Why open source rules legacy modernization tools
Open source, SOA principles rule app mod kingdom
The rise of the cloud and mobile and the looming Internet of Things (IoT) means that, now more than ever, legacy applications need to work for executives waving their tablets as their preferred on-the-go device. Developers are embracing anything that lets them reuse code and get modernized applications to their internal and external customers quickly, which means leveraging the best of SOA principles -- and turning to open source software, according to experts.
Using Docker popular among developers
Because it's been created by developers for developers, using Docker has gained popularity rapidly, according to Dr. Mark Little, vice president of middleware engineering at Raleigh, N.C.-based software company Red Hat. "People are … creating Docker images for units of deployability," he said, noting that Docker takes away the pain of DLL, Java and RPM and lets developers create Docker images with everything needed to run.
Docker is comprised of the Docker Engine, a runtime and packaging tool, as well as Docker Hub, which allows developers to share applications. Developers have been using Docker to bundle different types of apps, like application servers or BPM tools, as images, then deploy applications into app stores for other developers to use, according to Little.
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Vendor products provide code reuse advantages
Open source software definitely has its advantages: it's secure because everyone's able to look at the code; it's easy to customize; it means no vendor lock-in. But for some developers, it may be easier to look at proprietary software packages for application modernization.
For example, organizations that are saddled with COBOL-heavy legacy applications and want to engage in code reuse may want to turn to some of the products from IBM, according to Ed Airey, product marketing director at Rockville, Md.-based software firmMicroFocus. IBM offers five products that can assist developers with modernization, including accessing older systems, transforming applications, migrating legacy code and adding custom extensions.
It only makes sense to explore products that will allow organizations to reuse existing COBOL or similar language application code for modernization. "There have been a lot of advancements by companies with applications on the mainframe," Airey said. Additionally, developers can turn to technology that enhances vendor products and makes it even easier to extract what's needed out of existing code, using solid SOA principles, he added.
When building applications in the future, architecture won't matter
For developers modernizing and building applications, the applications themselves are going to be architecture-agnostic, building on compute ecosystems instead of PaaSofferings, according to a report from Cambridge, Mass.-based consultancy Forrester Research entitled Accelerating App Development and Delivery to Formula 1 Speeds. Application ecosystems will allow companies heavily invested in legacy applications to leverage existing functions while moving into the cloud, according to the report.
"Most applications are deployed in the cloud," noted Phil Murphy, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester and one of the authors of the report. These ecosystems will include every application that a business needs and will be built with loosely coupled service and exposed APIs for greater access, he said. That may make modernization, wherever it goes in the future, simpler for developers.
"It's a rethinking of architecture and tiers of applications," Murphy said. Different pieces of applications are going on different tiers, and it's a departure in thinking for most developers. Legacy applications are being broken down to be exposed to APIs or broken into smaller components that can be modernized more quickly to meet the rapidly changing demands of mobile access, he said. For developers, that means examining options and choosing application modernization tools that ultimately deliver the updated applications