify the optimal cloud modernization strategy for their portfolio across the wide variety of options that exist. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

About the Author: Scott Bils

Scott is a Senior Director in the Dell Technologies Consulting Services organization. In his role leading the Americas Digital Transformation Practice he is responsible for services in the areas of Cloud Native Applications, DevOps / Infrastructure as Code, Big Data Analytics and IOT. Scott blogs and speaks frequently on the topics of application, cloud and digital transformation. Prior to Dell Technologies Scott co-founded a leading boutique consultancy focused on helping large enterprises and service providers navigate the issues associated with cloud and ITaaS transformation. Scott was also the Founding CEO at Conformity, a venture-backed provider of the first enterprise-class management and governance platform for cloud applications. Prior to Conformity Scott held senior executive roles at Scalable Software and Troux Technologies, and also worked at McKinsey and Co. and Accenture. Scott holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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