Cloud Migration Strategy – What Are Your Options?

In order to get various benefits of cloud migration, you need to move all your applications to the cloud. And, to ensure a smooth transition of your applications from your in-house physical servers to the cloud infrastructure, you need to have a well-planned cloud migration strategy in place.


When the CIOs take the decision of cloud migration, the cloud architects or the in-house IT team of the companies faces a lot of challenges in terms of choosing the right strategy to migrate their applications to the cloud given the fact that they need to consider the individual business requirements and the IT goals and objectives of their companies while ensuring that the process of migration doesn’t affect the operations of their company and carries the minimum risk.

5 Important Cloud Migration Strategies are :

1. Rehost the applications on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

2. Refactor/Re-Architect the applications for Platform as a Service (PaaS)

3. Revise the applications for IaaS or PaaS

4. Rebuild the applications on PaaS

5. Replace the applications with Software as a Service (SaaS)

It is noteworthy that none of the aforementioned cloud migration strategies stated by Watson offers a silver bullet, hence, the cloud architects of the in-house IT teams of the companies need to evaluate and understand their cloud migration process from various perspectives and criteria in order to minimize the risk and downtime and leverage the maximum advantage of the cloud to achieve the business goals and cost-limitations of their companies. Here is an overview of all the 5 cloud migration strategies suggested by Watson:

1. Rehost Your Applications on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Rehosting your applications on an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform is the best cloud migration strategy for the companies who want to migrate to the cloud as quickly as possible. While executing this cloud migration strategy, you simply redeploy your applications to a different hardware environment by changing their infrastructure configuration. As already mentioned, the biggest advantage of this cloud migration strategy is that it allows you to move your applications to the cloud quickly, without changing their architecture, which also gives you a disadvantage of not availing the benefit of scalability, offered by your cloud computing services provider.

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2. Refactor Your Applications for Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Another cloud migration strategy that companies can choose to move their applications to the cloud is refactoring or rearchitecting their applications for Platform as a Service (PaaS)This strategy is suitable for those companies who want to reuse the languages, frameworks, and containers they have invested in while leveraging the code which they consider strategic. The disadvantage of this strategy includes missing capabilities, transitive risk, and framework lock-in. Hence, while choosing this strategy, the companies should be aware of the fact that some of the capabilities their developers depend on could be missing from the PaaS offering as its market is still in its early stage.

3. Revise Your Applications for IaaS or PaaS

Revising the applications for IaaS or PaaS is suitable for those companies who want to optimize their applications to leverage the cloud features of the provider’s infrastructure. The drawback of this strategy is that it not only consumes a lot of time but also requires upfront expenses in order to first revise (modify or extent) the existing code base of their applications to support legacy modernization requirements and then use Rehost or Refactor (Re-Architect) cloud migration strategy to move the applications to the cloud.

4. Rebuild Your Applications on PaaS

When the companies choose to rebuild their applications on PaaS, they need to discard the code and frameworks of their existing application followed by the re-architecting or refactoring of their applications in order to move them to the cloud. The advantage of this cloud migration strategy is that it allows the companies to take maximum advantage of the various innovative features of the provider’s cloud platform.  This strategy also helps the companies to improve their developers’ productivity as they get access to the tools that allow customization of their application templates and data models, metadata-driven engines, and the communities that supply pre-built components. The main disadvantage of this cloud migration strategy is that it forces the companies to switch, or potentially abandon some or all of their application assets if the provider makes a pricing or technical change or breaches the service level agreement (SLAs), which they can’t afford to accept.

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5. Replace Your Application with Software as a Service (SaaS)

The strategy of replacing the applications with Software as a Service (SaaS) is suitable for those companies who want to discard their existing application or a set of their applications to use better commercial software delivered as a service. The advantage of this cloud migration strategy is that it allows the companies to avoid investment in mobilizing their development team when the requirements of their business operations change very quickly. The disadvantage of the strategy includes inconsistent data semantics, data access issues, and vendor lock-in.

Important Tip for Choosing a Cloud Migration Strategy

When you decide to migrate your applications to the cloud, make sure that your decision is not taken in a rush to join the cloud race. Instead, you should go for cloud migration only if it helps in the optimization of the following:

  1. Your application’s performance and maintenance
  2. The cost of your running or maintaining your in-house IT infrastructure
  3. Your applications’ contribution to your company’s business and IT Goals