Cloud migration strategy
Iryna Kravchenko Iryna KravchenkoChief Editor

Cloud migration: Strategies and best practices

According to Delloite, the demand for cloud migration grows due to lockdowns and the need for many businesses to work from anywhere. “Work from anywhere”, also referred to as WFA, a “forced experiment” as Deloitte name it, is considered a success among lots of employees and employers. So, although being not a megatrend, cloud migration as part of digital transformation keeps growing its popularity.  

WFA is just one side of the coin, while another side is data security. Only a few years ago, the question was as follows: “How is it possible to keep our data secure when migrating to a cloud?” Today, the question sounds otherwise — “How is it possible to keep our data secure when remaining on-premise?”

Cloud migration is a must-have rather than an option for many organizations that cannot afford to keep their infrastructures vulnerable to various cyber threats. Besides, the almost infinite scalability that cloud providers offer to their clients is leaving fewer and fewer chances to on-premise infrastructures to stay competitive in the present era of digital expansion.

Let’s dissect the cloud migration phenomenon to grasp how it contributes to the corporate sector when banks and enterprises start working from clouds. Our professional tips on building an effective cloud migration strategy are available in the post as well.

Why migrate to the cloud? Here are obvious reasons

Surely, many other reasons might be familiar and specific to particularly your company. The challenges you face make you think of moving to the cloud but how to start? Below you will find a clear step-by-step cloud migration action plan.  

Related article:

Cloud deployment models: Overview and comparison

What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration is a widely used definition of a certain sequence of actions that results in the relocation of digital instruments, processes, and data of an organization from on-premise infrastructure to a cloud platform. Such a relocation allows using a cloud provider’s infrastructure to reduce IT-related expenses, achieve a larger scaling, and provide services from anywhere.

In addition to leaving a local infrastructure for a cloud one, there is a transition from one cloud platform to another. Besides, a reverse migration from a cloud to on-premise infrastructures is also possible. A particular cloud migration approach depends on the business goals that an enterprise is going to achieve. Before considering the most popular strategies of cloud migration, it is worth understanding the motivations for moving from local infrastructures to cloud

Value of cloud migration

Have you recognized your reason for migration to cloud in the list above? Let’s now talk about the potential value you can get when migrating to the cloud. 

Cloud migration: Strategies and best practices

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Below are the five most valuable benefits.

1. Collaboration

With access to the cloud, business owners improve collaboration within their companies. The same goes for collaboration between employees and customers. You as a sales representative, for example, can instantly reply to a customer with the required information attached right off any device.  

The manager won’t need to get to the office to answer the request. The customer, in turn, would be glad to receive the reply as soon as possible. That works well especially for businesses where quick replies to customer requests are a must-have — insurance, banking, fintech, healthcare, to name a few.  

2. Cost

Pay for what you use” is the main pricing principle of cloud services. Typically, cloud service plans include the price of the web server hardware, support, maintenance, etc. In such a way, you can decrease operational costs significantly. To make sure that it’s true, you first will need to analyze and calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud computing technology if adopted by your business.  

3. Integration

Cloud migration can give a rise to integration capabilities, which, in its turn, will ensure real-time data exchange. By getting real-time data, you can improve decision-making and forecasting in your business.  

4. Scalability

Fast-growing SMBs and enterprises find it a true pain when they can’t scale up at the desired pace. This is a real challenge when it comes to a growing number of customers, products, and services, data that should be stored and analyzed according to certain regulations. Cloud allows for painless scale-up or scale-down with your existing IT infrastructure.  

5. Security

Most cloud service providers comply with security regulations introduced in PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO27001, AICPA/SOC certificates. Besides, they provide much more security features than traditional data centers. So, you can rest assured that your business data is safe.  

So, how to move legacy applications to cloud? 

Cloud migration best practices

If you decided to migrate to cloud, you should be prepared to allocate resources to manage the organizational changes associated with this process. You should be smart about cloud migration strategies. The largest cloud service providers share the most effective cloud migration strategy steps. For example, here’s how Microsoft Azure presents their roadmap: 

Cloud migration strategy Azure is divided into three stages: before migration, during migration, and after migration. As you can see in the picture, the first stage is comprised of strategy definition and planning, the second one — preparing environment and workloads, and the third — implementation and management. Each stage can’t be ignored and plays its unique and instrumental role in migration success.  

