By 2025, 94% of enterprises will use cloud services. And as more businesses turn to cloud tech, it’s important to understand the transition process. One of the key aspects of the process is cloud migration. As a software development company, we know how overwhelming it can all be to most business owners and even some IT specialists.

This guide will walk you through the main considerations for successful cloud migration. With the right strategy, transitioning to the cloud can help you evolve your business.

Illustration of data transfer across the globe with the use of cloud migration technology.

What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration involves shifting your data, applications, or IT infrastructure to cloud environments. These environments can be public (shared resources offered by cloud providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure), private (dedicated cloud resources for your organisation), or a hybrid mix of both. The goal is to leverage the scalability, flexibility, and cost optimisation of cloud computing.

However, cloud migration can also involve moving data and applications from one cloud platform or provider to another. This model is called cloud-to-cloud migration (C2C).

The third type of migration is reverse cloud migration (cloud repatriation or cloud exit) which involves moving data or applications from the cloud back to an on-premises data centre.

What is legacy infrastructure?

Before we delve deeper into cloud migration, it’s important to understand the concept of legacy infrastructure. Legacy infrastructure refers to outdated computer hardware, software systems, and IT processes still in use within an organisation. Think of it like clinging to an old typewriter in a world dominated by laptops and smartphones.

It’s characterised by:

Why Is Cloud Migration Important?

Cloud computing transforms IT resources from on-premise infrastructure into a utility model similar to electricity or phone services. This offers unparalleled scalability since you only pay for what you use. It also provides operational agility that empowers businesses to adapt quickly to changing needs.

However, migrating sensitive data and critical operations to the cloud demands careful consideration. Some workloads may not be ideal for the cloud due to performance requirements, complex dependencies, or their original architecture. Also, strict legal regulations around compliance, security, and data sovereignty can impact migration.

A well-executed cloud migration is more than just a technical exercise. It’s a comprehensive business strategy that requires a deep understanding of your company’s objectives and the capabilities of cloud technologies. That is why most businesses outsource the task to cloud consulting professionals.

What Are the Main Benefits of Cloud Migration?

Migrating to the cloud offers many advantages over on-premises infrastructure. The cloud’s elasticity and scalability allow you to provision resources on demand. You only pay for what you use, so you can scale up or down as needed without wasted resources.

#1 Cost reduction

Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying and maintaining on-premises hardware and software. You pay on a subscription basis for cloud services. The cloud also reduces operational costs like power, cooling, and IT staff.

#2 Agility increase

The cloud gives you the agility to respond quickly to changes in the business environment. You can provision resources on demand, deploy applications faster, and scale services up and down as needed. The cloud’s self-service model puts you in control of provisioning resources.

#3 Advanced disaster recovery

The cloud makes it easy to back up data and applications, enabling quick recovery from outages or disasters. Cloud services offer automatic data replication across regions and availability zones. If one zone goes down, you can fall back to another.

#4 Stronger security

The cloud provides advanced security technologies and practices that would be difficult for most organizations to implement. Cloud providers offer identity and access management tools, data encryption tools, threat detection tools, etc.

However, you are still responsible for cloud security, so you must take measures like enabling MFA, restricting access, and auditing usage. This is where professional cybersecurity specialists can prove beneficial to your business.

#5 Enhanced collaboration and mobility

Cloud-based applications can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This fosters better collaboration among geographically dispersed teams and empowers a mobile workforce.

#6 Innovation and access to cutting-edge technologies

Cloud platforms offer innovative services such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics. Cloud migration allows you to leverage these technologies to gain a competitive edge and unlock new business opportunities.

Types of Cloud Migration Strategies

Cloud migration requires a strategic plan since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The optimal strategy depends on your existing infrastructure, the nature of your applications, and your desired outcomes. Here’s a breakdown of the most common cloud migration approaches:

Lift and Shift (Rehosting)

This is the simplest and fastest method, where you essentially lift and shift” your existing applications and data to the cloud without major modifications. It’s ideal for applications that are already cloud-compatible and require a quick migration with minimal downtime.


