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5 min read

Cloud Application Modernization: Best Practices, Pros & Cons

Cloud Application Modernization: Best Practices, Pros & Cons

Once confined by the limitations of legacy systems, businesses now find themselves at a crossroads where the shift to cloud platforms has become synonymous with survival and success.  

Each year, the momentum behind cloud application modernization accelerates due to its unparalleled potential to fuel growth and innovation.  

For example, according to research, cloud modernization can lead to a 28% increase in revenue growth, a 39% reduction in IT spending, and a 35% faster time to insights. 

But how can you reap all these benefits

Stick around to discover all about cloud app modernization, including how it works, its pros, cons, best practices, and more. 

What is Cloud Application Modernization?

Cloud application modernization involves updating and enhancing existing cloud infrastructure and applications. By leveraging modernization techniques, you can breathe new life into your cloud environment, fostering agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness 

But keep in mind that this is not a one-time initiative. Instead, it's an ongoing effort that helps you utilize cloud technologies as they emerge, aligning them to your evolving business needs. 

How Does Cloud-native Architecture Work? 

Unlike traditional lift-and-shift approaches or hybrid cloud setups, cloud-native architecture is purpose-built for the cloud environment.  

At its core, it enables applications to be composed of smaller, independently operating components through the use of microservices and containers. 

For businesses with on-premise data, SaaS applications, or web applications, adopting a cloud-native approach unlocks the full potential of the Cloud, enabling seamless integration, scalability, and innovation.  

While the journey to cloud-native may involve significant change and investment, cloud migration benefits make it a worthwhile endeavor for forward-thinking organizations. 

Cloud App Modernization vs Migration: Understanding the Differences 

Cloud migration is the process of transferring existing applications and data from on-premises infrastructure to the Cloud. It focuses primarily on relocation without significant alterations to the application architecture.  

In contrast, cloud modernization goes beyond migration, encompassing strategic updates and enhancements to application functionalities, architecture, and infrastructure to leverage cloud-native capabilities fully.  

While cloud migration is suitable for organizations seeking to quickly transition their existing workloads to the Cloud with minimal disruption, modernization is ideal for those aiming to optimize applications for enhanced performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency.  

For example, if a company needs to move a legacy application to the Cloud swiftly to reduce infrastructure costs, migration would be the preferred approach. However, if the goal is to transform a monolithic application into microservices architecture to enable agility and scalability, modernization becomes imperative.  

In many cases, a hybrid approach combining migration and modernization may be most effective. This involves migrating existing applications to the Cloud while simultaneously modernizing certain components to harness the full potential of cloud technologies. 

Pros and Cons of Cloud-native Architecture for App Modernization 

Leveraging modern cloud technologies and practices can unlock an array of benefits for your business. But there are also some disadvantages you should be aware of before you initiate your cloud app modernization project.  

Let's explore some of the key pros and cons: 


  • Flexibility and scalability: Cloud-native architectures provide unparalleled flexibility, allowing DevOps teams to choose the most suitable framework, system, and language for their projects. This enables customization and optimization tailored to specific application requirements.  
  • Portability: Containerized microservices inherent in cloud-native architectures offer portability across different cloud environments. This way, you can avoid vendor lock-in and seamlessly transition between cloud providers.  
  • Efficiency: Leveraging container orchestrators, cloud-native architectures optimize resource allocation and task scheduling automatically based on demand. This efficient resource utilization minimizes costs and enhances operational efficiency. 
  • Better resilience: With container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, cloud-native architectures enhance resilience by enabling quick recovery from issues in specific containers or instances.  
  • Optimization: Microservices operate independently within a cloud-native architecture, allowing developers to optimize each service individually. This granular optimization ensures the delivery of optimal end-user experiences and enhances overall application performance.  
  • Minimal disruptions: Microservices-based architectures enable organizations to update individual services or introduce new functionalities without disrupting the availability of the entire application. This ensures seamless updates and continuous delivery of value to end-users.  


  • Dependencies: Microservices often rely on specific software, hardware, or operating system dependencies. Managing these dependencies effectively becomes crucial to avoid compatibility issues and ensure smooth operations.  
  • Security concerns: Containerized cloud-native architectures introduce new security challenges. This requires the adoption of new security technologies and rigorous updates to existing systems. Not to mention that cloud outages are one big problem with any application modernization, and can affect data availability.
  • DevOps adoption: While DevOps practices are integral to cloud-native development, adopting new DevOps processes can be challenging for organizations transitioning to cloud-native architectures. Cultural shifts, extensive training, and collaboration between development and operations teams are essential for successful adoption. 

Best Practices in Navigating Cloud Application Modernization  

Successful cloud migration and modernization requires careful planning, strategic execution, and adherence to best practices.  