Amazon Web Services offers six application migration strategies, also referred to as “the six R’s”: 

Cloud migration strategies

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migration to cloud strategy

Cloud migration is far from infancy not to have well-tested strategies. In addition to custom ones created by cloud migration professionals for certain enterprises in certain circumstances, there are six popular strategies widely known as the “6R”.

Rehosting (lift-&-shift). As the name implies, your entire IT stack is to be relocated from local hosting to a cloud platform. A replica of your current IT environment with no significant changes should be moved to a cloud for the fastest possible ROI. This is a common methodology for such services as the Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. Rehosting fits well to companies with conservative cultures as well as to those organizations that have no further plans to use enhanced cloud functionalities.

Replatforming. The strategy is also known as “migration with modification”. In contrast to the “lift-&-shift”, your infrastructure should be modified to some extent according to the requirements of the selected cloud environment. The basic architecture of your applications remains the same, however. This strategy is appropriate for quite conservative enterprises that seek to build confidence in cloud technologies through achieving such advantages as productivity gains.

Repurchasing. This is when your applications should be rewritten to work on a cloud platform. The strategy is often executed through the Software-as-a-Service technology, and your on-premise infrastructure is changed for a new in-cloud one. The challenge of such an approach is that you have to leave your former code completely and train your team to work with a new platform. Nonetheless, repurchasing can be the most cost-effective strategy if you need to get rid of a narrow-specialized obsolete environment.

Refactoring. The already existing code is run on the cloud provider’s platform. At the same time, such a strategy requires your app architectures to be completely rebuilt. A detailed analysis of your business case and your agendas on development, testing, and deployment, have to be created. This is the most resource-consuming variant of cloud migration. However, refactoring is worth doing when your business demands those cloud capabilities and features that are unattainable within your existing environment (auto-scaling, for instance). Besides, refactoring allows your infrastructure to be compatible with future versions.

Retire. It may happen that after assessing the readiness of your app portfolio to work in a cloud environment, some applications appear redundant. Just delete them, then. The resulting resource savings can enhance the economic rationale to move the rest of the apps to a cloud.

Retain. The strategy implies revisiting critical applications that have to stay on-premise for some reasons (latency, local regulations, confidentiality, etc.). Besides, refactoring of such applications may appear too expensive to be feasible. Retain is about the hybrid cloud migration when both on-premise infrastructures and in-cloud ones are used in parallel.

More details about AWS cloud migration strategies – read here.   

What are the cloud migration types?

Three types of cloud migration include: full, partial, parallel. Let’s have a look at what each of these means.  

  1. The full migration is referred to the on-premise to cloud migration type. Traditionally, it’s the process of moving existing physical IT infrastructure (applications, data, setting) to the cloud. The end result of this migration is the same infrastructure that is known and clear to your employees, but in the cloud. Small and middle-sized companies usually choose full migration as their IT systems are not as large as those that belong to enterprises. The execution typically takes a few days and faces minimal risks. The disadvantage of this type is that not all cloud capabilities are available.  
  2. Patrial migration is transferring just a part of the IT systems and data to the cloud. That is a good way to test the cloud service and understand if you really want to move your infrastructure fully. Usually, large companies use this approach.  
  3. Parallel migration means that you can use your existing system while migrating to the cloud. The peculiarity of this migration way is that you will need to maintain both systems simultaneously.  

What is the best cloud migration strategy? The one that fits your needs and opportunities. It’s always a daunting task for enterprises to choose a suitable migration approach. Thus, we offer our professional help in this.  

Please have a look at our data migration services.  

Challenges of cloud migration

A certain range of constraints can occur when an organization ignores the basic cloud migration principles. Some available surveys demonstrate that cloud adopters underestimate the migration process in many aspects oftentimes. They either spend excessive time or go over budget.

In general, companies face problems when trying to migrate with a poor competency in arranging the process. The common example is large data movement: both much longer time and extra investments for special software have to be spent to relocate huge enterprise datasets to a cloud.

