Driving a modern applications strategy: Four ways to accelerate modern applications initiatives

    Executive summary

    Many organizations have begun embracing cloud-native techniques to develop new apps, using microservices that can be independently scaled and quickly updated.

    But what about existing business-critical applications that can’t be abandoned? A modern applications approach can provide a bridge — enabling services implemented in monolithic architectures to collaborate alongside these new cloud-native services.

    This eBook describes the benefits of adopting this modern applications approach, along with four techniques for accelerating the shift.

    Benefits of modern applications

    Faster response and innovation

    Updating monolithic applications requires rebuilding the entire package — even for a minor change. Because cloud-native applications are comprised of a series of modular services that communicate via APIs, developers can quickly add innovative new features and update existing capabilities independently.

    Greater scalability and change tolerance

    Because the micro-services underlying cloud-native applications are loosely coupled, they can be stopped and started and scaled up and down independently. This makes them more reliable and resilient to changes in the service levels of the infrastructure where they are running. It also means they can be scaled out across a multiple clouds if needed.

    Reduced risk and improved productivity

    Automation is an integral part of the modern applications approach. Tools that enforce policy and reduce manual steps create repeatable processes that eliminate opportunities for errors and reduce effort required for implementing and operating underlying infrastructure.

    Four techniques to accelerate modern applications success

    • Don’t try to re-invent the wheel
    • Optimize Day 2 Operations
    • Tech estate: Leverage Existing Investments
    • Minimize disruption and lock-in

    In the next section, we will dive deeper on each of these recommendations and how to put it into practice.

    Don’t try to re-invent the wheel

    The challenge

    Building your own modern application stack almost never creates differentiated value

    The modern application ecosystem is comprised of many open-source tools. Kubernetes — the leading container orchestration software is curated by The Cloud Native Computing Foundation. A modern applications platform requires many other capabilities including image registry, persistence, networking, monitoring, security and more. Selecting and integrating those components to assemble a production-ready platform requires hard-to-find skills and very rarely adds any unique value. Furthermore a custom cloud-native platform usually results in a snowflake configuration that is difficult to sustain and scale to production.

    The solution

    Turnkey solutions for modern app infrastructure

    Focus on the strategic outcomes that modern applications drive by selecting a turnkey, production-ready platform. Avoid sourcing and configuring individual components. Streamline the procurement and configuration of your modern apps platform. Leveraging a standardized architecture that is pre-configured speeds time to production and ensures the ability to reliably go from development to production at scale.

    Deploy in as few as
    14 days
    The fastest path to the hybrid cloud1

    Day 2 Operations

    The challenge

    Risk of downtime and data loss

    With so many components in a modern application stack, lifecycle management can become overwhelming quickly. Feature enhancements and security patches require regular updates to the platform. Failure to apply patches and updates comes with the risk of downtime and security incidents. Developers and operators can end up spending their time maintaining the integrity of the stack instead of deploying features that differentiate the business. Modern applications are being used for more business-critical systems. That drives the need for the right business continuity and disaster solution to avoid the risk of data loss.

    The solution

    Maintain and scale the right service levels

    By adopting a platform that automates patching, and updating to new releases, organizations can ensure the stability and security of their modern applications architecture while keeping developers focused on innovation. This capability allows verified updates to be downloaded automatically, which takes the underlying infrastructure from one known good state to the next non-disruptively. It removes the barriers to keeping the platform current so that new features and security enhancements can be accessed as soon as they are available. This, in turn, frees up staff to focus on tasks that add value to the operation. The right business continuity and disaster recovery solution will include the ability to protect both virtual machines and containers.

    Less time patching when you empower admins with automated software2

    Tech Estate: Leverage existing investments

    The challenge

    Incompatible environments cause disruption and raise costs

    Few organizations can afford to start from scratch and walk away from existing investments in infrastructure and staff. For your modern applications approach to be successful, traditional and cloud-native approaches must co-exist pragmatically. While proprietary cloud-native stacks excel at delivering new functionality in containerized microservices, they are incompatible with valuable legacy applications that run the business. If existing infrastructure and current skills are not extended into your modern applications practice, DevOps process flows will be inherently disjointed and your architecture unsustainable.

