It never was, but in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the aftermath, big tech will be everywhere, because people will consistently need aspects of technology to do their work effectively. And, with potential health concerns due to proximity of individuals before a vaccine is at scale, people will be accomplishing more and more basic functions with technology, i.e. e-commerce. But this discussion about the rise of and the importance of technology takes a lot of different forms. We want to talk about it less as consumers and more about how businesses are going to use technology going forward. Think B2B more than B2C.
The modernization of legacy applications
Some companies, and some government institutions, were running into this problem over the last three months: too much of their tech stack was “legacy,” which is a nice way of saying “older.” (It’s like talking to a woman, right? You call them “classic,” but never “old.”)
Modernization of legacy applications is about a shift from monolith to microservices. Should be noted, because there is sometimes confusion about this topic: monolith is not necessarily bad or evil. It is usually a good starting place. But you need to make the shift to microservices. It’s not easy, no. What you gain in deployment and development simplicity (each team can develop and deploy its own microservice independently, with its own technology stack), you lose in visibility, error handling and debugging. Visibility means you need to know what happened and where, and that’s a lot harder to know when you have hundreds of microservices.
We generally help clients by using a “strangler pattern,” where you gradually replace some specific functionalities of your old system with your new applications and services. As you replace them bit by bit, the old system is no more (you’ve “strangled” it). It is now replaced with your shiny new microservices system.
Think of replacing a SOAP web service with a REST web service. If you put an API gateway in front of the old service to redirect SOAP XML to REST API calls, nothing is changing about the legacy system but it’s now communicating with your microservices architecture.