Enterprises can rewrite legacy applications and move them to the Amazon cloud with a new product from a vendor called Queplix.

Queplix recently announced QueCloud, an upgrade to a previous product that helped companies move old applications into virtualised servers based on VMware or Xen. Starting in Q4, QueCloud will support deployment of existing applications to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud.

The target market includes companies that have invested loads of money into legacy applications that are so old they aren't supported by the software vendor, says Queplix CTO and founder Steve Yaskin. Converting PeopleSoft or Siebel applications is one possibility.

"We take legacy systems and move them into the cloud," Yaskin says. "The end result is a brand new application that looks, behaves and maintains workflows just like the old legacy system but there's essentially nothing left from the legacy system. We're not using its code."

The process takes a couple of weeks and has a few steps. A crawler searches through the database to extract information such as business entities, metadata, user IDs and permissions, and builds new user interface screens.

Second, a designer module allows administrators to customize the look and feel of the system and perhaps make improvements over the original user interface. Finally, QueCloud deploys the workload to Amazon as an application that will seem almost identical to users, but code has been replaced by Java code.

"It looks, feels and behaves just like the old legacy systems, but it's running from the cloud," Yaskin says.

The rewritten application for the cloud will support advanced features such as search, auditing, data compliance, and automatic alerts for security breaches, he says.

The price would likely limit QueCloud to large enterprises. Yaskin says the cost ranges from $150,000 to nearly $1 million depending on the nature of the legacy system and how many applications the customer wants to convert. The price can still be much less than the support fees enterprises pay to maintain out-of-date systems, according to Yaskin.

Once deployed to the cloud, the software would be supported by Queplix and the underlying infrastructure would be supported by the cloud vendor.

Queplix has about a dozen customers with big names such as John Deere, Avaya, Citrix, Home Depot, HP, Honda and Sony Ericsson. Customers have used Queplix technology to convert legacy apps into virtualized environments, but have not yet moved any production applications into the cloud, Yaskin says. Some of them are piloting cloud deployments, however.

Queplix, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was founded in 2004 but is still "operating as a startup," according to Yaskin. The company just closed a $1.5 million Series A financing round from Javelin Venture Partners to expand its push into the cloud and enterprise search markets. In March, the company unveiled a search product called QueSearch based on the same crawler technology used in QueCloud.