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Top 8 Legacy Modernization Tools for 2024

July 16th, 2024

According to Statista, the market for legacy modernization tools might reach $36.86 billion by 2027. This growth signifies an increasing demand for modernization in organizations worldwide. However, the journey towards modernization isn’t always successful. In fact, nearly three out of four organizations fail to modernize legacy systems effectively. The best legacy modernization tools can help your organization overcome these challenges.

What Are Legacy Modernization Tools?

Legacy modernization tools are software solutions designed to upgrade applications based on outdated technology and transform them into modern software. According to TechRadar, more than 70% of software that Fortune 5000 companies rely on was developed more than 20 years ago. Modernization solutions upgrade these legacy applications and data to new platforms, improving performance, security, and scalability. 

However, each legacy system’s diversity and unique requirements make finding a universal legacy modernization tool challenging. Additionally, old systems often lack detailed documentation, adding another layer of complexity to the modernization process. Here are some of the most common barriers to successful legacy modernization: 

The Biggest Legacy System Modernization Challenges 

(According to Industry Experts) 

Time Constraint to Finish Modernization  83.2% 
Predicting ROI  79.2% 
Data Migration  79.5% 
Funding Migration Project  79.7% 
Lack of Knowledge  79.3% 
Difficult to Test  77.9% 
Resistance from Staff  69.8% 
Difficult to Extract Business Logic  72.7% 
Non-evolvable System Architecture  71.1% 
Difficult to Communicate Consequences  73% 
Difficult to Prioritize Functionality  70.7% 
Cultural Resistance from Organization  57.1% 

Source: UTRECHT UNIVERSITY 

 The best legacy modernization tools ensure a seamless transition from legacy systems with minimal disruption to daily business operations. It also improves the performance and functionality of the updated system, laying a solid foundation for future growth and innovation. 

Legacy Modernization Tools

Types of Legacy Modernization Tools

When considering legacy modernization software, it’s essential to understand the various tools available and how they fit into your specific needs and goals.  

Application Replatforming

Scope: Application replatforming helps you move applications from a legacy environment to a modern platform with minimal changes to the code. This approach optimizes the application for better performance and scalability without a complete overhaul.  

Limitations: While it improves performance, replatforming still needs to fully leverage the new platform’s capabilities. It also requires a certain level of compatibility between the legacy system and the new platform. 

Best Case Scenario: Application replatforming works well with moving data from an on-premise legacy system to a modern cloud-based platform. The replatforming process involves minimal code changes but optimizes the application for better scalability and performance, handling high-performance requirements without a complete code rewrite. 

Ideal for: Organizations looking to modernize with minimal disruption can benefit from replatforming. This approach works well for businesses that need to extend the life of their applications while planning for more comprehensive modernization in the future. 

Example: An online retailer moves its e-commerce application from an on-premises IBM WebSphere server using Java EE to AWS for better scalability and performance. The replatforming involves rehosting the application on AWS Elastic Beanstalk migrating the database from IBM DB2 to Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL. 

Code Refactoring

Scope: Code refactoring involves restructuring existing code without changing its external behavior. This process aims to improve code readability, which reduces code complexity and enhances maintainability. 

Limitations: Refactoring requires significant developer expertise and time. It doesn’t add new features or functionality but can introduce new bugs. 

Best-Case Scenarios: This approach is best suited for systems with high technical debt where the core logic is still valuable. It’s ideal for improving long-term maintainability and preparing for future updates. 

Ideal for: Refractoring is ideal for organizations with in-house development teams skilled in legacy languages looking to improve the quality and longevity of their codebase. 

Example: A financial services firm enhances the maintainability of its complex trading application, which was built with outdated Java code. The firm conducts static code analysis, applies various refactoring techniques, and ensures code stability through automated testing. 

Legacy-to-Modern Language Conversion Options

Scope: This process includes converting code written in a legacy language to a modern programming language. Automated conversion tools can assist in this process, but manual intervention is often required. 

Limitations: Language conversion is complex and requires expert knowledge of legacy and modern systems. This process might be complex considering the need for more experts and legacy vendors is a significant challenge for organizations using legacy systems. Even when the organization has experts, converting legacy code is time-consuming. 

Best-Case Scenario: This scenario is ideal for applications that need to be maintained or extended but are constrained by the limitations of an old programming language.  

Ideal for: Organizations looking to leverage modern development tools and practices while preserving the functionality of their existing applications have the most benefit from language conversion. 

Example: An organization wants to convert its COBOL-based system to Java. To ensure accuracy, it leverages automated tools to handle the bulk of the conversion, with manual intervention from experts familiar with COBOL and Java.  

API Management and Integration Tools

Scope: These tools facilitate the integration of legacy systems with modern applications through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). APIs enable data exchange and seamless communication between disparate systems. 

Limitations: While APIs can connect systems, they don’t modernize the underlying legacy application. 

Best Case Scenarios: These tools are suitable situations where one must extend the functionality of legacy systems by integrating them with modern applications or third-party services. 

