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DevOps solutions to your legacy IT problems


By: Joe Panettieri


At first glance, your limited IT budget means your organization is "stuck" with a legacy business. But take a closer look. Savvy CIOs see DevOps solutions as a means to modernize IT and business—without needing to rip out and replace your existing infrastructure.


DevOps legacyFirst, let's take a look at existing IT infrastructures. More than half of IT budgets (55 percent) are spent on infrastructure and operations. That means most large businesses have a massive installed base of x86 servers, storage, and network hardware. At the same time, many businesses are working hard to modernize the applications running on those systems. According to TechTarget, a Gartner survey of enterprise portfolios revealed:

  • 38 percent are looking to upgrade their application portfolios
  • 24 percent want to replace their applications
  • 18 percent will retire current application portfolios
  • 22 percent are taking no steps to modernize their applications
  • Source: Gartner's User Survey Analysis: Using Cloud Services for Mission-Critical Applications


For those that have embarked on the journey, there are seven common ways to modernize your business applications, according to TechTarget. They include:

  1. Refactoring: Revising or cleaning up source code to reduce "technical debt"
  2. Re-engineering legacy applications: Enhancing functionality, improving scalability, or meeting the needs of developing an enterprise architecture
  3. Screen scraping: Deleting or "scraping" data from legacy apps
  4. Code conversion: Converting legacy code into modern code
  5. Rip-and-replace: Demobilizing old applications and building new applications
  6. Extend-and-surround: Putting legacy applications into software environments
  7. Virtualization and cloud deployment: Replicating a legacy environment

Start with DevOps solutions


But back to the challenge at hand. Each one of those seven steps requires IT budget. And chances are, you don't have "new" money to spend on application modernization projects. That's where DevOps solutions enter the picture—basically allowing you to shift your existing dollars toward sustainable, repeatable, automated processes.


You'll need to start with a well-organized DevOps team—everyone from a VP-level leader to key lieutenants who oversee development, quality assurance, code releases, and more. Instead of using new hires to form the DevOps team, chances are you can tap into the skills of your existing IT and application managers.


A well-organized DevOps team typically focuses on five areas of infrastructure automation, including:

  1. Workload management, such as batch processing, process automation, and service-oriented job scheduling
  2. Cloud and virtual system automation
  3. Self-service systems for internal end-users, partners, and customers
  4. Orchestration to speed IT rollouts and reduce human error
  5. Brokering solutions that transform IT into a service provider for employees

Look at each of these five areas more closely. Embrace the five areas, and you're essentially putting your DevOps team on a healthy diet and exercise routine, whipping them into shape, and also automating many of the strenuous tasks they used to manage manually.


How DevOps solutions transform legacy IT

By now, you're starting to see the big picture. Effective DevOps solutions and associated strategies deliver sustained automation across your business. Automation, in turn, drives down the costs of maintaining your legacy IT infrastructure.


But don't stop there. You can modernize that legacy IT infrastructure—and the applications running upon it—through additional DevOps initiatives. For example, take a closer look at cloud and virtual system automation. Virtualization lets you pack more workloads onto your existing x86 servers, many of which are likely underutilized. Next, look for ways to virtualize your network and storage systems, leveraging software-defined approaches that are now going mainstream.


Innovating while protecting IT investments

As your organization starts to master DevOps, you'll begin to notice how today's IT waves are unlike any previous market shifts. Many seasoned IT professionals have navigated the previous waves:

  • From mainframe and minicomputer to LAN and client-server
  • From client-server to web
  • From web to multi-tenant cloud and mobile apps

So what's different this time? Many of the earlier IT waves required rip-and-replace strategies for your hardware and/or software. This time around, through effective DevOps solutions, businesses can drive down the cost of managing their servers, networks, and storage systems. Then, you can apply that savings on DevOps projects that deliver new self-service applications atop your existing infrastructure.


Goodbye rip and replace. Hello automate and innovate.


To gain a better insights on DevOps – how it began and why you should leverage it, read Getting grounded with Dev/Ops.



About the author

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri


Joe Panettieri is co-founder and Content Czar for ChannelE2E (, which tracks IT service providers from Entrepreneur to Exit (E2E). Panettieri has more than 20 years experience as a media entrepreneur covering enterprise, midmarket and small business IT issues.

About the author

Connect with Joe: Follow me on Twitter @JoePanettieri

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