7 Strategies for Migrating Applications to the Cloud

By Quinn Cosgrove

Feb 7, 2023 11:30:00 AM

About 4 minutes

Migrating applications can be one of the most challenging aspects of moving to the cloud. Sometimes, applications aren’t compatible with the cloud, especially if they are legacy applications. 

Choosing the right strategy for migrating workload and applications is crucial. Using the wrong application migration strategy can interrupt availability, degrade user experience, result in high cost implications, and even decrease performance, among other things. No company wants to go through a large and complex cloud migration only to have it fail, wasting time and resources to try again.

To ensure success, a cloud migration strategy should fit the requirements of the applications your company needs to move.

Here’s an overview of 7 options for moving applications to the cloud.

1) Retire

The retire migration strategy should be used for applications that no longer have business value. These applications include zombie or idle applications that haven’t been used in a long time or aren’t being used at anywhere near their capacity.

These applications can be retired by shutting down the servers in the application stack, saving the cost of maintaining the application and eliminating the risk of using software that relies on an unsupported operating system (OS) or components.

2) Retain

Not every application needs to be moved to the cloud. The retain strategy is used for applications that need to be kept on-premises or might be migrated to the cloud in the future when conditions change, such as the availability of a software as a service (SaaS) version.

Some applications can’t be migrated because of compliance requirements. Others have interdependencies that require that they wait to be migrated until other resources have been moved to the cloud. Applications with hardware dependencies may need to remain on-premises if the cloud has no equivalent.

3) Rehost

The rehost strategy is also referred to as “lift and shift.” In this strategy, no changes are made to the application before it is migrated to the cloud. Many applications can be moved without worrying about compatibility issues or interruptions to production; however, you should always aim to right-size your application infrastructure when taking this approach. Rehosting is typically fairly seamless, with fewer implications to cause downtime.

4) Relocate

The relocate strategy takes rehosting a step further and broadens the scope, allowing companies to move large numbers of servers that run multiple applications from an on-premises platform to a cloud platform. Relocate is a quick way to migrate applications because it doesn’t require that they be recoded, and you don’t need to purchase new hardware. As with rehost, relocate can be accomplished with minimal downtime for users.

5) Repurchase

The repurchase application migration strategy is also called “drop and shop.” In this strategy, the company purchases a new, cloud-based application to replace the on-premises version. To justify the purchase, the natively cloud built or SaaS version should provide more value than the on-premises application. In some cases, the cloud version may be an upgrade with more features than the original version.

6) Replatform

Replatform is sometimes referred to as “lift, tinker, and shift” because the application undergoes optimization when it is moved to the cloud. The extent of the changes depends on a company’s business goals. Changes may also be made to benefit from cloud capabilities or to increase security and performance.

7) Refactor and Rearchitect

Refactor and rearchitect is the most complex of the application migration strategies because it involves making changes to the application’s architecture during the migration process to modernize it. Legacy applications often require a refactor migration strategy. Because of its complexity, this strategy is not recommended when conducting large-scale migrations.

Choosing the Right Application Migration Strategy

With all these use case-specific application migration strategies, your company may need guidance to make the right choice. Working with an experienced technology provider that is an expert in the cloud will give you confidence when evaluating and selecting options.

ProActive Solutions takes a consultative approach to cloud migration through our Cloud Services. We help companies carry out seamless cloud migrations. Not only do we understand the challenges companies face when moving workloads to the cloud, but we have a strategic partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that guarantees cloud migration excellence for our customers.

Work with experts to develop a cloud migration roadmap. Request a cloud consultation with ProActive.

Tags: Data Center, Application Migration, Cloud Migration, Cloud, AWS, cloud migration partner, Amazon Web Services, cloud migration strategy