Ideal for: Businesses looking to enhance interoperability and extend the life of legacy systems without a full-scale modernization project (while ensuring minimal downtime).  

Example: A logistics company with a legacy warehouse management system (WMS) must integrate with a new, modern ERP system to streamline operations. The company develops APIs to expose data and functionalities of the legacy WMS. These APIs enable modern ERP systems to interact seamlessly with warehouse data. This integration bridges the gap between the old and new systems, enhancing data accessibility and operational efficiency. 

Cloud Migration Options

Scope: Cloud migration moves applications, data, and other business operations from on-premises infrastructure to a cloud environment. This can include rehosting, refactoring, and rearchitecting applications for the cloud. 

Limitations: Cloud migration can be complex and requires careful planning to avoid data security, compliance, and potential downtime issues. 

Best Case Scenario: These tools effectively migrate on-premise legacy systems to a cloud environment, using a combination of rehosting and refactoring to optimize the applications for the cloud.  

Ideal for: Cloud migration is perfect for organizations seeking scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. It’s best for applications that benefit from cloud-native features such as auto-scaling and high availability. It is also ideal for businesses looking to reduce IT infrastructure costs and increase agility by leveraging cloud technologies. 

Example: For a global media company with large-scale digital assets and content management systems seeking better scalability and cost efficiency, migrating their existing systems to a cloud-based platform will enhance their ability to manage digital assets and handle increased data volume efficiently. This transition will improve their operational efficiency and result in significant cost savings by helping them leverage the scalability of cloud infrastructure. 

Benefits of Using Legacy Modernization Software

  • Cost Reduction: Maintaining old systems is often expensive due to regular repairs and updates. TechRadar says 60-80% of the IT budget is spent on maintaining legacy apps and on-site hardware. IT teams only have 20-40% of their total budget for everything else. Legacy modernization tools streamline these processes, reducing the need for extensive manual intervention. This increase in productivity lowers maintenance costs and saves money by minimizing the risk of system failures and downtime. 
  • Increased Reusability: Legacy modernization tools enable the reuse of existing software components, which teams can repurpose for new applications. This increased reusability reduces the need to develop new software from scratch, saving time and resources.  
  • Increased Agility: Modernized systems can enhance your organization’s agility by enabling faster and more efficient responses to market changes and customer demands. With updated technology, businesses can quickly adapt to new trends, launch new products, and implement changes without being bogged down by outdated systems. 
  • Increased Flexibility: Modern systems are more adaptable and easily integrate with new technologies and platforms. Legacy modernization tools help your organization incorporate new functionalities and scale its operations as needed, ensuring it can meet future demands without significant overhauls. 
  • Improved Performance: Legacy modernization tools update the underlyin technology, which can help your organization enhance processing speed, reduce latency, and increase the reliability of the modernization process. Improved performance ensures systems can handle higher user demand and provide a better user experience, which is critical for business success. 
  • Increased Maintainability: Modernized systems are easier to maintain due to better documentation, standardized processes, and modern development practices. This increased maintainability reduces the time and effort required for updates and troubleshooting, allowing IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. 
  • Increased Competitiveness: Legacy modernization platforms help businesses keep pace with technological advancements and industry standards. By updating their systems, your organization can offer better products and services, meet regulatory requirements, and avoid the risks associated with obsolete technology. 
  • Increased Availability: Modernized systems often feature improved availability and uptime. With better infrastructure and more reliable platforms, businesses can ensure their systems are available to users whenever needed. This increased availability helps maintain customer satisfaction and operational continuity. 
  • Faster Time-to-Market: Legacy modernization tools enable faster application development and deployment. By automating processes and integrating modern development practices, these tools reduce the time required to bring new products and features to market. This faster time-to-market allows businesses to respond more quickly to customer needs. 
  • Increased Interoperability: Legacy modernization tools enhance legacy systems’ interoperability, making it easier to integrate them with new applications and technologies. This increased interoperability ensures that different systems can communicate and work together seamlessly. 

Top 8 Legacy Modernizing Tools

Switching from legacy to modern infrastructure can empower your organization to innovate quickly. Here is a list of the best legacy modernization tools that make this transition easier: 

Astera

Astera provides a comprehensive suite of API management (APIM) features and no-code data migration tools. These capabilities allow users to modernize their legacy applications by moving them to new platforms or encapsulating their functionality within modern interfaces without significant changes to the existing codebase. 

Approach: Replatforming, Rehosting, Cloud Migration, and Encapsulation 

Pros: 

  • No-Code Data Migration: Enables rapid data migration with zero manual coding, reducing the complexity and time required for the process. 
  • Full-Fledged APIM Features: Offers robust API management tools to expose legacy application functionality through modern APIs. 
  • Integration Capabilities: Supports integration with various platforms and services, ensuring seamless data flow and interaction between legacy and modern systems. 
  • Ease of Use: Designed with user-friendly interfaces and workflows that enable users to perform complex tasks without extensive technical knowledge.

AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM)

AWS SAM is a framework for building serverless applications. It helps organizations define and deploy serverless Amazon Web Services (AWS) applications using simplified syntax.  