Here are the main cloud-native migration best practices: 

1. Agile Development 

Embracing agile development methodologies can help you accelerate the entire modernization process.  


Agile practices enable teams to adapt to changing requirements, incorporate feedback, and deliver value incrementally. This further helps you achieve faster time-to-market, higher customer satisfaction, and improved project outcomes. 

2. Selecting the Right Cloud Service Provider 

Choose a cloud service provider that aligns with your organization's needs, objectives, and budget. Consider factors such as reliability, scalability, security features, and pricing models.  

Also, evaluate the provider's track record, customer support services, and adherence to compliance standards.

Need an example? Check our guides Azure application modernization and AWS app modernization to know more about what these cloud providers can mean for your business transformation, the specific processes and the tools that each provider offers.

3. Incremental Implementation 

Plan and execute the modernization process in incremental stages to minimize disruptions and mitigate risks.  

You can break the migration into manageable tasks, starting with low-risk applications and gradually transitioning critical workloads. Additionally, you should implement robust testing protocols at each stage to ensure functionality, performance, and security.  

4. Staff Training and Skill Development 

Investing in training and upskilling your IT teams will aid the effective management and operation of cloud-native technologies and platforms.  

Provide hands-on training sessions, workshops, and certifications to empower staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate cloud environments, troubleshoot issues, and optimize performance.  

5. Ongoing Performance Management 

Establish monitoring and performance management frameworks to track cloud applications and infrastructure performance, availability, and security.  

For example, you can utilize cloud-native monitoring tools and analytics to identify potential bottlenecks, optimize resource utilization, and proactively address performance issues. Review and refine your modernization cloud strategy to adapt to evolving business requirements and technological advancements. 

Principles and Approaches of Cloud Application Modernization 

Cloud application modernization encompasses a variety of strategies aimed at updating and improving existing applications to align with the capabilities of the Cloud.  

Here are some of the main cloud application modernization approaches: 

  1. Serverless: Serverless computing frees developers from server management, allowing them to focus solely on application development. It automatically scales based on workload demand, optimizing resource usage and cost-effectiveness. While requiring specific app design, serverless architecture handles variable workloads efficiently. Moreover, serverless applications typically have built-in resilience and fault tolerance, enhancing overall system reliability. 
  2. Containers: Leveraging containers ensures consistency and portability of applications across different environments, facilitating seamless deployment and scaling. 
  3. DevOps: This approach fosters collaboration between development and operations teams, streamlining the application lifecycle from development to deployment. This can help you achieve faster delivery cycles and higher-quality software. Additionally, DevOps enables rapid iteration and feedback loops for ongoing improvement. 
  4. Microservices: Adopting a microservices approach allows applications to be broken down into smaller, manageable components, enabling continuous improvement and scalability without disrupting the entire system. 

Do I Need Cloud App Modernization?

In assessing whether your business needs to modernize its apps for the Cloud, it's essential to consider several key indicators:  

  • Hindrance to business growth or agility: Evaluate whether your current system impedes your ability to swiftly scale and adapt to changing market dynamics.  
  • Avoiding code rewrites and cost overruns: Additionally, you should assess whether modernization can be executed without extensive code rewriting, which could lead to significant costs and project delays. Seeking strategies prioritizing compatibility and minimizing disruption can help you transition smoothly without breaking the bank. 
  • Frequent downtime or service interruptions: Determine if your organization experiences frequent downtime or service disruptions, impacting productivity and customer satisfaction.  
  • Meeting customer expectations: Assess whether your existing technology infrastructure aligns with the evolving expectations of your customers and end-users.  
  • Technology benchmarking: Compare your current technology stack against industry benchmarks and competitors to identify areas for improvement and innovation.  
  • Increased costs: Determine if outdated technology leads to rising operational costs, inefficient resource allocation, or missed opportunities for cost optimization.  
  • Security concerns: Evaluate the frequency and severity of security incidents or data breaches and consider whether modernizing your applications can enhance security measures and protect sensitive information. 

Successful Cloud App Modernization 

Empowering J.Renee's E-Commerce Growth  

J.Renee, a global retailer of stylish footwear and accessories, sought to revamp its online marketplace following brand acquisitions. Facing sluggish performance and limited scalability, J.Renee turned to Mertech for a solution.  

Leveraging Mertech's expertise in cloud app modernization, J.Renee's online store underwent a transformative overhaul, resulting in a sleek, fast, and highly scalable platform. The optimized website enhanced user experience and catapulted J.Renee's sales by 5x, with significant increases in page views and customer engagement.  

Are you ready to transform your digital landscape, boost sales, and elevate customer experiences? Mertech's cloud app modernization experts can unlock your business's full potential.  

Schedule a Free Consultation


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