How to modernise monolithic architecture

By Jon McElwee, cloud specialist at iomart.

  • 5 months ago Posted in

The growth of technological adoption in business is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, research from Amazon found that digital transformation could grow the UK economy by more than £413 billion by 2030.


It’s not just businesses embracing this change either. Government has committed significant funds towards the future of digital in the UK, such as the £54m investment for the development of AI research in June and an entire UK Digital Strategy to support digital innovation.


As businesses race to embrace the potential of digital technologies, many are faced with a significant hurdle: the challenge of untangling monolithic technology stacks that hinder agility and innovation.


Legacy systems, once the backbone of operations, now pose limitations to businesses striving for enhanced efficiencies and adaptability. This is where the embrace of microservices architecture can help, bringing with it a new era of flexibility and responsiveness.


The shift from isolated working methods to a microservices environment offers a myriad of advantages, but the transition can be daunting.


Best practices for modernising monolithic architecture


Modernising monolithic architecture isn't just about adopting the latest trends; it's a strategic move that requires planning and execution. The first step towards achieving that however is by breaking down existing monoliths into manageable components.


This modular transition reduces the risk of disrupting essential services while enabling the gradual adoption of microservices.


Fostering a culture of collaboration between development and operations teams is key. Embracing DevOps principles facilitates smoother transitions and ensures that changes are not only technically viable but also aligned with business objectives.


Moving to microservices also requires a comprehensive assessment of current technology assets, to understand what needs to move and what can be retired, coupled with a realistic evaluation of the organisation's capabilities, for a successful migration.


Data migration, security, and compliance are critical to this. Legacy systems might house years of valuable data, and ensuring its seamless migration while maintaining data integrity is paramount.


Managing old data


One of the biggest challenges for organisations with older systems and legacy data dating back decades, is understanding what needs to move and what can be retired. A lot of organisations will do the lift and shift first, and then begin the optimisation process. This can work for many businesses, particularly larger ones with huge amounts of workloads. But for others it can be a costly process if unnecessary storage is being purchased.


In these instances, conducting Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) before the lift and shift can be hugely valuable. This is where businesses can create a cloud blueprint before making the transition, to work out whether certain workloads need refactoring, rearchitecting, resizing or rehosting. This ensures any transition to the cloud is done in the most optimised way.


It’s also possible to adopt a hybrid approach, which involves both a CAF as well as the lift and shift. This allows IT teams to break down applications in a manageable way while still making the most from the benefits that having data stored in the cloud can offer.


Microservices architecture isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Businesses with a pressing need for agility, scalability, and rapid innovation will benefit the most from it.




As businesses navigate digital transformation, the modernisation of monolithic architecture can be a critical step in truly harnessing the benefits of technology. The journey might be complex, but taking a best practice approach and working with trusted consultants that understand the unique challenges posed by legacy systems, means organisations can transition to a microservices environment effectively and efficiently.

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