Cloud migration: 3 approaches to consider

Cloud migration: 3 approaches to consider

Richard Brown

17 May 2023 - 10 min read

Cloud Computing
Cloud migration: 3 approaches to consider

In today’s digital landscape, the cloud has emerged as a highly scalable solution for organisations looking to transfer their enterprise infrastructure. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 75% of organisations will adopt a digital transformation model based on the cloud as the fundamental underlying platform.

Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services, specifically, is forecast to grow 21.7% this year. This finding further highlights the value of cloud technology in the global market — both today and in the future. Some of the main benefits of cloud migration include increased flexibility and improved business agility.

However, the challenges of cloud migration remain. Cloud-decision makers cite managing cloud costs and spend (82%) and security (79%) as two familiar challenges, according to the annual State of Cloud report.

To manage these challenges, it is important to find an approach to cloud migration that will allow organisations to meet business objectives and the demands of customers. There is an array of options to consider for your cloud migration and which approach is most suited to your organisation will vary depending upon the current architecture of your applications and the goals of your organisation both today and tomorrow.

This article looks at three popular approaches to cloud migration. Each approach is accompanied by a relevant case study to show how organisations have benefitted from this migration process.

Types of cloud migration strategies

Cloud migration approach 1: Rehost

Also known as ‘lift and shift’, this approach involves transferring data and applications from an on-premises data centre to a cloud server without requiring code recompilation or configuration. By deploying applications into cloud environments, organisations can reduce costs and scale their operations.

This approach enables organisations to transfer their operating systems and applications to their cloud provider by using virtual machines. Once this infrastructure has been migrated to the cloud, an organisation will retain control over these virtual machines, just as it did when they were on-premises.

Here are some benefits of rehosting:

  • Quick wins: Organisations can quickly tap into the benefits of the cloud environment without the need for extensive code recompilation or configuration changes.
  • Cost reduction and scalability: Compared to hosting data on on-premises data centres, the cloud provides a more cost-effective solution as organisations do not need to maintain and upgrade physical infrastructure. Scalability is also easier when operating within the cloud, where organisations can easily adjust resources based on demand.
  • Access to advanced cloud services: Rehosting applications in the cloud opens opportunities to leverage advanced cloud services and technologies. Organisations can take advantage of features like auto-scaling, serverless computing and real-time monitoring and data analytics to enhance their applications' capabilities and deliver more innovative solutions.
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity: Cloud providers offer robust data backup, redundancy and failover mechanisms. These features ensure that applications and data are protected against unforeseen events. These recovery plans can be easily implemented and tested, to reduce downtime and minimise the impact on operations.

This approach is particularly recommended for organisations with limited cloud computing experience, as the cloud migration process here is straightforward compared to other approaches. Organisations can easily access valuable cloud resources without significant process changes or extensive product upgrades, in turn, ensuring a successful cloud migration while maximising efficiency and cost savings.

However, there are certain factors that organisations should take into consideration when adopting this approach. For instance, it is important to assess the level of maintenance required for your software and determine if it is capable enough to manage the migration.

In some cases, organisations may need to invest in refactoring or engineering their applications to ensure successful transition to the cloud.

Case study: a financial services specialist

This organisation regularly manages clients’ financial information. Previously this information had been stored on a local internet service provider’s bare-metal server. This method of cloud storage came with significant expenses for the company, as they were responsible for the server upkeep.

Working with their cloud migration partner, this organisation opted for a rehosting strategy. This process involved transferring data from on-premises servers to virtual machines in the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

This solution provided a more secure alternative to the existing architecture. Furthermore, the organisation saw a decrease in employee maintenance requirements. Using a managed service enabled this organisation to assign server maintenance to the cloud, an action that led to notable cost reductions.

Cloud migration approach 2: Replatform

When considering a cloud migration plan, the replatforming approach offers organisations the opportunity to modernise their existing systems and infrastructure, while maintaining compatibility with the cloud environment and taking advantage of its benefits. Here the applications will maintain much of their current architecture, but some adjustments will be made to ensure a successful migration to the cloud. These modifications ensure business continuity and enable organisations to leverage familiar resources.

Here are the benefits of replatforming:

  • Flexibility: Replatforming provides organisations with the flexibility to choose the timing and approach of migrating their applications to the cloud. It allows them to prioritise critical systems or focus on specific business requirements before moving other applications.
  • Utilisation of familiar resources: Developers can leverage familiar resources, such as existing frameworks and programming languages. This familiarity simplifies the migration process as developers can build upon their existing knowledge and expertise. It also enables organisations to retain their investment in legacy applications by modernising them in the cloud environment.
  • Improved efficiency and productivity: By leveraging existing resources and infrastructure, organisations can reduce the time and effort required for migration. Developers can focus on optimising application performance, enhancing user experience, and delivering new features, rather than starting from scratch.
  • Future-proofing applications: Replatforming helps future-proof applications by modernising their underlying architecture and making them more compatible with emerging technologies and industry standards. These applications can then be easily integrated with other cloud services to leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Organisations should take into consideration the additional complexities associated with replatforming applications for the cloud. For example, you will need to allocate time and resources for modifying and thoroughly evaluating application code to ensure that functionality is not compromised during the migration process. Although these processes add more time to your cloud migration journey, the long-term cost savings and performance benefits of applications still make it a feasible option for organisations looking to transition to the cloud.

