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AWS Application Modernization: Best Practices & Tools

In the age of digital transformation, businesses are increasingly moving away from traditional on-premises systems, steering towards more dynamic, cloud-based solutions.  

At the forefront of this seismic shift is AWS (Amazon Web Services), leading the charge in redefining how companies build, deploy, and scale applications.  

But what results can AWS bring to your business? 

By adopting AWS, you can reduce the total cost of ownership by 64% and downtime – by up to 40%. Additionally, AWS can improve your efficiency, agility, and business continuity, setting the stage for sustained innovation and growth.  

But there are a few things you need to know before jumping onto the AWS application modernization bandwagon. 

Let's cover all about AWS, including its components, challenges, best practices, and more.  

What is AWS Application Modernization? 

AWS app modernization helps businesses harness the power of cloud computing. This process transcends the traditional lift-and-shift approach, aiming to exploit the breadth of AWS capabilities fully.  

At its core, AWS modernization is about enhancing scalability, boosting performance, and fortifying security. 

Additionally, with AWS, you can access a suite of services to streamline the modernization process. From container services like Amazon ECS and EKS to serverless solutions such as AWS Lambda, the platform offers diverse options for transforming your applications.  

These tools improve application delivery and manageability and reduce operational costs, making high-performance computing resources easily accessible without the hefty price tag.  

Why AWS Application Modernization? 

The AWS application modernization solutions and robust ecosystem stand out as its core strengths, providing everything from computing power and storage to advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities.  

Moreover, the platform's pay-as-you-go pricing model is a game-changer for cost reduction. It eliminates the need for upfront capital investment in hardware and reduces the ongoing costs associated with over-provisioning or underutilizing resources.  

This flexibility allows you to tailor your modernization journey to your needs, making AWS an unbeatable ally regardless of your company's size and industry. 

For example, businesses burdened with legacy systems find AWS particularly beneficial, as it offers a pathway to innovation without the prohibitive costs typically associated with such a transformation. Meanwhile, sectors focused on rapid innovation—such as tech startups—can leverage AWS's scalable infrastructure to experiment and deploy new features at an unprecedented pace.  

Components of AWS Application Modernization Strategy 

The modern application development on AWS unfolds in three pivotal phases: assess, modernize, and manage. Each phase aids the transition to AWS, enabling you to tap into the Cloud's full spectrum of benefits. 

Let's take a closer look at each of these phases: 

1. Assess 

This initial step is about laying the groundwork for a successful modernization journey.  

At this stage, you should conduct a comprehensive analysis of your existing application portfolio, utilizing the AWS application modernization questionnaire to understand the strategic value of each application deeply.  

This assessment covers five critical dimensions:  

  • Business fit 
  • Technical suitability 
  • Functional suitability 
  • Financial capabilities 
  • Digital preparedness 

The aim here is to categorize, prioritize, and plan the modernization sequence for applications alongside documenting the envisioned operating models. At the end, you should have a detailed blueprint for application modernization, setting the stage for targeted improvements in both technical and functional architecture. 

2. Modernize 

With a clear roadmap, you can now focus on revitalizing your apps through a well-structured modernization program. But, remember that this should be supported by an organizational readiness for change and a culture of continuous improvement. 

At this stage, you should:

  • Define project milestones 
  • Align resource requirements 
  • Foster an agile, cloud-native application architecture 
  • Adopt cloud migration best practices 
  • Leverage automated processes 
  • Establish a modern operational model 

Other essential activities include transferring your apps into lightweight containers, designing them as loosely coupled microservices, and ensuring API-centric interaction.   

At the end of this phase, you should have a robust, scalable, and efficiently managed application environment. 

3. Manage 

The final phase integrates continuous learning and optimization as core components of the modernization process. It involves:  

  • Gaining a detailed understanding of app characteristics to minimize risks and maximize the benefits of modernized workloads 
  • Emphasizing a DevOps culture  
  • Ensuring that operational features are seamlessly integrated into engineering workflows  

You can achieve this by following effective change and program management practices and committing to quality assurance and service excellence. This way, you can lay the foundation for sustained modernization success. 

