In the world of software, application modernization is a categorical imperative that digital transformation imposes in any business activity. Currently, in fact, software is at the center of any business, and the usability of an application must be optimized, both when considering internet browsing from an office computer, but also, above all, when using a smartphone or a tablet, using the bandwidth of a mobile radio network. Through mobile apps, the various organizations have the opportunity to communicate even more effectively and efficiently with their customers, who are increasingly disconnected from the rigidity of Internet access through the PC of a fixed location.
Why focus on application modernization
Despite being so important, in order not to fail, the new business approaches made possible by digital transformation must be able to rest on solid foundations and be based on an IT infrastructure equipped with a modern application architecture. In other words, a 'cloud-native architecture'. The latter, in fact, compared to the traditional one, often consisting of monolithic applications, complex and expensive to manage, can allow the corporate IT department to benefit from strategic development and application administration advantages. Advantages that today are essential to make business activity more agile, productive and responsive to current business needs, which are also constantly changing in the software field.
What is a cloud native architecture
A cloud native architecture is purpose built to work by leveraging the intrinsic principles and characteristics of the cloud. In the first place, therefore, it provides the ability to decouple the operation of a given software application from its close belonging and dependence on a particular hardware infrastructure. This close dependence typically occurs with classic legacy applications installed in corporate data centers: enterprise applications such as those in the banking sector, still running on older mainframes. These apps, which absolutely require application modernization, are generally characterized by a monolithic software structure, written in equally dated languages, such as Cobol, and difficult to modify to be able to support, for example, today's scalability requirements, and continuous updating of functionality and safety.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) also provides its own definition of cloud native computing: “Cloud native technologies enable organizations to build and operate scalable applications in modern and dynamic environments, such as private and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative application programming interfaces (APIs) exemplify this approach. These techniques make it possible to build resilient, manageable and observable systems and, combined with strong automation, allow engineers to make high impact changes frequently and predictably, with minimal work”.
How to build cloud-native applications
The creation of cloud-native applications can be based on the use of different virtualization technologies, which, depending on the business needs and the specific technical requirements to be met, include virtual machines, containers, serverless platforms and various types of orchestration software. However, regardless of which of these tools are chosen from time to time, the basic approach adopted in the construction of a cloud-native architecture is to break down the applications into microservices, i.e. single independent services, each of which can perform an application process, and to communicate with others via API.
Benefits of application modernization in mobile
Using virtualization tools such as containers and basing application development on the microservices paradigm allows companies to meet all the key requirements currently needed in modern software development processes, including the creation of applications for use, also in a mobile environment. In particular, by migrating to the cloud-native paradigm it is possible:
- to make mobile app development more agile and fluid, leveraging models such as Agile / DevOps
- to increase startup speed and easily scale mobile app performance, even when traffic spikes occur
- to increase usability by quickly adding new features and services to mobile apps, thanks to the greater agility of development and application modification allowed by the microservices architecture.