Legacy Modernization

The move to digital creates unprecedented opportunities for you. The World Economic Forum estimates $100 trillion of economic value is ready to be unlocked over the next decade1. But legacy systems and outdated development processes are holding you back.
New digital-native competitors are disrupting established markets and out-innovating the incumbents, unencumbered by legacy processes and technology. Think Amazon and eBay for retail, Airbnb for accommodation, Uber for transportation, WeChat for communications, Expedia for travel, Stripe for payments – the list goes on. The average tenure of companies in the S&P 500 is falling – market research2 predicts that 50% of today’s S&P-listed companies will be replaced over the next 10 years. Legacy systems are barriers to innovation, and increase your risk of being part of that 50%.

Legacy Modernization is a strategic initiative that enables you to apply the latest innovations in development methodologies, architectural patterns, and technologies to refresh your portfolio of legacy applications. This is much more than just “lift and shift”. Moving your existing apps and databases to faster hardware, or onto the cloud might get you slightly higher performance and marginally reduced cost, but you will fail to realize the transformational business agility, scale, or deployment freedom that true legacy modernization brings.

By modernizing with MongoDB, you can build new business functionality 3-5x faster, scale to millions of users wherever they are on the planet, and cut costs by 70% and more. All by unshackling yourself from legacy systems.


Traditional technologies like relational databases and methodologies like ‘waterfall development’ have a long-standing position in most organizations. For many decades, they have been the default way to build apps. But the business needs to go faster with demands that exceed the limits of what’s possible with 30+ year old technology.

Late to Market

Demands for faster time to market with release cycles compressed into days and weeks are held back by rigid relational data schemas, monolithic apps, and waterfall development

Fragility and Downtime

Existing systems aren’t built for the scale or uptime demanded by today’s 24/7 customer engagement and the streams of new data flowing into the business

Untapped Data

New classes of web, mobile, social, IoT, and AI/Machine Learning applications produce data that you just can’t handle with tabular data models of relational databases

High Cost

Expensive hardware, huge jumps in costs as workloads grow, punitive licensing, and intrusive audits impose barriers to innovation

Missed Opportunities

Making sense of sprawling application portfolios and untangling dependencies between monolithic code bases make it difficult to build new business functionality

Hard to Change

New development processes and technologies can be tough to institutionalize across your engineering teams

A survey of over 1,000 C-level executives and 1,000 developers by Stripe and Evans Poll concluded that improving developer productivity would increase global GDP by $3 trillion over the next decade3. The survey found that:

  • 42% of developer time is spent on maintenance and technical debt

  • 52% of respondents cite legacy systems as the top inhibitor to productivity

  • 96% of C-level executives rate improving developer productivity as a priority for the business


Legacy modernization is a combination of people, processes, and technology that collectively transforms your existing application portfolio. It gives you business agility, scale, and the freedom to run anywhere. Here’s how MongoDB helps you.


  • Advisory consulting

  • Program governance

  • Application lifecycle expertise


  • Inventory and characterize app portfolio

  • Define project scope and execution

  • Design, implement, validate, optimize

Platform Technology

  • Document data model to accelerate developer productivity

  • Distributed systems design to scale always-on apps

  • Freedom to run anywhere

People & Process

App Modernization Factory

Organizations can turn to multiple approaches to enable legacy modernization:

  • Align behind new IT models and processes, such as Agile and DevOps

  • Adopt new architectures and platforms by moving to microservices patterns, taking a mobile-first approach, and shifting underlying infrastructure to the cloud

  • Migrate to modern data platforms that unlock developer productivity

But how do you do this? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Thousands of organizations are modernizing their application portfolios, and we are helping them on their journey. We work with you to build an Application Modernization Factory (AMF), providing advisory consulting, program governance, and application lifecycle expertise – all cultivated from best practices developed with the world’s largest organizations.

We partner with your teams to accelerate the assessment, prioritization, and redesign of legacy apps, quantifying the economic value of change and providing a roadmap for delivery. We work with you through the modernization efforts of redevelopment, consolidation, and optimization, harnessing patterns and technologies such as agile and DevOps, microservices, cloud computing, and MongoDB best practices.


Why the MongoDB Intelligent Operational Data Platform?

Better managing data is a primary driver of many legacy modernization initiatives. Research from The McKinsey Global Institute4 concludes data driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.

