Jump to Content

Anthos in depth: Transforming your legacy Java applications

May 12, 2020
Harish Jayakumar

Application Modernization Solutions Manager Lead

Ameer Abbas

Solutions Architect

In many organizations, legacy applications can hold back business initiatives—and the business processes that rely on them. While new applications are being developed using cloud-native technologies, most existing applications are still large monolithic apps that run on proprietary application servers, incurring high licensing costs, slow release cycles, and vendor lock-in. And the lion’s share of those apps are written in Java. 

At Google Cloud, we’ve developed prescriptive guidelines to help you modernize your Java applications, for immediate operational cost savings, reduced dependencies on proprietary software, and increased software delivery speed. A key part of that path is Anthos, an open application platform which can help you modernize your existing apps with containerized microservices alongside VMs, plus integration into tools for policy management and modern application development and delivery. In this way, Anthos lets you innovate faster and deliver new experiences to your customers, while reducing risk and costs.

Organizations looking to modernize a Java application typically have the following two goals in mind: 

  1. Adopt modern development frameworks and architectures. Many modern Java applications are already built on open frameworks like Spring Boot. These frameworks allow enterprises to iterate fast and release features faster. At the same time, they can help developers adopt microservices-based development methods, where application “monoliths” are split into numerous smaller, more manageable problem domains. This microservices approach allows development teams to work independently on their domain without affecting others, so that they can release features faster and provide a better experience for customers.
  2. Move to containers and adopt DevOps practices. Organizations are trying to move away from traditional virtualization platforms and adopt modern container-based platforms—even for their legacy Java applications. Containers make efficient use of compute resources (compared to VMs) and can easily move between environments like multiple clouds and on-prem data centers. Here again, Anthos can help. Anthos lets enterprises build, deploy, and manage containerized applications anywhere in a secure, consistent manner. Anthos Config Management lets you define, automate, and enforce policies across environments, and  Anthos Service Mesh lets you securely connect both containerized and non-containerized (i.e., VM-based) applications.  Anthos also enables enterprises to secure their hybrid and multi-cloud deployments by providing consistent controls across any environment. 

From there, adopting containerization and a consistent, policy-based platform like Anthos can help you achieve DevOps goals of creating more secure and reliable applications, faster. Part of that is implementing modern CI/CD practices, which creates orchestrated and automated software delivery pipelines, to improve velocity and reliability, while reducing risk.

Your paths to Java app modernization 

Here at Google Cloud, we see enterprise Java applications fall in one of three categories, and each requires that you take a unique approach to modernization.

Click to enlarge

Applications using modern frameworks—These are newer apps written on a modern Java framework like Spring Boot. The next step for these applications is to take advantage of Google Cloud managed services. Spring Cloud GCP lets your developers easily adopt Google Cloud services. Build tools like Jib and Cloud Native Buildpacks provide an easy way to containerize these applications using well known developer build tools (like Maven and Gradle). Once containerized you can manage these applications using Anthos. 

Packaged software—These are commercial off-the-shelf applications to which you don’t have the source code. For these types of applications, Migrate for Anthos allows you to move VMs from on-premises data centers to either VMs running in Google Cloud or to containers running on Anthos GKE, a cloud-agnostic implementation of GKE that runs in multiple environments. This lets you quickly adopt a modern platform, whether on-prem or in the cloud, and is especially useful if you have a large number of applications, as they can be migrated with minimal effort. 

Existing traditional applications —These are your Java applications developed in-house using older frameworks and often, running on commercial proprietary application servers. GCP provides a two-step process for modernizing these applications. First, use Migrate for Anthos to quickly migrate existing applications running in VMs to containers on Anthos. You can also migrate off of commercial app servers to open-source app servers to reduce or eliminate licensing costs. Second, refactor and rewrite migrated applications to use modern frameworks like Spring Boot and Spring Cloud GCP and move to a microservice development model.

Google Cloud partners will help accelerate your modernization journey

Google Cloud and our partners are committed to modernizing and running your key workloads in whatever environment is best suited for your business. “Application modernization with Anthos enables significant improvements in scalability, high availability for business critical applications, and lowers operational cost,” said Volodymyr Yelchev, VP of Critical Services at SoftServe. “We see the lion’s share of the existing applications in enterprises written in Java. Significant re-architecturing and refactoring is required to meet new business objectives. Using Migrate for Anthos from Google Cloud, SoftServe has developed a proven, end-to-end approach for legacy, VM-based Java stack transformation to a modern, containerized application set. Our approach reduces complexity and improves speed of deployment within a short period of time.” If you’re looking to get started, we have partners that are eager to help you in your modernization journey. 

Video Thumbnail

Getting started

The need to improve operational cost savings by adopting cloud-native practices is more important than ever. Anthos can meet you where you are with your modernization journey.  According to the Forrester Total Economic Impact study, customers adopting Anthos can achieve a range of up to 4.8x Return on Investment (ROI) within three years1. If you have existing Java applications that need to be modernized we are here to help. Please reach out to your account team or fill out this form so we can schedule an application assessment workshop with you.

1. New Technology Projection: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Anthos, September 2019, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Google. *Based on the customer interview

Posted in