What Is Application Modernization?

Ngodoo Iye (she/they)

3 min read

Jul 13, 2021

What Is Application Modernization?

And why do I need it?

If your legacy application is the older house on the block then application modernization is a much-needed remodeling. 

In the same way that you wouldn’t completely demolish a house that has good bones, you shouldn’t completely get rid of your existing applications, especially one that you’ve probably already invested in both financially and structurally.

What is Application Modernization 

Application modernization is the best way for companies to revamp their legacy applications for modern times without having to start completely over. Application modernization takes a legacy application and revamps it by updating its software for newer computing approaches. These approaches include modern languages, updated frameworks, and infrastructure platforms.

Why You Need It 

Two words: money and time. You’ve already spent both building out your existing application and it’d be a shame to have to completely start over. With application modernization, you don’t ever have to.

With application modernization, your company is able to keep the most critical application up-to-date by implementing new structures and frameworks, without having to build an all-new app. It’s also a great opportunity to implement any accessibility features that you might have left out of the original version. 

Beyond the purely technical side of things, taking a renewed look at your app allows you to reconsider any design elements that might be outdated. Not only will your app look great, but it will be much more user-friendly. 

How to actually use application modernization

There are many reasons why you might want to use application modernization and luckily, there are also many ways to use application modernization depending on your goals. The three main ways to use application modernization are lift and shift, refactoring, and re-platforming. Let’s dig deeper into each of these.

Lift and Shift

Lift and shift, otherwise known as rehosting is the process of taking an existing application and moving it to a newer infrastructure, such as a public cloud platform. The application itself doesn’t change, only its platform.

This can be a good option for you and your company for a number of reasons. Moving your existing application to a new platform, such as a cloud platform can help keep your business agile and in with the times. It can also help keep your business focused since there is no need to worry about system administration and ultimately it can help cut costs.


The second option is refactoring or rewriting the application. This process involves taking the legacy application and rewriting a large portion of the underlying code to help the application run in a new environment such as cloud infrastructure.

Refactoring is a great choice for those with a single application that wish to break into smaller pieces, also known as microservices. It’s also a great way (or, the only way) of digging yourself out of tech debt—something that often and unfortunately comes along with legacy apps. 


The last option for application modernization is one that sits in between lift and shift and refactoring. This third option is known as re-platforming. Replatforming is the process of utilizing complementary updates that enables the legacy application to take advantage of a modern cloud platform.

You Have the Idea, We Have the Way. 

Now that you have a good understanding of application modernization, you’re probably wondering how to get started. We’ve got you covered. Whether you want to learn how to navigate an unknown bit of software or a different design perspective, we’ve got a team of Embedded Experts ready to help. Ready to get started? Get in touch and let’s chat! 

Juan Pablo Claude

Reviewer Big Nerd Ranch

During his tenure at BNR, Juan Pablo has taught bootcamps on macOS development, iOS development, Python, and Django. He has also participated in consulting projects in those areas. Juan Pablo is currently a Director of Technology focusing mainly on managing engineers and his interests include Machine Learning and Data Science.

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