Planning Your Cloud Migration? Discover These 6 Essential Strategies to Make the Right Choice

Many birds rely on migration to survive. Apart from seeking a suitable climate and water, they migrate primarily for food. Therefore, it is no wonder that the person who coined the term cloud migration foresaw how cloud migration is a survival strategy in today’s digital world for enterprises across the board.

 Migrating data, applications, or other elements of a business to a cloud computing environment is called cloud migration. As a result of the recent health crisis, cloud adoption has exploded from function-specific to enterprise-wide applications in many industries. Further, the adoption of IoT, ML, AI, edge computing, and many others is also paving its way in our daily lives. Since the world has been experiencing a sudden movement towards digitalization, it’s no surprise that 90 percent of the data in the world has been generated just in the last two years. Statista reports the global creation of data is expected to grow to more than 180 Zettabytes by 2025, reaffirming the unstoppable growth of data.

Now the main concern is where will this staggering amount of data go?

Considering the massive amount of data being collected and generated, enterprises are looking to scale their data storage. There are many advantages to using the cloud, as it solves data volume problems and brings several benefits.

Cloud computing benefits

Let us then explore how enterprises can start their journey towards an efficient and intelligent Cloud Data Migration Strategy.

An organization’s chosen strategy directly affects the amount of work involved in migration, the number of potential benefits derived from using the cloud, and the possible long-term cost savings from the new operations model.

Gartner analyst Richard Watson introduced this concept in 2011. In a widely cited blog post by Steven Orban of Amazon Web Services in 2016, the five original strategies – Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild and Replace – were revived and adapted, adding a sixth.

  • Rehost (lift and shift).

Lift-and-shifting, or rehosting, makes use of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Data and applications can be redeployed to the cloud server as needed. For organizations not familiar with cloud technologies, it is an easy process. For example, despite not implementing any cloud optimizations, GE Oil & Gas found that it could rehost its applications and save roughly 30% of costs.

Ideal for: Legacy migrations, teams with limited cloud skills.

Pros: Lower risk of breaking applications, faster and easier migration.

Cons: Applications might be less efficient in using cloud resources and more challenging to scale up and down.

  • Replatforming

Through re-platforming, apps can be configured to be more compatible with the cloud environment without changing their core architecture. Replatforming requires a deeper insight into an application or virtual machine to be migrated than Rehosting but does not require the complexity and effort of Rearchitecting.

Ideal for: App developers commonly use this approach to change the way apps interact with databases to run on managed platforms like Google CloudSQL or Amazon RDS.

Pros: Using re-platforming, applications can benefit from cloud capabilities such as auto-scaling, managed storage and data processing services, and infrastructure as code (IaC). Cost-effective as it does not require significant investments

Cons: The scope of the work can grow, and changes must be made aggressively. To run the system in the cloud, some level of automation that provides some level of flexibility is required.

  • Refactor

Refactoring, or a re-architecture, is the process of looking at existing applications and leveraging cloud-native features and services from the coding or architecture perspectives.   This strategy can also be the most worthwhile if you have a good product-market fit despite being expensive. For example, enterprises can leverage Azure SQL Database Managed Instances and Azure Container Service through refactoring when using public clouds such as Microsoft Azure. Additionally, enterprises can help re-architect, refactor, and rebuild their Azure apps using Azure App Service, Azure Functions, and Logic Apps.  

Ideal for: Applications that are business-critical and sensitive, where disruption of ongoing functions is a concern, but where it is necessary to improve or modernize the infrastructure.

Pros: It’s quick and easy but allows you to upgrade your infrastructure by integrating DevOps automation and switching to container deployment. 

Cons: The application cannot be split into microservices, which can provide significant efficiencies in the cloud

  • Retire

A business needs to identify assets and services that can be retired to focus on widely used services and provide immediate value.

Ideal for: In cases where the application’s capabilities are redundant or no longer needed, it makes sense to disable it.  

Pros: An opportunity to eliminate obsolete applications from your portfolio. Save money and other factors associated with outdated applications.

  • Retain: 

Migration may not be feasible for all applications, platforms, or data. It’s not uncommon for organizations that consider migrating to the public cloud to realize that they’re better suited for hybrid cloud deployment, as some of their existing architectures are still valuable in-house.

Ideal for:   When organizations deploy hybrid clouds, retaining is often used to maintain business continuity throughout long-term migrations. Heavily invested in on-premises applications, the legacy app is not compatible with the cloud and works well on-prem.

Pros: Revisits complex apps later

  • Repurchase:

An organization may decide to switch to another product, ending current licensing and repurposing services on a new platform. Typically, moving to SaaS (Software as a Service) is the solution. Essentially, it involves changing your licensing agreement with the cloud provider; you stop the on-premises license and take on a new one with the cloud provider.

Ideal for: You are replacing software for standard functions like finance, accounting, CRM, human resource management, ERP, email, content management systems, etc. Legacy applications that are not compatible with cloud services.

Pros: Cloud-based apps are now more efficient, and app storage and maintenance costs can be reduced.

Cons: When repurchasing, you might face training staff and vendor lock-in challenges. Cloud-based platforms are less customizable and offer less control.

The enterprise cloud migration strategy should be customized precisely to the needs and goals of each organization. As you begin your cloud data migration strategy, keep data backup and recovery, security, and compliance your top priorities.

Click here to check out how Data Dynamics utilized the Azure File Migration Program to help one of the world’s seven multinational energy “supermajors” Fortune 50 companies accelerate its net zero emission goals while driving digital transformation.

Learn how you can begin your cloud migration journey in only three steps with the Azure File Migration Program– zero cost migrations into Azure with Data Dynamics’ StorageX, sponsored by Microsoft. Contact us at or click here to book a meeting.

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