How to Create a Successful Cloud Migration Strategy

OpsWorks Co.
8 min readSep 28, 2020

More and more companies are using cloud services every year. The reasons are obvious: cloud services allow you to store and process large amounts of data without large investments in infrastructure, access them anywhere in the world, and not worry about their safety. In this article, we’ll cover different cloud migration strategies and the importance of having a migration plan for your company.

Why do Businesses Move to the Cloud?

Research by Gartner suggests that cloud computing is already ubiquitous around the world. According to the agency, public cloud infrastructure is leading in terms of adoption rates, with 76% of companies opting for a multi-cloud strategy with up to five clouds on average. A hybrid strategy — a mix of public and private cloud infrastructures — has been adopted by 51% of respondents, and 75% of organizations use private clouds.

Here are three simple reasons why businesses are starting to migrate to the cloud:

Reason 1: Speed ​​and Cost-effectiveness. With cloud computing, you can scale your business to fit your needs, and with the right management, you can handle any spike in load and save money while keeping your consumption down.

Reason 2: New Features Such as Disaster Recovery. If your enterprise’s business is global, the cost and complexity of managing end-to-end disaster recovery for on-premises data centers will skyrocket. It is possible to reduce costs by using high-quality cloud infrastructures in a centralized manner.

Reason 3: Continuously Updated New Technologies and Services. Just look at any of the major cloud providers and you will see that they are constantly developing new technologies and solutions to help customers deliver services. Offerings include some of the most popular solutions, from faster servers to machine learning systems in the cloud.

Since many companies today prefer the cloud in the IaaS form, the issue of migration to the cloud is becoming more and more urgent. Carefully chosen tactics, a predetermined strategy, and adherence to generally accepted recommendations will help speed up this process and reduce the potential for mistakes.

Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy: Key Milestones

For a successful migration, you need to follow a common pattern which includes developing a cloud migration strategy, building infrastructure in the cloud, migrating data, testing infrastructure, and running services in the cloud. Remember that moving to the cloud is an individual process for each company and requires special attention. Each stage involves solving both technical and organizational issues.

Typically, the most common mistakes in the process arise from the lack of an application migration plan template, as well as an underestimation of the time and cost of migration. Also, difficulties arise due to the human factor and a lack of skills required to operate the new infrastructure.

There are six general migration strategies that are often applied in the business world.


Also known as a lift and shift method, this approach involves redeploying apps to the cloud ecosystem where the application’s host configuration is modified. This kind of migration is a simple, fast, and smooth shifting method.

It is especially convenient that this method allows the user to apply re-hosting abilities with the likes of AWS VM Import/Export. In short, as soon as you migrate your apps to the cloud, reworking them to satisfy your existing requirements becomes easier. In general, the re-hosting method is the best fit for a huge enterprise shift. In the case of massive migration, companies can save up to 30% without resorting to any cloud optimization.


This is the transfer of apps and their elements to a cloud-driven platform without modifying the underlying construction of the app. The basic concept behind this approach is maintaining apps on the cloud service platform, which requires modifying the app’s design configuration without worrying about implementing development cycles.

Backward compatibility is an additional benefit of this option since it allows developers to reutilize well-known resources without getting into the subtleties of developing new applications. Still, re-platforming is a rather novel idea that has not yet received proper distribution in the PaaS market.


Also known as a drop end shop that suggests a company’s arrangement to migrate to a different product, which sometimes suggests terminating existing licensing and repurposing services. For instance, this can be a CRM system or an industry-specific app that is not created to operate on a cloud infrastructure. This is often not necessary for apps written using advanced code, as the code can be ported from one vendor to another. It is worth mentioning, that this migration method is frequently used in proprietary data-driven platforms.


This whole approach is about reconstructing native apps to operate easily on cloud platforms. This method is commonly used when a company needs to customize and develop software in the cloud to satisfy the needs of new businesses or software. There are many disadvantages to this approach, which may result in the loss of legacy codes and well-known programming frameworks.

Still, it’s impossible not to mention the benefits that it brings. When you consider redesign as a migration method, it gives the company access to a range of top-notch development tools. These benefits also include ready, customizable templates as well as a set of data standards that can significantly improve performance.


