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App Development
6 minutes read

What Is App Modernization?

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

App modernization is an essential part of digital transformation. Technology evolves rapidly, and if your business doesn’t keep up, you could fall behind your competitors. Application modernization services help keep your organization’s existing applications performing at modern standards. 

Companies that rely on technology to power their business processes require peak performance at all times if they want to grow and compete. So don’t let legacy systems hold your organization back from utilizing emerging technologies. 

This post will explain app modernization, key technologies commonly part of a corporate modernization strategy, and a few common application modernization examples. Update your legacy applications and improve operational efficiency through app modernization. 

Understanding App Modernization 

In basic terms, application modernization is updating legacy applications to utilize newer computing technologies and approaches. For example, an organization might want to update its mobile app, web app, or enterprise software. Commonly, application modernization projects focus on updating the programming languages, frameworks, or infrastructure platforms being used. 

The best way to visualize app modernization is to imagine renovating a home. Application modernization won’t tear down the structure of your legacy application, but you might put in new floors, counters, cabinets, etc. There are several reasons an organization might consider application modernization, including:

  • Improve performance 
  • Improve security 
  • Extend the lifespan of legacy systems

Improve Performance 

The most obvious reason to invest in an application modernization project is to improve the performance of your organization’s enterprise software. Modern technology is capable of more than your aging enterprise software. Additionally, emerging technologies can provide new insights and features. However, it won’t be possible to integrate new tools with existing systems without modernization services.

Businesses today use technology to accomplish most of their business processes. Businesses that want to remain competitive cannot afford to be complacent regarding the technology that powers their internal and external processes. A well-formed application modernization strategy can significantly reduce the resources required to run your existing systems. 

Improve Security 

Cybersecurity has never been more important. Outdated legacy applications can present significant security vulnerabilities. Application modernization ensures that your existing systems incorporate modern defenses against cyber threats. A data breach can damage your brand image, disrupt your business processes, and cause significant financial loss. 

Many organizations invest in app modernization to improve the strength of their security. Unfortunately, hackers and cybercriminals eagerly exploit outdated systems. Don’t forget to think about security when your company decides to explore the benefits of application modernization.

Extend the Lifespan of Legacy Systems 

Businesses invest a lot of time and money in their technology. Simply walking away from existing technology systems, platforms, and applications when they get old is costly. Many organizations use application modernization to protect their investment in their existing technology

App modernization is a more prudent and intelligent choice for many companies than retiring or replacing legacy applications. Modernization allows companies to utilize the benefits of emerging technologies while extending the value of their existing applications. As a result, application modernization is typically a critical part of corporate digital transformation. 

Key Modernization Technologies and Approaches 

App modernization can include several different technologies and development approaches. However, there are a few that are more common than others, including: 

  • The cloud 
  • Microservices 
  • Containers 
  • Automation 

The Cloud 

Cloud computing was a major technical innovation. When the term application modernization is used, it commonly refers to migrating traditional applications to run in a cloud infrastructure. Cloud migration improves your organization’s access to your systems and adds an additional layer of data security. Almost every modern technology utilizes the cloud. Implementing a cloud infrastructure in your existing applications will improve the interoperability of your legacy applications with emerging technologies. 


Microservices are not a technological advancement; they are a software architectural innovation. Traditional apps are monolithic. This means that the application is written as a single, complete code base. Microservices is a new approach to development. Every feature and facet of the application is developed separately as microservices. The advantage of microservices is that they can be deployed, operated, and maintained independently of one another. The benefit of this approach is that specific features can be scaled, updated, etc., without affecting the entire application. 


Containerization is a cloud-centric approach to packaging, deploying, and operating applications. Containers improve scalability, operational efficiency, and portability in a cloud infrastructure. Organizations implement containerization to enable consistent packaging of their applications across environments, such as cloud, desktop, or on-premise. This approach offers businesses valuable flexibility. 


Automation is one of the key technologies driving modern innovation. However, application modernization focuses on a specific type of automation known as orchestration. Orchestration is the automation of operational tasks associated with containers, including deployment, scaling, and networking. Orchestration and automation, more broadly, are important to organizations that want to effectively manage their growing applications and infrastructure sustainably.

Common App Modernization Examples 

There are several ways to modernize legacy systems. However, most commonly, businesses will do one of the following application modernization projects:

  • Rehosting 
  • Refactoring 
  • Replatforming 


Rehosting, also known as lift and shift, entails moving an existing application from a legacy environment to modern infrastructure. Typically, this means moving an application from an on-premises environment to a modern cloud infrastructure. Rehosting moves the application as is with little to no architectural or code changes. The lift and shift approach is minimally invasive, but it might not be suited to all types of applications. 


Refactoring entails taking a legacy application and rewriting significant portions of the code to run more effectively in a new environment. Typically, refactoring requires the structure of the code to be changed and rewritten. Refactoring is a great choice when you want to take a monolithic application and implement microservices architecture or make significant architectural changes. 


Replatforming is a mix between rehosting and refactoring. On the one hand, there will be code changes made during this type of modernization. However, they will be light and typically only focused on making changes that allow the app to take advantage of modern cloud computing. Commonly, developers will modify or replace an application’s backend database to make it cloud operable. 

Final Thoughts 

Application modernization is a critical service that every business should look into. Modernization won’t necessarily update the design of your application, but it will ensure that your organization’s applications are meeting modern performance standards. 

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of app modernization, reach out to an experienced app development partner.

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