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Leveraging the cloud to modernize applications

Moving applications from a static environment to a more dynamic one, like the cloud, has implications around the application architecture, how the application is deployed and how the supporting compute is managed and maintained.

In a recent panel discussion, while moving mission-critical applications will ultimately reap big rewards for federal agencies, leaders from AWS and Slalom discuss the challenges that need to be overcome when they rebuild complex applications, connected to multiple vendors.

“For the past four years, I’ve been working on a program where an agency lifted and shifted a 20-year-old application into the cloud and had begun modernizing it around the edges of the application. They had multiple vendors doing pieces of that; [Slalom] came in and took over that entire ecosystem and saw that legacy environment was still holding the application’s core functionality,” says Rob Cummings, senior director for platform engineering at Slalom.

“Deployments on it took weeks; it would take days to deploy a single environment if everything worked right. It was challenging,” Cummings adds.

“The applications that agencies need to build today are vastly different from that in the past; they need to scale quickly to potentially millions of users, manage petabytes of data, and respond in milliseconds,” says Rahman Imtranur, senior solutions architecture, worldwide sector team at AWS.

“On the other hand, agencies are running their mission-critical workload on legacy systems—facing high costs and skill shortages. Application modernization has become essential for organizations of all sizes, and it’s key to helping them achieve their mission to deliver service faster and drive innovation for their constituents,” says Imtranur.

Imtranur shares how the pandemic was an accelerator of modern cloud-native applications, “agencies that embraced AWS and cloud proved more responsive; they could continue operating remotely and serving the customer demonstrating agility, scalability and speed.”

Cummings offers agencies advice as they look forward to modernization efforts and says, “If you have a 20-year-old application or an older application that is customer-facing and mission-critical to your agency, and it is something you want to continue to support and enhance, it’s time to look at modernizing that.”

“Whether [application modernization happens] as part of shifting to the cloud or immediately after, that’s going to be needed to get the benefits that the dynamic and scalable nature of the cloud can give you. It also will give you access to a greater pool of talent from the commercial space.”

Watch the full panel to hear more about leveraging the cloud to modernize applications.

You can also hear more from other government leaders about driving cloud-first strategies in the public sector.

This video panel discussion was produced by Scoop News Group and FedScoop and underwritten by AWS.