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Five trusted paths to application modernization and their benefits

Roadblocks to reliable service

Modern customer expectations are challenging to meet—especially for organizations dealing with the drawbacks of legacy infrastructure and applications. Application modernization is an investment that benefits businesses with future-resistant applications and allows organizations to sidestep many common hurdles, including:

  • Slowed application speed and accessibility.
  • Constant upkeep of incompatible infrastructure and application stacks.
  • Project backlog as internal and external processes begin to degrade.

Initially, application modernization appears to be another item to add to IT’s already substantial list of projects. However, application modernization is a solution that shifts organizational priorities from putting out fires to focusing on mission-critical objectives through cloud computing.

Each method of application modernization has its own benefits and quirks. Choosing the proper approach for your company is critical to ensuring that your company stays relevant and competitive in the age of applications.

Learn more: Future-proof business operations with application modernization

Five roads to application modernization and the benefits of each

1. Lift and shift/Rehosting

How it works

This process migrates an app from one architecture (or host) to a cloud-based environment. For example, a virtual machine or operating system that “lives” on-premises could be migrated to the Cloud or multiple clouds (multi-cloud).


A lift and shift is a speedy technique that poses few risks with relative ease. Rehosting demonstrates one of the fastest ROIs with minimal downtime. Lift and shift is an excellent choice for enterprises looking to execute their first application modernization. Additional benefits include rapid scalability and compatibility with other modernization methods as your company progresses in its digital transformation.

2. Refactoring

How it works

Obsolete coding languages are a challenge when integrating apps into workflows throughout the software stack. Refactoring is sometimes nicknamed “move and improve” because the application’s base code is rewritten into a modern language and then migrated to the Cloud. In other words, developers transform the application’s code with automation tools to function natively in cloud environments.


While refactoring often takes more work than rehosting, it sometimes adds more value. Developers can draw on vetted open-source code libraries and automation tools to cut down on the workload and see faster returns. In addition, refactoring preserves the seminal architecture while updating the codebase.

3. Containerization

How it works

In the past, applications were designed to operate within a particular operating system such as Windows, Mac, or Linux. This led to interoperability issues when migrating an application to a new OS. Containerization addresses this problem with containers: self-sufficient, virtual environments with everything an app needs to run, such as the base code, libraries, and other reference files. Containers are OS agnostic, meaning they run on any platform, making containerization an ideal tool for cloud application development.


Interoperability is the key benefit, but others include fast scaling, increased efficiency, and freedom from specific architectures.

4. Microservices

How it works

Older applications were monolithic, meaning that individual processes supported the whole structure. If one operation failed, so would the entire app. Microservices split an app into separate processes and run them independently.


Each microservice process can be updated or reworked without slowing or crashing the application. In addition, by spinning up each process as needed, apps can scale in near real-time to meet demand.

5. Replatforming

How it works

Replatforming is a mix of rehosting and refactoring. In other words, it rewrites portions of the code and optimizes an app to work well in the Cloud while keeping the core code intact.


Tweaking backend code means that an app will operate via the Cloud with improvements in accessibility, faster functionality, and flexibility without starting from scratch and rewriting the entire application.

Learn more: Get ahead by migrating legacy applications to cloud environments

Advancing in digital transformation

While offering many benefits, application modernization is not the final stop in the digital transformation journey. It is often only the first step in becoming a cloud-native organization with efficient, scalable, modernized operations. Enterprises embarking on this journey need trusted guides to steer them away from the dead ends and obstacles on the road to digital transformation.

OnX has been a trusted digital transformation partner for decades. OnX draws on its experienced engineers and relationships with industry leaders like Microsoft to provide expert guidance for your organization on each leg of the voyage.

Get in touch with OnX to learn how your organization can benefit from application modernization and advance your digital transformation journey.