Modernizing IT in the time of COVID-19

There’s lots of talk these days about infrastructure investments to make productive use of resources and rebuild in the time of COVID-19. With much of the population sheltering at home, now is a good time to fix the sewers, pipes, roads, and bridges of the land. You usually don’t build or fix a bridge at rush hour with a crush of cars and trucks going over it. In a similar vein, now is also the right time to address the widespread technical deficit that exists in IT infrastructure.

With lower demands and higher dependency, it’s a good time to tackle legacy applications and move them to new, faster, secure servers. It’s one of the most productive tasks you can give to remote team members. It is also preparing the business to scale with modern IT infrastructure when business volumes return. All in all, a smart move.

The standard Microsoft Windows Server life cycle is 10 years (5 for mainstream plus 5 for extended support). There are no patches and security updates at the end of extended support, which creates security and compliance problems. There are many other great reasons to move your apps and software stacks forward, and now you have the time to do so.


You need to modernize apps and now is a great time

So, how do we modernize IT and the legacy Windows Server apps that run the business? There are thousands of apps running in production on unsupported WS2003 and WS2008 servers. You might have the time to address modernization now, but what about budget and staffing concerns?

Budgets might indeed be tight and plans and schedules may be subject to change given the business uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis. A recent survey we completed on the impact of COVID on IT shops showed that more than 50% of IT departments are re-budgeting now or considering alternative plans for redevelopment due to the crisis. Overall, working from home has incurred a major or moderate impact on IT plans and projects for nearly 70% of businesses. (See more about the survey here).

Our survey showed that half of respondents believe that it will be possible to move forward with modernization in some way over the next 12 months. At VirtaMove, we agree with this view. No doubt budgets may be constrained, goals may need to be adjusted, and operations and processes may be running differently than before the pandemic. Still, you need a way to move forward with modernization. If COVID-19 is requiring a Plan B for IT, Plan B could be a stateful re-install of legacy Windows Server apps on modern operating systems and new hardware. This is your best first move in app modernization.


Application modernization doesn’t have to mean re-architecture

A stateful re-install is an alternative to app re-architecture in these uncertain times. It’s a way forward that is cost effective, it can be done remotely, and it brings many significant and immediate benefits. Modern servers extend the useful life of legacy apps by several years, giving you time for modernization and re-architecture once IT gets beyond current constraints. A stateful re-install buys you time to get over the COVID-19 hump and back to normal operations in the medium to long term.

When you move legacy apps from an unsupported OS to a modern OS like WS2012, WS2016, and WS2019 on new hardware, you’re taking the first step in modernizing an app. Moving is essentially a stateful re-install of the app on a new, secure OS. You get to keep the current state of the app – patches, configuration data, – and extend its life on a new OS.

Upgrade cycles and the app modernization stay the same. You can re-architect, manage, and install app upgrades as usual. Development, test, and production roll over stay the same. Full app modernization can be planned and implemented once budgets improve.


Benefits of moving legacy applications to modern servers

There are tangible benefits today from running legacy apps on new servers:

  1. A new operating system closes known security exposures on WS2000, WS2003, and WS2008 servers.
  2. Modern hardware improves system performance and lets users do more work. It also allows for straight forward load balancing if business volumes build.
  3. Stack components such as IIS and SQL Server can be modernized during the move to a new OS. Security concerns can be remediated.
  4. A modern OS lets you move apps to the cloud, where they can be scaled and managed with cloud management tools.


Progress is contagious

Times may be uncertain, and businesses and sectors may be forced to work remotely and do things differently for the short to medium term. However, there is still a way to move forward with app modernization despite these challenges. It’s a good time now to approach IT projects and goals creatively. Moving legacy apps to new, faster, secure servers is a smart move. It’s a move you can do now, while working remotely. Our AI-based, automated migration tools and our migration methodologies are ideally suited to remote work.

Moving your legacy apps forward and buying some time for your business is progress, and at VirtaMove we believe that progress and good news are infectiously positive these days.

If you would like to learn more about how VirtaMove can help you move apps forward in the era of COVID-19, give us a call, register for a free demo, or send us an e-mail. We’re always delighted to show you what we can do.