Containerizing Legacy Apps Yields Significant Benefits

There’s so much buzz around containers, container orchestration and the ecosystem surrounding containers. But in reality, few organizations are actually deploying containers in production in any real and lasting way.

Why? It’s likely because few companies can afford significant investments in redesigning their existing applications into a collection of microservices. So, while there’s enthusiasm for microservices-based applications, companies often can’t justify the cost of change. In other cases they are COTS (Consumer Off The Shelf) applications and cannot be changed into microservices based applications.

In many ways, the 80/20 rule – which was based on the belief that 80 percent of a company’s revenue tends to come from 20 percent of its product line – applies to containerization and efficiency. Here’s the idea: You don’t have to wait for all of your applications to be redesigned to achieve many of the benefits associated with running them in containers. In other words, wouldn’t it be worth it spending a few hours wrapping an app in a container if you could gain 80 percent of the benefits for having designed it for containerization (20 percent effort for 80 percent benefit)?

Packaging a legacy application in a container is a start. But expediting deployments, providing governance, securing, orchestrating, monitoring, automating and auditing are where the real benefits of running containerized enterprise applications in production come into play. This platform approach enables you to free legacy applications from the bindings of specific infrastructure and locations. Benefits include:

  • Speed; you can deploy applications in one-tenth the time
  • Use of less infrastructure or cloud resources.
  • The ability to deploy to any cloud (public, private, or multi-cloud) and redeploy somewhere else. Portability is simplified as a result of policy and built-in software defined networking (SDN), and governance is never compromised.

If you could containerize even 30 percent of your existing environment today, you could likely save 5 to 15 percent of your IT expenditures through improved staff efficiency, gain higher resiliency for applications and reduce infrastructure costs. Whether you’re considering the consolidation of your data centers or just trying to unburden your IT staff, managing legacy applications on a container platform can provide benefits over virtualization in the same way virtualization offered improvements compared to running client/server applications on hardware-locked operating systems.

Containers, combined with a container management platform, offer significant advantages over managing traditional legacy and legacy virtual environments. Applying containers to conventional workloads can provide you 80 percent of the benefits associated with a cloud-native application. It seems a logical place to start, don’t you think?

If you want to read more about my thoughts on the 80/20 rule and benefits from containers in production, check out my recent article in The New Stack.