    The solution

    Add cloud-native capabilities incrementally now to your existing operation

    The pragmatic approach is to enhance infrastructure and staff that are currently supporting virtualized apps and Infrastructure-as-a-Service in a way that adds support for containers and Kubernetes orchestration. Modern applications will combine services from both traditional monolithic apps and emerging containerized apps, and it makes sense to have those applications on the same infrastructure. Cloud-native skills are at a premium, staff with knowledge of legacy systems are valuable in their own right. You can ensure that you maximize the value you derive from both by equipping staff with tools that allow them to support cloud-native capabilities with their existing skill set.

    Increase in software to production when you can quickly build cloud-native apps alongside legacy apps3

    Architect for consistency

    The challenge

    Multi-cloud deployments suffer from inconsistent infrastructure and operations

    Most organizations plan to support multiple cloud deployment options including private cloud and public clouds. When applications aren’t compatible across clouds, IT can’t simply place workloads on the clouds best aligned to their needs. Governance and compliance across clouds is complicated because of variations in operational procedures, management interfaces, security policies and monitoring tools.

    The solution

    Streamline operations with hybrid cloud consistency

    Business, technical, operational and financial considerations should drive where an application is run — not compatibility limitations. The right approach allows the same VM or container to be moved unchanged, providing frictionless workload placement agility — we call this consistent infrastructure. A consistent operational framework improves governance, security, compliance and DevOps productivity. This hybrid cloud consistency should extend across all environments, from on-premises to edge and public cloud. This limits operational silos, increasing efficiency and reducing risk.

    cloud service provider partners help us create a consistent experience across multiple clouds4

    Modern applications: the Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services solution

    APEX Cloud Services delivers a simple and direct path to Kubernetes at cloud scale with a complete, automated platform containing a curated set of open source technologies. It supports traditional virtualized applications and emerging containerized applications with Kubernetes orchestration on the same infrastructure, extending existing investments by enabling the incremental adoption of cloud-native technologies.

    VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail provides the fastest path to hybrid cloud. Automated lifecycle management ensures workload continuity through non-disruptive patches and version upgrades. Nodes can be added or retired non-disruptively, enabling seamless scalability. And with the support of mixed node clusters, you can incorporate newer hardware in your cluster non-disruptively, so no downtime or painful data migrations.

    VMWare TanzuTM Kubernetes Grid (TKG) provides a consistent platform across multiple clouds, so you can keep resources focused on innovation. It enables you to deploy, run and manage Kubernetes for production with a familiar VMware toolset. It is proven technology that is deployed in many organizations that are leading in terms of adoption of cloud-native technologies.

    Dell Technologies can help you embrace modern apps with confidence

    A modern applications approach is at the heart of delivering innovative products and services, enabling reduced TCO, improved service levels and more agile and scalable IT.

    Dell Technologies helps customers embrace modern applications in a pragmatic way, protecting existing investments from pilot to production and establishing a sustainable approach that leverages automation and consistency across multiple clouds.

    APEX Cloud Services is built on proven components from Dell EMC and VMware, backed by our service professionals and service provider partners, who can help with all aspects of cloud-native technologies and Kubernetes orchestration — from architecture to education to managed services and hosting.

    APEX Cloud Services is a set of cloud infrastructure solutions built on Intel® architectures and are supported by the industry’s broadest ecosystem. This provides trusted cloud computing and enhanced security, along with workload-optimized and scalable performance across public clouds, private clouds, and edge locations.

    • 1Select configurations only. Customer site survey and configuration workbook must be completed before order is placed. Excludes orders over 24 nodes, VMware NSX configuration, vRealize (vRA, vRO) components, and some other features. Product availability, holidays, and other factors may impact deployment time. US only.

      2Average results based on interviews with VMware customers