Existing relational databases – best-of-breed a decade ago – were never designed for the data management demands of today’s digital economy. So how does MongoDB compare to just lifting and shifting your existing database to faster hardware or the cloud?

Lift and Shift: Relational DatabasesModernized and Transformed: MongoDB
Improved application performanceModerateHigh
Cost reductionModerateHigh
3-5x higher developer productivityNoYes
Resilient and scalable out of the boxNoYes
Handle data of any structureNoYes
Global data distributionNoYes
Runs the same everywhereNoYes
Freedom from platform lock-inNoYes

When you choose MongoDB as your data platform for legacy modernization, you’re investing in the best technology for your apps. Building faster. Scaling further. And with no lock-in.

MongoDB is the best way to work with data


MongoDB’s document data model is much more natural to developers than the relational tabular model, and you maintain the same ACID data integrity guarantees you are used to


Unifying data in rich MongoDB documents means your developers write less code and your users get better performance when accessing data


A flexible data model is essential to accommodate agile development and continuous delivery of new features: adapt your schema as your apps evolve, without disruption


Process data in any way your applications require, from simple queries to complex aggregations, analytics, faceted search, geospatial processing, and graph traversals

MongoDB lets you intelligently put data where you need it


Built-in redundancy and self-healing recovery ensure resilience of your modernized apps, without expensive and complex clustering add-ons


Ditch expensive scale-up systems and custom engineering. MongoDB automatically scales out your database to meet growing data volumes and user loads

Workload Isolation

Run operational apps while also serving analytics, machine learning, and BI to unlock critical insights in real time – all on a single data platform

Data Locality

Distribute your data globally to serve worldwide audiences and meet new regulatory compliance mandates

MongoDB gives you the freedom to run anywhere


MongoDB runs the same everywhere – commodity hardware on-premises, on the mainframe, in the cloud, or as an on-demand, fully managed Database as a Service

Global Coverage

Deploy a MongoDB cluster across the globe – or turn to MongoDB Atlas, our Database as a Service, for coverage in 50+ regions of all the major cloud providers

No Lock-In

Get the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy and avoid vendor lock-in – or if you want, run MongoDB yourself on-prem


Move Faster

  • Deliver new applications and features 3-5x faster

  • Expand into global markets, distributing apps and data to where they need to be

  • Leverage proven best practices to accelerate modernization across your existing application portfolio

Reduce Risk

  • Tap into the expertise of consultants who have modernized thousands of apps

  • Deliver resilient data platforms that eliminate downtime and fines

  • Meet the demands of new regulatory requirements mandating strict controls on data sovereignty

Improve Innovation

  • Embrace digital business models to generate new revenue streams, without legacy platforms and processes holding you back

  • Rapidly integrate transformational technologies such as AI, IoT, mobile and social channels, cloud platforms, and blockchains across your app portfolio

  • Provide digital experiences that are a unique differentiator vs. your competition

Lower Costs

  • Cut costs by 70% or more by eliminating expensive licensing, audits, MIPS, support contracts, and hardware

  • Leverage cloud and commodity infrastructure for your application portfolio

  • Move IT from capex-intensive “build and run yourself” to opex-friendly “consume as a service”

Use Cases

Legacy modernization addresses both updating your existing portfolio and creating new applications.
Example use cases include the following.


Single View

Consolidate data from multiple sources into a central repository to create a single view of anything – customers, products, risk, and more

Why MongoDB?

Its flexible data model allows you to ingest and surface data of any structure, while avoiding costly schema migrations when source systems change


Mobile & Online

Serve customers across any channel and any device – web, smartphone, PC, and tablet – optimizing user experience however they engage with you

Why MongoDB?

Store data where you need it, from iOS and Android devices to your backend – all using a single database, enabling you to build the fastest, most reactive apps


Payment Processing

Modernized transactional systems enable you to serve more customers faster at any scale, and at lower cost

Why MongoDB?

Whether creating mobile payment gateways or modernizing eCommerce and trading systems, multi-document ACID transactions give you the strongest levels of data integrity


Real Time Analytics & ML/AI

Speed to insight and action is becoming a critical requirement for many organizations, harnessing the power of AI to make sense of massive data sets in real time

Why MongoDB?

Its rich query language, indexing, and powerful native data visualization enable you to make sense of data. Workload isolation co-locates operational and analytical processes, eliminating ETL



Create customized and contextual online experiences in real time by analyzing behavioural and demographic profiles, historical interactions, and preferences

Why MongoDB?