Another widespread problem implies obsolete operating systems and databases. Companies have to implement up-to-date software before they start cloud migration. This consumes time and money as well.

Yet another trouble happens with specific network solutions to be relocated to a cloud environment. This is about various multilevel security solutions with numerous VPN and proprietary SW/HW components. It is worth remembering that even though cloud environments are elastic, their elasticity is not limitless, however.

Also, tough situations may appear when enterprises want to change cloud providers. A discrepancy between data storage standards used by a “former” provider and a “future” one can result in a certain mess in the cloud-to-cloud migration process.

The licensing issue should be mentioned in this context as well. There are solid rules established by software developers in cloud environments. In many cases, the rules differ from the general software licensing regulation. Of course, relevant information about the subject can be found on the internet, but it is always better to find a licensing expert for advice.

And finally, budget planning remains a sensitive moment in cloud migration. More often than not, organizations underestimate the overall expenses for cloud migration. As a result, the process can be interrupted for an indefinite period. It is recommended to have a certain financial reserve to cover some possible unforeseen expenditures. Again, professional consultants can assist in calculating reasonable cloud migration costs.

Despite all the above-mentioned challenges of cloud migration, the process usually goes quite smoothly within a week or so. To achieve successful cloud migration, it is necessary to select an appropriate cloud migration strategy, execute trial tests, and have no fear of new things

Cloud migration strategy roadmap

Our cloud data migration experts recommend following these tips to build an appropriate roadmap. If you need individual consulting, we are always happy to communicate.  

Please apply for a free 30-minute strategy session to get more detailed information.

1. Define and involve stakeholders

Before any project starts, its key stakeholders and knowledge owners should take part in the cloud migration process. These people must be from both the IT and business sides. By engaging all stakeholders at the beginning of your migration journey, you will avoid a hassle in the future. What can come in handy is role definition. List all potential stakeholders and write their roles and responsibilities in the cloud migration process.  

2. Create a cloud migration strategy document

The strategy must contain project goals and objectives, a plan, a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), a timeline with stages, a stakeholders list with their roles, and other important information that you can further consult with. 

3. Calculate the Total Cost of Ownership

TCO calculation is instrumental in cloud migration strategy. To calculate it, you use some online calculators offered by cloud service providers or ask your software vendor to help you do this.  

4. Conduct software audit

For successful cloud migration, you must conduct an audit of all existing software systems you have on-premises. This action is instrumental in identifying all gaps and weaknesses to address before the migration otherwise you risk having unexpected troubles.  

5. Partner with a trusted vendor

Choosing the right cloud platform, technology stack, cloud migration tools on your own is a daunting task. This job should be done by professionals. So, make sure your vendor has relevant expertise and can guarantee the project outcomes. 

6. Learn about all options

As mentioned above, there are several types of migration strategies. Your task is to choose the most appropriate, the one that will fit your company’s workflow.   

7. Think of decommissioning

When migration is done, consider the next decommissioning steps for on-premises infrastructure. Decommissioning allows for reducing IT overhead and eliminating the need to manage legacy systems. 

8. Manage and train

When your project is over, train all the stakeholders and employees to take full advantage of the new systems. Keep training and continuously updating your co-workers on new features, security measures, and collaboration opportunities the cloud gives.  


Cloud migration reflects the true zeitgeist of the present digital era in a way that little else does, especially when it comes to enterprise environments. Large organizations with multifaceted IT infrastructures have no need to invest huge money in the continuous upgrading of their on-premise systems any longer. Cloud migration represents a chance to keep corporate infrastructures always up-to-date. Besides, literally infinite scalability is inherent in the majority of leading cloud platforms. 

Today, the “work from anywhere” principle has no limits in terms of the complexity of enterprise workflows. Any sort of organization beginning from infant local startups and up to transnational banking networks can benefit from the high-tech cloud infrastructures that allow running businesses of any scale with unprecedented cost-efficiency.  

The only thing needed to work in clouds successfully is the right cloud migration strategy to be selected. Contact us today if you look for true experts in cloud migration, whatever business infrastructure needs to be relocated. 

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