Best Practices for AWS Application Modernization 

Adopting the right AWS app modernization approach is crucial for your successful transformation. Here are some of the main best practices you need to follow: 

  • Evaluate application readiness for AWS architecture: Thoroughly assessing your application portfolio is a must to determine its readiness for AWS migration. This will help you identify the apps that will benefit most from modernization and set the stage for a smooth transition.  
  • Leverage AWS-native tools: The AWS tools facilitate efficient app cloud migration, optimize performance, and ensure security compliance. Leveraging them can significantly reduce manual effort and improve accuracy in your modernization journey.  
  • Adopt a phased modernization approach: This strategy allows for incremental updates, minimizing disruption and enabling a more manageable transition. It also offers the flexibility to adjust plans based on evolving business needs and tech advancements.  
  • Break monoliths into microservices with AWS serverless features: This enhances application scalability and manageability and reduces the operational burden on your team. By embracing microservices, you can achieve more agile and resilient application ecosystems.  
  • Enable data persistence in microservices with AWS tools: Ensuring data persistence across your microservices is crucial for maintaining application state and performance. With AWS, you can facilitate efficient data management and storage solutions, enabling seamless data access and exchange across all app components. 

Tools for AWS Application Modernization 

The AWS tools can make your cloud migration as smooth and efficient as possible. Here's a closer look at the key tools you should utilize during your modernization journey:  

  • AWS Migration Hub: The hub offers a centralized location to monitor and manage migrations from on-premises to AWS. It simplifies tracking your progress, providing visibility into each application's status at any stage of the modernization.  
  • Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service): Amazon RDS simplifies setting up, operating, and expanding a relational database in the Cloud. Additionally, it can automate time-consuming administrative tasks, including hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups, freeing up your time to concentrate on your applications.  
  • Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) and AWS Fargate: ECS provides a scalable container management service that supports Docker containers. This allows you to easily run applications on a managed cluster of Amazon EC2 instances. AWS Fargate further simplifies this by allowing you to run containers without managing servers or clusters. 
  • AWS Lambda: This service offers serverless computing capabilities. AWS Lambda automatically scales your application by running code responding to each trigger, ensuring high availability with minimal effort. It's ideal for applications requiring backend services triggered by AWS services or direct HTTP requests.  
  • AWS EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service): For those utilizing Kubernetes, AWS EKS makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications. EKS automatically manages the availability and scalability of the Kubernetes control plane nodes, allowing you to reduce the burden of container management significantly. 
  • Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service): With its industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance, S3 helps you capitalize on your data's value by making it easy and cost-effective to store large amounts of data.  
  • Amazon CloudWatch: This monitoring service provides actionable insights into your applications, helping you optimize resource utilization and get a unified view of operational health. CloudWatch can also detect unusual behavior in your environments, set alarms, visualize logs and metrics, and take automated actions.  
  • AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management): IAM allows secure management of your AWS resources. This tool allows you to create and manage AWS users and use permissions to control their access. 

Challenges of AWS Application Modernization 

While AWS modern apps unleash enhanced efficiency, scalability, and innovation, they also come with their own set of challenges: 

Technical Complexities 

Navigating the intricacies of cloud architecture can be daunting, especially if your legacy systems are deeply embedded in your operations. Additionally, re-architecting applications to be cloud-native demands a profound understanding of both old and new technologies.  

How to solve this: Begin with thoroughly assessing your current IT infrastructure and identifying which applications will benefit most from modernization. This plan should align with your business objectives, taking into consideration the technical and financial aspects of the migration. 

Resource Constraints 

their daily operations. Limited IT staff and budget constraints can slow down the transition, impacting your project timelines and outcomes. 

How to solve this: Leveraging expertise is crucial, whether training your existing staff or partnering with cloud experts. You can use the help of AWS-certified professionals who can navigate the complexities of cloud migration more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition.   

Security Concerns 

Moving sensitive data and applications to the Cloud introduces legitimate security worries. Additionally, ensuring compliance and protecting against data breaches becomes increasingly complex in a cloud environment, where the perimeter is no longer defined by physical boundaries.  

How to solve this: You should adopt a security-first mindset, utilizing AWS's robust security tools and services. Also, conduct regular security checks and stay informed on best practices for cloud security to protect your data and applications. 


Embarking on AWS cloud application modernization involves navigating technical complexities and security concerns. However, partnering with a seasoned expert can help you achieve a successful and cost-effective modernization.  

A qualified application modernization partner, like Mertech, can tailor your journey to suit your unique needs, ensuring a smooth transition regardless of the chosen cloud provider. With Mertech's expertise, you can confidently overcome challenges, avoid unnecessary expenses, and enhance customer satisfaction.  

Ready to modernize your applications with a trusted partner? Contact us today and unlock the full potential of cloud modernization for your business. 

Schedule a Free Consultation

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