Throughout the migration process, the company must dive deeply into the list of applications it owns. This will mean looking at each application that will migrate to further understand its use and cost to the company. Some experts say that 10%-20% of the corporate IT collection is out of date and absolutely useless. Cutting out those services would mean that a company could save money and redirect those savings to more efficient use.


In this process, applications which would require a significant amount of re-architecturing to operate in the cloud, or those which are not ready to migrate due to recent updates or migration costs, are not migrated. This can also be selected in cases when the cloud doesn’t maintain the app or if it has diminished costs.

It is very important that a company takes into account all features and details of the chosen migration method and acts in accordance with it. Thus, a lot of effort can be saved when running old applications in a traditional and non-traditional way.

Migration Mistakes and Pitfalls

It is common for companies to make mistakes when migrating to the cloud, and this is usually because they do not pay enough attention to some important details and don’t develop a migration project plan template for their team. The most common reasons why companies have trouble with migration are:

Lack of Application Dependency Diagram

When migrating to the cloud, you should pay attention to the pattern of dependencies between applications and the infrastructure as a whole. Results are best reflected visually as a dependency map. Let’s say applications A, B, and C are using the same database. Therefore, it is necessary to take this into account and work out a mechanism for combined movement into the cloud. If this is not done, there is a high probability that the application will not work correctly.

Missing Migration Strategy

What will you transfer to the cloud, in what sequence, at what point, and in what time frame? Prepare answers to these and other questions before starting the migration by including the main steps in the migration plan. A carefully developed cloud migration project plan will allow you to guide each stage of the move, eliminating chaotic actions and rash steps. If your company infrastructure has applications that cannot be migrated in pieces, you should stick with the option of a one-time, indivisible migration and maintain maximum control over each step performed. Analyzing the situation and detecting mistakes at the early stages of migration will help to save time and achieve the desired results.

Running Migration Without Preliminary Tests

Before migrating to the cloud, choose a reliable and trusted hosting provider. After choosing a provider, request test access to the cloud platform and work through the migration processes. First, move the “light” service to the cloud, estimate the time spent, check how everything works, analyze if there are any errors, and move on to the next service. The consistently implemented measures for the transfer of infrastructure will give good results in the future.

If you follow the established cloud migration strategies and act according to the plan, the end result will be worth the time spent.

Costs and Security Issues in the Cloud

Calculating TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is a critical step when using cloud technologies as it will help you understand the economic benefits of the cloud. We strongly recommend conducting it with field specialists, as there is a set of parameters that companies often forget to take into account.

If your specialists are still not sure of the technical applicability of the cloud, we suggest building a PoC (Proof of Concept). As part of this model, the deployment of the service, its optimization for the required resources, as well as its comprehensive validation, is calculated.

Piling up cloud instances is often associated with exceeding your original budget. Migration projects cannot be completed overnight, so you need to make sure your migration plan has realistic time and cost estimates. Consider these costs from day one and assign a responsible unit within your organization to control costs. Keeping track of them and measuring performance is essential to assess the ROI of cloud migration to determine if the migration project was financially successful or not.

To avoid security vulnerabilities during your migration, make sure you have a DevOps engineer with cloud security expertise on your team, or consult with your cloud provider. Security measures should be naturally integrated into the DevOps Engineer’s work and include the following:

  • configuration of security settings for cloud instances;
  • automation of security processes;
  • construction of continuous monitoring systems.

Final Word

Many companies are beginning to think about how to transfer their data to a cloud operator’s site at the lowest cost and risk. Well-known IT giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google were the first to present cloud services to businesses, providing them with reliable storage of critical services in unlimited volumes and with scalability.

Cloud technologies are one of the most popular and dynamic technologies today. They have changed traditional business models and, for most companies, making the decision to migrate to the cloud was only a matter of time. Moving to the cloud is not only a challenge but also an opportunity to make existing business processes more flexible and innovative. With the help of the cloud migration checklist, you can easily shift your business to the cloud and successfully upgrade and operate within a new ecosystem.

If you’re looking for a reliable team to help you migrate to the cloud, we are at your service! OpsWorks Co. creates and deploys cloud migration strategies quickly and seamlessly. With our help, you can be confident that everything will be handled at the highest level of quality!