Open Source and Its Tools Are Critical to Modernization
No matter which type of infrastructure modernization you look at, open source has a great amount of influence.
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I have always wondered what the exact definition of software modernization is. Is it upgrading the software technology stack to the current one? Is it bringing in process automation? Or, has it more to do with replacing custom build apps with COTS or vice-versa? Can it be as simple as bringing in a better hosting solution in the form of the cloud? On further reflecting on drivers and need for modernization, you realize that its more to do with:
- Improving User Experience
- Bringing in Agility and Efficiency
- Reducing Cost
- Entrusting better Operation Resilience
While many among us would have various definition of modernization, I would rather think of dividing modernization into five categories:
- Process Modernization
- Application Architecture Modernization
- Platform Modernization
- Infra Modernization
- Software Layer Modernization
Categories of Modernization
What is the Relevance of Open Source to Modernization Types?
If we take a deeper dig, we see that in each of the above categories of modernization, open source plays a significant role. It’s also very crucial to how we can future-proof organizations' architecture against all odds. Digital disruption will create a "leaders and laggards" situation, where the lack of an open source strategy will create significant strategic disadvantages within the organization.
Now let’s see how open source plays a role in different a categories of modernization.
One of the biggest challenges in industry today is controlling turnaround time (TAT) for critical business transactions. The challenge can be extremely disruptive and pose a significant threat to an enterprise. Controlling TAT has a major influence on administrative cost savings. Automation can drive modernization to reduce the challenges industries are facing. There can primarily be three kind of automation.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- DevOps Automation
- Business Process Automation(BPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA is about achieving end-to-end process operation automation using RPA tools and AI/Cognitive technologies. In terms of AI/Cognitive analytics, we have three leading open source tools that use open source technologies to aid RPA and are used widely across industries:
- Blue Prism
DevOps is about automating release cycles, and it’s the next level of progression for release engineers, infrastructure engineers, and build engineers. Leading open source tools that aid in the modernization of software turnaround time are:
Jenkins: The most widely used CI tool
Sonarqube: Code quality analysis tool
ElasticSearch, Logstash, Kibana (ELK): Log analysis tool
Git: Source code repository
Hygieia: Dashboard for Delivery pipeline
Prometheus/Grafana: Open Source Application monitoring tool
Business Process Automation (BPA)
BPA tools help in minimizing the inefficiencies and boosting our customer engagement. Open source has also contributed to business process automation with tool like JBPM, Camunda, and Activity.
Application Architecture Modernization
One of the biggest disruptions in application modernization in the recent years has been led by microservices. This architecture pattern has paved the way for various frameworks and patterns on the modernization journey and again, open source leads most of them.
Open source frameworks like Node.js, Spring, Vert.x, and Wildfly are the most widely used microservices development framework. Not to forget we have the serverless patterns which has been built on open source frameworks that get hosted on cloud without really worrying about the underlying infrastructure and the scaling.
Platform modernization has been another important aspect of modernization which should not be thought of in isolation. This is a complementing modernization paradigm shift along with the application architecture modernization. We talked about the microservices pattern, and the ease of microservices deployment has been made possible by 2 main operators:
While we talked about open source’s involvement in DevOps, now let me tell you a bit more about the latter aspect of modernization that aids development and deployment of microservices.
Containers have been the main reason for the success of microservices architecture patterns. The ease of deployment and hosting of applications and containers almost anywhere is made possible by the open source container platforms. It’s a no-brainer now for any industry that to achieve agility, scalability, portability, across various infrastructure hosting platforms, they must adopt the use of containers.
Leading open source container platforms are:
- Openshift, an enterprise-grade platform built on Kubernetes and Docker
- Pivotal and Cloudfoundry
We also call them Platform-as-a-Service offerings from our respective partners as well.
This might be the least discussed topic on open source involvement. However, many of us might not know that open source’s contribution to cloud and infrastructure's modernization is equally crucial.
The open infrastructure landscape is evolving. Users integrate dozens of open source tools in the datacenter on-premise, private and public cloud. Software can control large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, managed through a dashboard exposed via APIs. Right from deploying to managing large set of virtual machines, open source technologies makes its presence clear.
Prominent open source technologies that are behind the managing of large infrastructure and network resources across multi-cloud and multi availability zones are:
- Openstack Apis
- Apache Cloud stack
Software Layer Modernization
Any modernization can be successful when the modernization is targeted towards the end-to-end ecosystem, rather than targeting modernization in silos. Software development can be infrastricture-centric, platform-centric and business-centric. The best results are achieved when the approach is taken with platform and business centric mindset.
With this mindset, it’s important that all the layers of the system architecture is considered as part of modernization. So, what are the layers we should typically consider? These are:
- Application layer
- Data Layer
- Platform Layer
- Infra Layer
- Integration Layer
- Client/Distribution Channels
- Middle Tier
Prominent open source platforms and products across platforms that aid in the modernization journey across all the above layers includes:
To summerize, we have seen that open source is omnipresent across modernization. Whichever category of modernization we see, open source is key to making it successful and creating a real business impact.
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