Case study: a global leader in computer hardware manufacturing

This organisation had a variety of products with different naming conventions, which presented a significant challenge in creating an efficient database search. Their existing application did not sufficiently support these business processes due to server performance issues. Whenever a job ran, the website would experience slowdowns, which posed a risk of lost sales. Fast search capability would enhance their operations and address these challenges.

The decision to replatform was advantageous as it provided enhanced performance for the company's application while also reducing the expenses associated with a complete reconstruction of their architecture. The solution implemented was a secure product management platform that effectively manages more than 200,000 product types. This platform is hosted on Microsoft Azure and seamlessly integrated with core systems, offering real-time visibility of stock and sales.

The new platform includes an intelligent search mechanism in a database application that enhances core business functions and maintains application performance. Azure tools like Auto scale means that the platform has been able to facilitate a yearly 50% increase in product quantity.

The migration successfully achieved its main objectives. The system has maintained 100% uptime for the past 12 months, ensuring efficient business operations consistently. Before a release to live, fixes can be deployed using automated release pipelines through internal testing environments. This process ensures agility for the company at each step of their cloud migration.

Cloud migration approach 3: Rearchitecture

The cloud migration process of rearchitecting involves redesigning the application's architecture to effectively leverage cloud computing. The application code needs to be restructured or optimised for a smooth transition to the cloud.

This method may require a significant amount of time to finish and is typically motivated by a business requirement that cannot be fulfilled by the current architecture.

  • Performance optimisation: A rearchitecture approach allows organisations to optimise the code of their existing applications, resulting in improved performance. Organisations can identify and address bottlenecks and outdated components in the application code by analysing and redesigning the architecture. This optimisation ensures that the application performs optimally in the cloud environment.
  • Scalability and flexibility: By redesigning the architecture with cloud-native principles, such as microservices and containers, applications can scale seamlessly to manage varying workloads. This scalability allows organisations to accommodate increased user demand and traffic without compromising performance or incurring additional infrastructure costs.
  • Agility and innovation: A cloud-native architecture enables the adoption of DevOps practices, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and automated deployment processes. This streamlines the application development and deployment lifecycle by allowing organisations to iterate and release new features and updates more rapidly.
  • Future-proofing: Cloud-native applications are better positioned to adapt to evolving business needs and technological advancements. They can easily integrate with other cloud services, leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and seamlessly accommodate future requirements such as multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environments.

Organisations that have adopted this approach and transitioned from on-premises infrastructure are now utilising cloud-native applications designed to leverage public cloud platforms. These systems provide advanced deployment tools that can enhance the agility of enterprise architecture. Cloud-native environments streamline the design and administration of traditionally complex infrastructures.

This approach will have a significant impact on long-term projects. Organisations can scale up or down easily as required, and the added functionality of a cloud-native architecture ensures optimal performance in key business areas.

Case study: one of the world's largest agricultural organisations

This organisation is expanding into new global markets and needs infrastructure that can support core business functions and ensure application uptime across different time zones and countries.

During the execution of critical business processes, this organisation encountered various challenges stemming from issues with their existing platform. These challenges forced employees to implement workarounds to proceed with their tasks effectively.

The proposed solution is to rebuild services in a cloud-native architecture. This approach will enhance the reliability of scheduled tasks, resulting in time and resource savings.

By implementing this new architecture, application downtime will also be significantly decreased. Previously, increased activity in the company's internal application caused downtime for the external facing application. With the use of Azure ‘Front Door,’ this company will benefit from fast and secure access to their application's web content.

The project aims to decrease the downtime of external facing applications, thereby supporting the organisation’s existing business strategy.

Finding the right cloud migration approach

Audacia is a leading software development company based in the UK, who specialises in partnering with organisations to adopt cloud technologies using a range of different approaches. From assessment and planning, to development, migration, support, and maintenance, we deliver comprehensive cloud migration services solutions for full cloud adoption.

We can provide a range of tools designed to facilitate your cloud migration journey. Whether it is optimising your infrastructure or simplifying complexities, we can support your organisation in adopting and migrating to the cloud.

Interested in finding out more about cloud migration? Contact Audacia today on 0113 543 1300, or email

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Richard Brown is the Technical Director at Audacia, where he is responsible for steering the technical direction of the company and maintaining standards across development and testing.