Application Modernization at the Edge: Crossing the Digital Development Bridge

Do you feel like your company's IT is stuck in the legacy model? Discover how application modernization at the edge helps you break that barrier.

Isidro Iturat Hernández - Technical Researcher
Application Modernization at the Edge: Crossing the Digital Development Bridge

To discuss the process of modernizing applications at the edge, let’s begin by presenting a hypothetical situation, which, with appropriate variations, is a reality for many companies.

An IT manager of a company with legacy systems notices that the current IT model is not delivering the desired performance and scalability. The costs are increasingly difficult to control, and there are security issues. The manager wants to allocate more time to developing new web applications, but their team spends too much time on building and managing infrastructure.

At one point, they conclude they have to modernize, so they decide to migrate some applications to the cloud (as they were told that this is one of the steps for modernization).

Initially, the cloud platform seems promising, offering a wide range of solutions and low initial costs. However, it often requires vendor lock-in, and its software and programming languages are proprietary, which leads to the following situation:

The manager’s team needs to invest a lot of time learning how those software and languages work, cannot integrate existing applications with other superior third-party solutions or is very limited in doing so, and fails to innovate at the speed expected by the market.

Over time, costs also skyrocket, and the operation grows and becomes more complex. The cloud platform is no longer tailored to the specific needs of the company, and migrating to another platform is either not possible or would be a highly expensive and challenging process.

In this article, we will explore how web application modernization works at the edge and why edge computing can be considered the primary bridge between a legacy and a modern, future-proof system.

What Does “Modernizing” Mean?

To understand it well, it  is essential to calmly reassess the definition of a legacy application or system.

According to Gartner[1], it would be “An information system that may be based on obsolete technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.”

And here, a curious phenomenon occurs: If we consider, for example, an on-premise system from the cloud, we can view it as a legacy system. However, if we take a step further and examine a system in the cloud from the edge, we can say the same thing: from this perspective, systems in the cloud are perceived as legacy systems.

So, for us, modernizing no longer means migrating from on-premise environments to the cloud, but rather directly to the edge!

Two Key Concepts for Understanding Modernization Through Edge Computing: NoOps and Serverless

To understand how a modern platform such as Azion’s facilitates the modernization of web applications, it is essential to learn how NoOps and serverless principles apply to it.

NoOps is related to various domains, including infrastructure, security, network management, application monitoring, etc. Serverless, as its name suggests, refers to a modern approach to server management.

NoOps at the Edge

From prototype to enterprise-scale with NoOps, just code.

Essentially, NoOps is key to increasing business agility and reducing costs.

Business Agility

In an edge computing platform like Azion’s, apart from the fact that NoOps liberates developers from managing IT infrastructure-related tasks, allowing them to focus on building their applications and developing business rules, other advantages must be considered.

Automation is a good example of that: Once you upload or create an application on our platform, you gain access to an entire chain of orchestration and security automation, relieving you from the need to write additional code.

Concerning integrations, you can run applications at the edge without interrupting their operation in the cloud or your data center. Also, you can easily import code from your previous environment without the need of extensive programming, use the programming language of your preference, and seamlessly integrate the third-party software you need.

All of this translates into a dramatic increase in business agility, compared to on-premises or cloud.

Cost Reduction

First, we can point the elimination of costs related to IT infrastructure and personnel, due to NoOps.

Secondly, costs are also reduced because your data (or a part of it) is not processed in the cloud, thereby avoiding the expenses associated with cloud providers.

Finally, you can also consider the savings generated by business agility in terms of time and effort.

Serverless at the Edge

No infrastructure limits.

Basically, serverless at the edge combines the benefits of serverless computing and edge computing.

An edge computing platform, in addition to being serverless, has a highly distributed network with numerous edge locations (server points at the edge of the network, which can reach up to hundreds distributed around the world). These locations process and store information closer to end-user devices, as they are positioned within the last-mile network of Internet service providers.

And it is precisely this configuration that enables edge computing, compared to the cloud, to generate a drastic increase in application performance and scalability, ultra-low latency, and 100% availability.

On the other hand, serverless at the edge is specially designed to deploy modern applications by fully incorporating the use of tools and resources such as composable applications, APIs, and third-party libraries, as well as frameworks based on open standards, all of which are key elements for modernization.

Serverless Cost Management at the Edge

Concerning the advantages of using serverless computing on our edge platform, we must highlight the pay-per-use system, which is key for reducing costs and avoiding overprovisioning. 

Also, serverless at the edge is vendor-lock-in-free, which means that you won’t be forced to pay for underutilized resources or have to deal with drastic rate increases that come “by surprise”, as often happens with cloud providers.

And What About Edge Security?

In an edge computing platform, attacks are intercepted by the edge location closest to their starting point, far from the customer’s origin.

Furthermore, in the case of Azion, we have a complete security stack designed specifically to operate at the edge. Our platform is prepared to mitigate the most sophisticated threats, including OWASP Top 10 or zero-day attacks. This stack was conceived for a Zero Trust approach and holds the most demanding compliance certificates in the market, such as PCI DSS v4.0, SOC 2 Type 2 and SOC 3.

It’s also important to highlight that our security solutions do not affect application performance. Also, attacks are mitigated without the need to modify code, and the application observability is comprehensive, holistic, and in real-time.

A Litmus Test for Azion’s Edge: Renner’s E-commerce

One of the most challenging stress tests for a company’s IT infrastructure—and where edge computing can truly demonstrate its capabilities— is the management of Black Friday for an internationally operating e-commerce company.

Renner is a clothing store chain with more than 600 physical stores in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. In 2021, it achieved a turnover of 9,500 MUSD, a remarkable 41% higher than the previous year. One of the key contributors for this success was the management of Black Friday using Azion’s edge solutions. Renner experienced drastic traffic increases during the event, reaching up to 18,200 requests per second, with ultra-low latency, expressive cost reduction, personalized shopping experiences for customers, and 100% availability, among other benefits.

If you want to learn the details of this operation, you can read the complete success case here.

A Vision of The Modernization Experience on Azion’s Edge Computing Platform

The most crucial technical details about the experience on a modern edge computing platform have already been covered in this article. To conclude, let’s try to summarize this journey in one paragraph:

Moving from a legacy system to a modern one is not like passing through a door; rather, it’s like crossing a bridge. The crossing of the bridge itself would be the process of migrating to the edge, where you will find yourself in a new scenario defined by high performance and innovation.

Over the years, Azion has been perfecting itself to make this process a flowing experience, with a sense of direction and action that consistently achieves the highest business objectives.

The Azion Edge Computing Platform is a solution designed not only to facilitate the process of modernizing applications at the edge but also to be evolutionary. We are committed to support you as you navigate the hyper-connected, discovery-filled economy that lies ahead.

If now you’re thinking “OK, it’s time to modernize”, the next step is to get in touch with our team of experts.

What happens next?

1st We listen to you and analyze your company’s needs.

2nd Together we draw up a personalized and transparent action plan.

3rd Welcome to the modern edge experience!


[1] Legacy Application Or System | Gartner

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