Approach: Rearchitecturing, Rebuilding, Rehosting 

Pros: 

  • Simplified Infrastructure Code. 
  • Complete Lifecycle Management. 
  • Automated Permission Provisioning.  

Cons: 

  • Requires knowledge of AWS services and infrastructure. 
  • Limited to AWS ecosystem. 
  • Managing permissions can be complex despite automated provisioning. 

CUBA Platform

This advanced open-source Java web framework facilitates the swift creation of enterprise applications. 

Approach: Rebuilding 

Pros: 

  • Developer-friendly features.
  • Support for easy internationalization of applications. 
  • Creating data models and UI screens for existing databases. 
  • Supports hot (re)deployment of applications.
  • Easy migration to new versions.

Cons: 

  • Requires knowledge of Java. 
  • Limited internationalization support only covers some languages. 
  • Hot deployment may lead to runtime issues if not managed properly

Red Hat OpenShift

This platform offers application replatforming based on containers. It provides scalability, agility, and automation, which allows for smooth migration and efficient management of various workloads. 

Approach: Replatforming, Rehosting 

Pros: 

  • Replatforming legacy workloads.
  • Supports breaking monolithic applications into smaller pieces like microservices.
  • Supports DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD).  

Cons: 

  • Requires knowledge of containerization and Kubernetes. 
  • Breaking monolithic applications into microservices can be complex. 
  • Implementing DevOps, SRE, and CI/CD practices requires skilled resources and cultural shifts. 

Docker

Docker makes application replatforming easier by using containers. It ensures portability, consistency, and scalability and enables seamless deployment across various environments. 

Approach: Rearchitecturing, Rehosting  

Pros: 

  • Package applications with all the dependencies into a single unit.
  • Highly portable.
  • Ideal for microservices architecture.

Cons: 

  • Requires understanding of containerization. 
  • Container management can be complex at scale. 
  • Microservices architecture requires careful design to avoid issues like service interdependencies. 

SonarQube

SonarQube is a platform that analyzes code quality and security. It supports programming and identifies code, bugs, and security vulnerabilities in legacy code. 

Approach: Refactoring 

Pros: 

  • Performs automatic reviews with static analysis to detect bugs and security vulnerabilities.
  • Integrates with unit tests and provides reports on testing.
  • Supports for 20+ programming languages including Java, C#, JavaScript, TypeScript, C/C++, and more.

Cons: 

  • Requires setup and maintenance of SonarQube server. 
  • Integrating with unit tests requires additional configuration. 
  • It may not support all features for every programming language. 

Microsoft PowerApps

Microsoft PowerApps is a low-code platform for creating applications. It aids in transformation by creating modern, user-friendly interfaces and workflows. 

Approach: Rebuilding 

Pros: 

  • Enables faster and cost-effective development with low-code capabilities. 
  • Accommodates both citizen and professional developers. 
  • It helps in reducing technical debt and enhancing security. 

Cons: 

  • It is limited to the Microsoft ecosystem. 
  • Requires understanding of Microsoft’s security model to enhance security. 

Transpilers 

Transpilers convert code written in a legacy programming language into another modern framework or programming language. For instance, tools like TypeScript translate JavaScript into a statically typed language. Such legacy modernization tools enhance code quality and maintainability. 

Approach: Refactoring 

Pros: 

  • Ensures code written in modern programming languages can run in older environments 
  • Converts code from one language to another while preserving the original code’s functionality. 
  • Allows developers to use modern features and syntax while ensuring broad compatibility 

Cons: 

  • Requires understanding of both source and target languages. 
  • Transpiled code may be less efficient than code written directly in the target language. 

How Astera Streamlines Legacy Application and System Modernization

Astera offers features that facilitate seamless legacy application modernization, ensuring businesses can transition from outdated systems to modern, efficient platforms.  

Astera’s no-code data migration and comprehensive API management help organizations modernize their legacy systems efficiently, ensuring a smoother transition to contemporary architectures and improving overall system functionality and maintainability. 

Some key features of Astera that support legacy modernization include: 

  • Data Migration: Utilize automated data migration tools to streamline transferring data from legacy systems to modern platforms, ensuring data integrity and minimizing downtime. 
  • API Design, Testing, and Management: Leverage robust API design, testing, and management capabilities to ensure seamless integration. 
  • Code-Free Integration: Enjoy a user-friendly, code-free environment that allows even non-technical users to efficiently design APIs for legacy applications and integrate legacy applications with modern systems. 
  • Automated Workflows: Implement automation capabilities to reduce manual intervention, lower maintenance costs, and improve overall system efficiency. 

Astera ensures a smooth transition to modern platforms while reaping the benefits of increased efficiency, flexibility, and competitiveness. 

Get Started Now! 

  • Start Your Free Trial: Explore how Astera helps you modernize your data within a few minutes. 
  • Reach Out to Us: Our team is ready to provide a personalized demonstration based on your unique needs. Connect with us today! 

Authors:

  • Fasih Khan
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