The OutSystems Build-for-the-Future Promise

Helping Customers Turn Disruptive Technology Shifts into a Strategic Advantage

The only constant in the technology industry is continuous change. Every day brings a new device, app, service, tool, platform, framework, protocol, architecture, etc. For software, all this change drives innovation but also inexorably renders billions (if not trillions) of dollars of previous investment obsolete.

The greatest challenge for the software industry is extending the life of applications beyond the introduction of new generations of technology, defying obsolescence. Tackling this challenge head-on was one of the core principles on which OutSystems was founded and continues to this day to be the company's North Star. By abstracting an application’s design in a model (instead of in lines of procedural code), the implementation of that application can be decoupled from the underlying technology stack. With this model-based architecture, OutSystems customers’ applications continue to run and be modified even as significant changes are made to the platform.

  • “There are applications written twenty years ago on the OutSystems platform that continue to run and be changed today”

Because of this unique architecture, our customers’ apps have persisted and evolved through many disruptive technology shifts: from client-server to web, from web to mobile, from on premise to cloud. There are applications written twenty years ago on the OutSystems platform that continue to run and be changed today, in spite of many generations of new technologies and eleven major versions of the platform. Keeping twenty year old code running as an up-to-date, modern app is virtually unheard of (ask any COBOL programmer making $700 an hour to maintain mainframe code), yet this is a reality for OutSystems customers.

While other platform vendors routinely leave customers behind when introducing even modest advances - forcing customers to rewrite or discard entire application portfolios, OutSystems always strives to bring our customers forward. Customers’ applications might need some adaptation to reap every last benefit of the most state-of-the-art technologies, but we believe that customers applications should continue to run and should be able to continuously evolve - without major rewrites - even with major changes to the underlying platform. This is the core of the OutSystems Build-for-the-Future Promise.

We’ve succeeded in helping customers adapt, evolve and refresh their applications for the last 20 years and we promise to continue doing this for customers for the next 20 years. An immutable fact is that OutSystems leads the industry in helping customers adapt their application portfolios in the face of disruptive technology shifts and we promise to continue leading the industry in this greatest of challenges.

  • “We’ve succeeded in helping customers adapt, evolve and refresh their applications for the last 20 years and we promise to continue doing this for customers for the next 20 years”

As disruptive technology shifts go, our industry is in the middle of one of the most significant ones of the last decade: the shift from traditional applications running in the cloud to a new generation of apps built with a cloud-native architecture. As with all the previous shifts over the last two decades, OutSystems is at the forefront of helping customers build new apps that take advantage of these exciting new technologies, and at the same time, OutSystems is laying the groundwork to help customers’ existing apps make the transition into this new paradigm.

In service of the first goal:

Helping customers build a new generation of cloud-native applications

OutSystems is introducing Project Neo, slated for release in late 2022. This new offering dramatically reduces the complexity of building cloud-native applications with containers, Kubernetes clusters, serverless functions and myriad other state-of-the-art technologies. Instead of customers spending months and hundreds of thousands of dollars architecting and configuring their cloud runtime and integrating the dozens of necessary cloud services, Project Neo pre-packages all this work and integrates it all into the platform so developers simply focus on implementing their application logic. Productivity when building and running cloud native applications will skyrocket ten-fold.

In service of the second goal:

Helping customers extract every last advantage out of the current generation of technology and ensuring they have a smooth path forward to the next-generation of technology when the timing suits them best

Today, OutSystems flagship offering is OutSystems 11. This award-winning platform, consistently ranked by analysts and customers as a leader in this market, helps customers efficiently build strategic applications that run both on premises as well as in multiple public clouds.

Since OutSystems 11 currently supports a broader range of use cases than Project Neo from launch through most of 2022, we anticipate that this year many existing customers will continue to build their applications on OutSystems 11, and similarly, many new customers will begin their development journey with OutSystems 11. With our continued engineering investment in OutSystems 11 and the Build for the Future Promise, customers should feel confident that their investments in OutSystems 11 today will pay dividends for as long as is required. Project Neo only represents a benefit to those investments, not a risk.

How specifically does the Build for the Future Promise apply to OutSystems 11 and Project Neo applications? The details depend on what kind of applications a customer requires:

Build for the Future Promise details for:

Customers with applications running the OutSystems 11 Cloud

You will be able to run your applications in the OutSystems 11 Cloud at least through March 2027 (5 years from now), and we will provide you with at least two years of notice for the precise end date for the OutSystems 11 Cloud.

More importantly, though, long before the end of life date for OutSystems 11 Cloud, OutSystems will enable customers to run their OutSystems 11 applications - without additional development effort - on Project Neo. While not inheriting all of the benefits of native Project Neo applications, OutSystems 11 apps running on Project Neo will see improvements (e.g. scalability and robustness) from the new platform’s more modern architecture.

If a customer hasn’t moved their applications to Project Neo by March 2027, OutSystems will upgrade their apps and data to run in Project Neo for them - again without requiring any additional development effort.

Build for the Future Promise details for:

Customers with self-managed OutSystems 11 applications

As with OutSystems 11 Cloud customers, you will be able to continue running your self-managed applications at least through March 2027, and we will provide you with at least two years of notice before OutSystems 11 will no longer be available to support self-managed applications.

More importantly, though, long before the end of life date for OutSystems 11 for self-managed applications, OutSystems will offer you the option of upgrading your OutSystems 11 applications to Project Neo running in your own private cloud. Everything needed to run your apps will be inside your domain, with all of your data and IP controlled by you. This option will be available by the end of 2024.

This will be a self-managed solution but based on a modern cloud architecture. We are taking this approach because Project Neo is a state-of-the-art, cloud native platform. As such, it requires sophisticated services for auto scaling, low cost of operation, and complex data configurations. It also depends on network optimizations made possible through services only available from the most sophisticated cloud providers. Furthermore, this infrastructure is constantly changing and will almost certainly change dramatically over the next five years. We want to provide you with the best possible technology solution for you to run your applications and this approach reflects that’s imperative.

Summary

As we expand and evolve the capabilities of Project Neo, we will not just focus on new customer use cases, we will also focus on enabling customers to bring forward their OutSystems 11 apps so all of their investments pay off long into the future. This means that:

  • Project Neo will allow OutSystems 11 apps to be developed and hosted as if they were in OutSystems 11 without requiring additional development effort.
  • At your convenience, you’ll be able to upgrade your OutSystems 11 apps to Project Neo where they can be developed and hosted as if they were in OutSystems 11 - with no additional development effort or significant retraining required.
  • Project Neo will support both multiple and hybrid cloud strategies.
  • Project Neo will allow for generated code, app data, container configurations and infrastructure configuration templates to be exported. In order for customers to run and operate apps, specific PaaS capabilities will need to be replaced by customer owned services. This approach ensures no code lock-in.

Even with the coming launch of Project Neo, OutSystems 11 remains a flagship offering, and it continues to be an industry-leading platform on which hundreds of thousands of developers depend. OutSystems will continue to innovate on the OutSystems 11 platform even as we launch and evolve Project Neo. The OutSystems Build for the Future Promise means that whatever you build today on OutSystems 11 will be able to run on Project Neo in the near future. More importantly, it means that whatever investments you make building applications with OutSystems - no matter what technology shifts come next - we will continue to bring your applications forward just as we have for the last twenty years.