By Renu Shankar, Cloud Security Architect, ManTech Innovation and Capabilities Office (ICO)

Across the federal government, cloud adoption continues to accelerate at rapid speed. Much of the early skepticism of the cloud and its suitability for agency use cases and missions has evaporated. Today, the focus has turned to optimal ways to move existing, on-premise applications and systems to the cloud.  For large-scale enterprise cloud migrations, scale and speed are critical, but an essential precursor to such a move involves modernizing legacy applications to take advantage of the cloud native services and extract their true potential.

Two traditional options available for agencies are: (1) modernizing legacy apps as part of the migration effort; or (2) to do a “lift-and-shift.” Both approaches come with downsides. Application refactoring to modernize is an expensive option, takes a long time and hence is often a showstopper for agencies operating on limited or constrained resources. The “lift-and-shift” model – where an application and all its data are moved to the cloud without redesigning the app – is a quick fix but can be very expensive in the long-term as cloud service providers add new capabilities that these apps are not built to take advantage of. In addition, since the application is migrated as-is from an on-premises setup, it misses out on cloud-native features like auto-scaling, messaging services, managed database services, availability, etc., even in a cloud environment.

Granted, your cloud provider can give you all the above options at a cost similar to that of your current on-premises setup, but often there’s a hitch: merely changing the environment doesn’t necessarily equate to modernization of the application in the true sense. Lastly, neither of these options meets the demand for change driven by rapid technology evolution, thereby costing them their strategic advantage in their respective markets. In some cases, the technical debt just gets converted to Cloud debt.

ManTech has another alternative to address these challenges: “Modernize while you migrate.” ManTech and our partner, CloudHedge, work with customers on a hybrid approach. Together, we perform a “lift-containerize-and-shift” operation that can be automated, reducing costs both in the short- and long-term. This is essential for enterprises that want to focus on their core mission, as opposed to spending time on elimination of technical debt. The containerization step essentially puts a portable “box” (hence, the name “container”) around application processes and avoids the expensive and time-consuming refactoring required to enable an application to reap all the benefits of the cloud.

ManTech has successfully used CloudHedge’s patented Application Modernization Platform to migrate a 20+ year old complex logistics application with complex workflows and a lot of data to the cloud, in a matter of weeks – from planning to design to implementation. We took a cloud-agnostic approach, which provides flexibility in terms of where to store data and avoid being “locked in” to one cloud provider and one set of features. This approach offers flexibility and support for applications built in multiple program languages, which is often ideal for large-scale enterprise migrations. Additionally, depending on the maturity level of the application itself, customers have more options – including a scenario where part of an application is in the cloud and part is on-premises. In fact, once an application has been containerized, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be put into the cloud. Customers can choose to create a Kubernetes environment in a Secure Controlled Information Facility (SCIF) in hours instead of weeks.

Our CloudHedge partnership is unique because it provides options not available until now for our customers – an effective and cost-saving solution to meet their mission-critical needs. By merging ManTech’s domain expertise with CloudHedge’s unique application modernization capabilities, we can quickly develop and deploy solutions in line with the interests of our customers. It’s another example of Bringing Digital to the Mission ® in ways that advance critical national priorities.


To learn more about CloudHedge, visit: and to learn more about ManTech’s Secure Mission and Enterprise IT Services, including our portfolio of Cloud solutions, visit: