An Introduction to Cloud Migration

Learn what Cloud Migration is, why it is crucial for your organization, and how to build a solid Cloud Migration strategy

Written by Jim Down
Updated over a week ago

What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud Migration is the process of moving a company’s applications, digital assets, services, databases, and other IT resources either partially, or wholly, into the cloud. Such a migration affects all areas of an organization including its people, processes, and technology.

A hybrid cloud solution combines public and private cloud services, the latter being a cloud solution owned by the organization. Cloud migration can also entail moving a company’s digital assets from one cloud provider to another.

Cloud Migration, along with Application Rationalization and Application Modernization is part of an overall IT Optimization process.

Why is Cloud Migration Important for Businesses?

There are many reasons why an organization should consider Cloud Migration including:

1. Financial

  • IT becomes consumption-based, and users only pay for what they use

  • Expenditure moves from a CAPEX to an OPEX model. This moves IT systems from being an asset on a company's balance sheet to be an expense on the company's income sheet

2. Service

  • Cloud scalability and improved performance mean meeting changing customer expectations in real-time

  • Offers faster innovation with increased agility and flexibility

  • Leverages new cloud-based technologies to improve business and customer services

  • Improves Business Continuity Processes and Disaster Recovery capabilities, reducing downtime, with failover from on-premise to cloud infrastructure

3. Business Value

  • A much-simplified IT landscape

  • Improved compliance controls and measures using cloud-native applications

  • Consolidation of IT support personnel

  • Lowers the burden of IT staff to support performance and availability issues related to in-house platforms

  • Improves recruitment and retention of new employees focused on value creation

What are the Strategies for Cloud Migration?

Several different strategies can be adopted for Cloud migration.

Gartner refers to these strategies as the "5 Rs of migration strategy.” Recently Amazon added a sixth, resulting in the "6 Rs of migration strategy", which are:

1) Rehosting: a lift and shift of an existing IT infrastructure onto a similar cloud-based infrastructure

2) Replatforming: minimal changes are made to the cloud infrastructure during migration, for example, to improve scalability

3) Repurchasing: shifting an existing capability to a new cloud-based capability

4) Refactoring: building new infrastructure from the bottom up in the cloud

5) Retiring: removing or retiring obsolete or unused infrastructure during a migration

6) Retaining: certain applications or systems may need to be retained on-premise rather than migrated

Some or all of these strategies can fundamentally change a company's alignment and usage of IT systems, applications, and people.

Ardoq is used to collect, assess, recommend, and validate the different cloud migration strategies. Our Application Rationalization Use Case allows EAs to identify applications that can be retired. Refactoring is aligned with Application Modernization and is typically completed post-cloud migration.

How to Build a Cloud Migration Strategy

Before deciding whether to migrate any one software application, organizations should lay a proper foundation for success.

A Cloud Migration strategy provides a high-level overview of what applications are suitable candidates for the cloud, how much effort and resources would be required to migrate, and what people or business capabilities would be impacted.

This information lets IT departments plan resources and investments, and agree on priorities with key stakeholders. It also helps to set expectations about what outcomes can be achieved and where there are limitations or risks.

Step 1: Inventory Applications

The first step is to map out what applications are currently running and how they are connected to the business. This includes inventorying applications and making a list of where they are hosted, who owns them, and what stage they are at in their lifecycle.

The next is detailing how applications realize business capabilities, operational costs, and the organization units that utilize them, as well as understanding the teams that maintain and support them.

Step 2: Cloud Readiness Assessment

Once the application portfolio has been collected and documented, the Enterprise Architect must assess opportunities. This is based on a careful and often complex assessment of factors such as technical fit, business value, costs, and resources.

These opportunities are then categorized according to the 6 Rs and shared with key stakeholders in the decision-making process.

Step 3: Develop Roadmap and Execution Plan

Having developed the business case and received relevant feedback, build out a roadmap for execution.

Step 4: Initiate Cloud Migration and Continuously Improve

Once the roadmap is defined and agreed upon, it is time to execute.

Each migration initiative should be thoroughly measured and evaluated against expected improvements in service and other identified operational efficiencies. These should be tracked pre and post-migration to evaluate what went well, what outcomes have been achieved, and where there is room for improvement.

What Are Common Cloud Migration Challenges

A number of challenges restrict the effectiveness of a Cloud Migration. These include:

  1. Lack of strategy, including unclear objectives and goals

  2. Missing executive sponsorship

  3. Lack of insight into IT environment and dependencies

  4. Uncertainty of potential organizational impact

  5. Difficulty estimating costs

  6. Limited resources and skills

  7. Security risks

The surest way to avoid extra costs, complexity, and ultimately migration failure is to ensure proper planning.

Ardoq's Role in Cloud Migration

Ardoq makes it easy for Enterprise Architects to identify cloud migration opportunities and evaluate alternative strategies from different angles.

This includes:

  • Inventorizing applications and gathering data

  • Assessing the current state of systems

  • Understanding requirements and dependencies

  • Evaluating multiple factors and ranking opportunities

  • Recommending best-fit migrations strategy

  • Visualizing current and future state scenarios

  • Reports and presentations for sharing the migration roadmap with key stakeholders

Ardoq streamlines data collection by offering pre-defined surveys, Excel import, integration, and direct data input. As data is gathered, Ardoq generates a list of possible cloud migration candidates based on Gartner’s TIME model.

Then each candidate is further evaluated for SaaS alternatives before Ardoq recommends a cloud migration strategy.

The recommended strategy and other important considerations, such as the estimated effort of migration, are presented in clear and concise reports. An Enterprise Architect can then validate the migration strategy.

Ardoq offers a range of data visualizations and dashboards to minimize workloads and make it easy to share insights with decision-makers.

After gaining appropriate approval from the organization, the Enterprise Architect then works with application owners to develop an adoption roadmap, execution plan, and implementation methodology.

The key questions you will be able to answer with Ardoq’s approach include:

  • Which applications in my organization are viable candidates for the cloud vs a SaaS alternative?

  • Have we minimized risk by identifying all the interconnected infrastructure, integrations, and capabilities for each of my applications targeted for cloud migration?

  • Can we reduce the amount of Capex in our application portfolio while maintaining or improving the same level of service?

  • How do I manage the impact, security, and stakeholders of a Cloud Migration?


Any migration, on any scale, requires a complete understanding of the existing application portfolio and business capabilities it supports, before initiating a migration project. This understanding includes knowing the applications, IT infrastructure, resources, and processes.

With this information in hand, a full assessment can be made by the Enterprise Architect, to decide which applications can be migrated, how they can be migrated, or if they would be better suited to remain in-house. The EA can then build the business case for each migration opportunity. Having identified cloud migration opportunities, a roadmap and execution plan must be developed for each to gain stakeholder buy-in.

Upon implementation, each cloud migration must be thoroughly evaluated to ensure that expected service improvements are realized.

Successful cloud migration will be CAPEX and consumption-based. The solution will be flexible and responsive to change and will offer an organization the ability to meet customers’ requirements while providing a robust and secure infrastructure.

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