Strategies for Migrating Enterprise Applications to the Cloud

Here are 6 strategies that can help you in migrating enterprise-wide applications to the cloud.

Today, cloud migration is a hot topic among businesses. But not every organization has made the transition. And of those which have, a significant proportion of them have failed to realize the full benefits of cloud computing.

For organizations experiencing rapid growth and looking to handle the increased demand without additional cost, scaling business operations by migrating to the cloud is a good choice.

But getting the most out of cloud migration starts with a well-thought-out strategy. In this article, we can help you develop this strategy by summarizing a 6-step model that is recommended by most experts. 

Migrating to Cloud Infographic

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What is Cloud Migration?

A man and woman in a cloud datacenter

Cloud migration is about more than simply transitioning to the cloud. It’s an ongoing journey where companies optimize their infrastructure to take advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing.

The general goal of cloud migration for businesses is to host their data and applications (their workload) in the cloud, with its pay-per-use pricing model and the greater flexibility, scalability, and agility it offers.

For example, businesses might invest in new software solutions that automate their sales reps’ daily check-ins and thus help with managing a sales team remotely.

Yet migrating their operations offsite can be a challenging process. Companies that fail to plan adequately can end up running afoul of risks, from stability to cost and security issues.

Reaching the full potential of moving to the cloud in terms of cost-efficiency and performance is a complex process that impacts an organizations’ technology, processes, and people.

The journey is different for every business and depends on the type of migration they need and the kind of IT assets to be migrated.

And there is no universal migration approach.

We cover everything you need to know in this guide to the six migration strategies that will help businesses create a roadmap for their cloud migration.

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6 Types of Cloud Migration Strategies

Here are 6 different types of strategies that you can employ to migrate data to the cloud:


A man and woman discussing how to move applications to the cloud

Rehosting - also known as lift and shift - is, as the name hints, one of the most straightforward cloud migration strategies. It involves transferring data to a cloud-based platform with minimal intervention and refactoring.

So for businesses looking for the quickest procedure with minimal initial effort, rehosting could be the best option.

Businesses that opt to rehost, however, also miss out on the benefits typically associated with cloud migration.

Since rehosting transfers data assets from onsite infrastructure to a cloud-based platform, it can deliver improved speed and performance at reduced costs.

Essentially, the business recreates its application architecture on top of the new cloud infrastructure. And some providers even offer tools that allow automation of rehosting to speed things up even more.

Yet while rehosting is one of the quickest methods, some businesses may not be able to benefit from the full potential of the cloud providers' native apps or features such as autoscaling.

But companies with low demands from cloud operations and those looking to migrate a large-scale enterprise can successfully rehost and experience the benefits of reduced infrastructure costs.


A team of IT professionals

Replatforming is a level beyond the lift and shift method and allows for some optimization of a business’ infrastructure for the cloud.

While the fundamental architecture of applications remains generally unchanged, a replatform allows companies to make some configurational changes.

It’s sometimes called a “lift, tinker, and shift” approach, and companies aiming to migrate within a shorter migration timeline can benefit from rehosting.

Moreover, those with no immediate plans to move towards advanced cloud capabilities in the long term are also well suited for this strategy that allows them to leverage the benefits of the cloud while building their trust in it before they think about refactoring their applications.

Developers can apply this strategy to make a few minor changes to avail themselves of the cloud platform and deliver improvements in end-user activity and system performance.

Organizations whose infrastructure is already meeting their current and future needs might opt for a rehosting service over replatforming. However, the additional forethought and work that goes into the transition in a replatform means it works well sustainably and over the long term.


A person looking up information online

Sometimes known as the “drop and shop” method, repurchasing involves moving your onsite applications to a cloud-native vendor's software platform - most commonly, it entails moving to a SaaS platform (software as a service).

Organizations can eliminate the effort and increase the speed of cloud migration by turning to a wide range of prebuilt solutions on offer from vendors.  

An organization will usually decide to move to a SaaS product to replace their antiquated enterprise software.

For example, they might be eager to invest in the latest software solution that equips their reps with machine learning in sales to make their lives easier and enhance customer relationships.

Businesses increasingly find pay-as-you-go an enticing, efficient no-commitment model that aligns with their income, in contrast to capital expenditure deals.

Build Vs Buy a Cloud Application Infographic

The benefit of repurchasing is that the solutions purchased are designed and sometimes operated by specialists. That reduces the expense of having these skills in-house.

The challenge for organizations is losing control over the schedule of new software features or upgrades to new versions and training your team in administering the software.

In addition, repurchasing might expose companies to the risk of outages or data breaches since responsibility now resides with the vendor.

In comparison to some on-premise custom solutions, SaaS platforms may not always work for organizations with strict security and compliance requirements.

Still, a driver in organizations migrating to the cloud is reducing the overall cost of ownership and yielding ROI in the long run.


A person writing code for an application

Refactoring, also known as re-architecting, means rewriting applications from scratch. The reason to use such a back-to-the-drawing-board approach is to give due consideration to the full range of cloud capabilities when you’re migrating your IT assets from an onsite monolithic architecture to the new environment.

Organizations can refactor assets and take advantage of cloud-native technologies like cloud auto-scaling, containers, function-as-a-service, or serverless computing.                                  

Refactoring delivers highly scalable, efficient, and agile applications that allow organizations to respond better to business events.

Furthermore, with the cloud provider handling much of the day-to-day running of the cloud-native architectures, these solutions simplify operations for organizations and unlock the full range of benefits of the cloud more than the other migration strategies.

This option might be the most expensive and time-consuming migration method. It might be recommended if you have a small use case, but not for large enterprise-wide usage.

Say, building a system to manage and stream TBs of data yourself, wouldn't be the best idea.


A man in a datacenter

Organizations must have a thorough understanding of their IT portfolio as they weigh up their cloud readiness and design their migration strategy.

Perhaps an application is no longer useful and deemed unworthy to migrate to the cloud. In such cases, the applications can simply be turned off or downsized.

Pursuing this strategy allows organizations to run the rule over their applications' use, dependencies, and cost.

One benefit of this strategy is that by eliminating applications that are no longer productive, organizations can make savings that they can put towards justifying the case for applications ready for migration.


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In some cases, organizations can opt to retain critical applications when cloud adoption might first entail a significant amount of rebuilding before they’re ready to be migrated to the cloud.

Maybe a business has only recently invested in upgrading applications which therefore aren't a priority for migration.

Or perhaps they can't move applications off-premises due to compliance or regulatory constraints.

Retaining is a good option in such cases and helps businesses migrate only the data that makes sense for their organization. Take, for example, highly regulated industries like government agencies or healthcare organizations where it’s necessary to maintain their data on-premise.

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Note on Best Practices

Now you understand the six cloud migration strategies, let's end with a comment about best practices in executing the move.

Just as marketers use metrics such as "average e-commerce conversion rates" to monitor the performance of campaigns, organizations embarking on their journey to the cloud should establish their cloud migration KPIs and timelines.

This is essential to track progress, remediate any performance issues, and ultimately validate the success of the cloud migration.


Plain Sailing

Some organizations are wary of the risks involved, including disruption to their operations. Fortunately, they can reap the benefits of cloud technology while keeping some data assets in existing onsite environments by opting for a hybrid cloud model.

With careful planning and the right consulting partner, organizations can use one of these strategies to navigate the challenges safely and realize the benefits of moving to the cloud.


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This article was submitted as a guest post by Jessica Day, who is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level, helping brands in scaling their business by providing HD call—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.

Posted by Guest Blogger

This article has been submitted as a guest blog. If you wish to submit an article to our video streaming blog, do contact us at

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