This strategy involves using the cloud platform’s features to optimise your applications. You might modify the application code to leverage cloud-native services for enhanced performance and scalability. This requires some development effort but can significantly improve the efficiency and functionality of your applications in the cloud environment.


In this scenario, you completely rebuild your applications to be cloud-native. This approach allows you to fully exploit the cloud’s capabilities for maximum agility and scalability. However, it’s the most resource-intensive strategy and may not be feasible for all applications.

Cloud-to-Cloud Migration

This involves migrating data and applications between different cloud platforms. This might be driven by factors like cost optimisation, the desire to access new features offered by another provider or concerns about vendor lock-in with your current platform.


Some legacy applications may not be worth migrating to the cloud. In these cases, you can choose to retire the application.

Choosing Cloud Deployment Models

Cloud migration doesn’t just involve moving your data and applications. It also determines where they’ll reside and how they’ll be managed.

This is where cloud deployment models come in. These models define the environment you choose for your cloud infrastructure, each offering distinct advantages and considerations. The three most common deployment models are:

The optimal deployment model depends on your specific needs. Once you evaluate your security requirements, budget constraints, and the nature of your applications, you can choose the environment that best suits your migration goals.

How Does the Cloud Migration Process Work?

Cloud migration is a strategic journey, not a one-time event. A well-defined plan is critical for a successful transition. Here’s a breakdown of the key stages involved:

  1. Assessment. Thoroughly evaluate your current IT infrastructure and applications to determine what can be migrated to the cloud. This includes analysing security requirements, application dependencies, and resource utilization.
  2. Planning. Develop a detailed migration plan that outlines the chosen strategy, timeline, budget, and resource allocation. This plan should also address security protocols, disaster recovery strategies, and staff training needs.
  3. Execution. This stage involves migrating your data and applications to the cloud environment. Depending on the chosen strategy, this might be lifting and shifting existing applications, re-platforming for optimisation, or complete re-architecting for cloud-native functionality.
  4. Optimisation. Once the migration is complete, the process doesn’t end there. Continuously monitor and optimise your cloud environment to ensure peak performance and cost-efficiency. Leverage cloud-native features like autoscaling and automated patching to streamline operations.

What Are the Challenges of Cloud Migration

While cloud migration offers an overload of benefits, it’s crucial to carefully consider the potential challenges and ensure you have a well-defined plan in place. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Cloud Migration Tools and Services

Major cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer a comprehensive suite of cloud migration tools and services. These often include:

Additional resources:

Beyond the offerings of major cloud providers, there are various other tools and services available to support your cloud migration journey:

As cloud migration accelerates, several trends have emerged. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments are increasingly popular, allowing companies to use different clouds for different needs. For example, a company may use Amazon Web Services for storage and Google Cloud Platform for big data analytics. Hybrid clouds connect private on-premises clouds with public third-party clouds, providing more flexibility.

Containerisation is another trend simplifying cloud migration. Containers allow you to package software into standardized units that can run anywhere. This makes moving applications to the cloud much easier. Kubernetes and Docker are popular containerization tools used for cloud migration.

Many companies adopt a “cloud-first” strategy, deploying new applications directly to the cloud instead of on-premises infrastructure. This avoids the need for future migration and takes full advantage of cloud benefits like scalability, agility, and reduced costs. However, legacy applications still need to be migrated.

Finally, cloud migration is being driven by digital transformation initiatives in many organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and cloud migration. With many employees working remotely, companies have found that cloud-based systems are more accessible and resilient. Cloud migration has enabled continued operations during this challenging time.

The cloud provides a flexible platform for AI, IoT, blockchain, and other innovations. Cloud migration is often a first step to enabling these technologies and remaining competitive.

Also read: Capaciteam’s Guide to Cloud Computing Trends 2024.

Final Thoughts

While automation can play a role, a successful cloud migration hinges on understanding your application requirements and resource needs.

Carefully analyse application performance and dependencies before migration, and be prepared to address potential database compatibility issues. A phased approach, migrating less critical workloads first, can also help identify and mitigate challenges before migrating core applications.

By coupling the right mix of tools and services with careful planning and a strategic IT partnership, your business can greatly benefit from cloud migration.