Collect and process data of any structure, analyzing and serving it at low latency to present the right offers, recommendations and experiences to your customers


Catalog & Content Management

Whether managing content or catalogs, you need to serve the right assets to your users across any channel, with a low latency experience

Why MongoDB?

Its flexible data model allows you to store content assets of any type, and with MongoDB’s distributed systems architecture, you can place it physically close to your users, wherever they are



IoT is the enabler to merging the physical and digital worlds, enabling you to create new business models and realize operational efficiencies never before possible

Why MongoDB?

It’s scale-out, distributed architecture and flexible data model enables you to ingest vast streams of rapidly changing sensor data, with rich queries and analytics unlocking insights in real time

Customer Spotlight

To keep pace with demands from the business, Travelers Insurance modernized its development processes with a microservices architecture supported by agile and DevOps methodologies. But the rigidity of its existing Oracle and SQL Server databases imposed blockers to moving at the speed they needed. The solution was MongoDB and its flexible data model. They eliminated the 3-day wait to make any database changes, creating a software development pipeline supporting continuous delivery of new business functionality.

Learn more →

Cisco migrated its ecommerce platform, handling over $40bn of revenue per annum, from a legacy relational database to MongoDB. As a result, customer experience is improved by reducing latency 5x and improving availability by 100x. The migration has driven developer productivity gains, eliminating 25+ business critical backlog features. Developers can build new applications faster, while the company’s e-commerce platform can tap into the business agility enabled by cloud computing.

Learn more →

eHarmony drove a 50% increase in subscribers by accelerating compatibility matching between potential partners by 95% after migrating from relational databases, including PostgreSQL. MongoDB’s rich query language and flexible data model allows them to store and query data in any way they want. Using the platform’s distributed architecture, they’ve been able to scale out on commodity hardware to reduce costs and expand into new international markets.

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Financial giant RBS has modernized its investment banking systems with a new operational data layer, built on MongoDB. It has accelerated developer productivity to build new applications in days rather than months, reduced the amount of data duplication between systems, and created a simplified cloud-ready infrastructure for data scale. In the process, it has avoided millions of dollars in licensing costs by decommissioning hundreds of Oracle servers.

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Sega HARDlight, publisher of iconic gaming titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Crazy Taxi, faced increased scalability challenges as its games moved to online and mobile platforms. Its solution was to migrate from on-premises data centers and MySQL tabular databases to MongoDB, running as a service in the cloud with agile DevOps processes. The results: building new games faster by using the MongoDB document model, and scaling to millions of users enjoying an always-on gaming experience.

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China Eastern Airlines moved its travel search apps from Oracle to MongoDB. This enabled the company’s developers to build an application that was not possible with Oracle, transforming customer experience and driving more business online. The simplicity of the document data model, dynamic schema, idiomatic drivers, and indexing flexibility mean the development teams can now launch new applications faster, and unlock significant cost savings.

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To keep pace with demands from the business, Travelers Insurance modernized its development processes with a microservices architecture supported by agile and DevOps methodologies. But the rigidity of its existing Oracle and SQL Server databases imposed blockers to moving at the speed they needed. The solution was MongoDB and its flexible data model. They eliminated the 3-day wait to make any database changes, creating a software development pipeline supporting continuous delivery of new business functionality.

Learn more →

To keep pace with demands from the business, Travelers Insurance modernized its development processes with a microservices architecture supported by agile and DevOps methodologies. But the rigidity of its existing Oracle and SQL Server databases imposed blockers to moving at the speed they needed. The solution was MongoDB and its flexible data model. They eliminated the 3-day wait to make any database changes, creating a software development pipeline supporting continuous delivery of new business functionality.

Learn more →


RDBMS to MongoDB Migration Guide

Core concepts, schema design, application development, and data migration considerations when evaluating MongoDB vs. relational databases

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Microservices: The Evolution of Building Modern Applications

An introduction to microservices, their advantages, and what technologies are required for this architecture pattern

Learn more →

MongoDB Multi-Document ACID Transactions

Learn how MongoDB is the only open source data platform to combine the ACID guarantees of traditional relational databases with the power of the document model and the scalability of a distributed systems architecture

Learn more →

Get in touch to learn more about building an Application Modernization Factory, review use-cases, and more