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Cloud Migration Strategies

See how Pilotcore analyzes your workloads to determine the best approach to your cloud migration.

8 min read
Cloud Migration Strategies

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More and more businesses are moving their applications and data to the cloud to take advantage of its many benefits.

There is no one-size-fits-all cloud migration strategy. There are many cloud migration strategies when moving applications to the cloud. The cloud offers opportunities for organizations to improve efficiency and agility but also poses new challenges in data security and governance.

The right cloud migration strategy for your organization will depend on several factors. This article will outline some of the most popular cloud migration strategies and discuss the pros and cons, challenges, and steps involved in each.

Migrating to the cloud

It is estimated that since 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads are in the cloud. Although the cloud offers many benefits for organizations, migrating to the cloud can also be challenging.

It is important to remember that migrating to the cloud doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can move your applications incrementally, starting with low-risk workloads and moving on to more complex ones as you gain experience with cloud migration.

The cloud offers many benefits that can be appealing to organizations, including:

  • Reduced infrastructure costs: You only pay for the cloud resources you use, which can save money on hardware and maintenance costs. It can also help you avoid the need to make significant up-front investments in infrastructure. In the cloud, you pay-as-you-go, so IT costs become a variable monthly expense rather than a massive up-front fixed expense. Your organization can instead reinvest those savings into other areas.
  • Improved performance: The cloud can improve your applications' performance due to the powerful resources available to you. In addition, cloud providers often have multiple data centers worldwide, which can help reduce latency by moving your data and applications closer to end users.
  • Increased security: The cloud can offer increased security for your data due to the robust security measures by cloud providers. These measures may include data encryption, two-factor authentication, and physical security.
  • Increased scalability: Cloud resources can be quickly provisioned and scaled up or down as needed, so you can easily accommodate changing workloads in terms of demand. Cloud resources are also easily accessible with an internet connection, enabling work from anywhere.
  • Improved disaster recovery: Cloud providers offer services that can help you recover from disasters more quickly and with less data loss. The cloud can provide built-in disaster recovery capabilities, which can help you protect your data during a power outage, natural disaster, or other interruption.
  • Increased flexibility: The cloud allows you to deploy new applications and services quickly and makes it easy to experiment with new technologies. You can also work with different cloud providers in multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud architectures.

There are also some challenges to consider when migrating to the cloud, including:

  • Security: The cloud can pose new security challenges, such as the potential for data breaches. This, however, can be addressed with the right cloud security strategy, such as encrypting data at rest and in transit, using suitable firewalls and identity and access management, and never leaving security as an afterthought. Hire an experienced cloud consultant like Pilotcore to help you navigate this.
  • Compliance: If applicable, you must ensure that your data's infrastructure complies with regulatory obligations such as HIPAA and GDPR.
  • Cost: Although the cloud can save you money on hardware and maintenance costs, it's essential to consider the total cost of ownership when migrating to the cloud. If not architected and cost-optimized correctly, your new cloud deployments can be more expensive than traditional on-premises infrastructure, so you must work with a certified cloud consultant to ensure you're getting maximum value per dollar.

The 5 Phases of Cloud Adoption

Cloud adoption is the process of moving from traditional on-premises infrastructure to a cloud computing environment. It is essential to have a cloud adoption strategy that considers your organization's unique needs. It helps you determine which cloud model suits you and guides you through migrating your applications and data to the cloud.

The cloud offers several benefits, so it is essential to carefully consider and follow the process of cloud adoption to ensure a successful transition.

The cloud adoption process typically consists of five phases:


The first phase of cloud adoption is planning. In this phase, you'll need to assess your current infrastructure and applications and identify which ones are a good fit for the cloud. You'll also need to decide which cloud provider or providers you want to use. And you'll need to develop a cloud migration plan that outlines the steps you'll need to take to migrate your applications and data to the cloud.

The goal of the planning phase is to develop a clear understanding of your cloud adoption goals and objectives and create a plan to help you achieve them. Here, we'll focus on the cloud migration planning process.


In the second phase, you'll need to assess your cloud readiness and identify gaps. You'll also need to review your cloud migration plan to ensure it is realistic and achievable. The goal is to ensure that you are prepared and that your cloud migration plan is feasible.


The third phase is optimization. You'll need to optimize your applications and data for the cloud. You'll also need to fine-tune your cloud migration plan to ensure a smooth transition. This phase ensures that your applications and data are ready for the cloud and that your cloud migration plan is achievable.


In the fourth phase, you'll need to modernize your applications and data for the cloud. You'll also need to update your cloud migration plan to reflect the changes. It ensures whether your cloud migration plan is up-to-date.


The fifth and final phase of cloud adoption is measurement. In this phase, you'll need to track your progress and measure the success of your cloud migration. You'll also need to review your cloud adoption strategy and make necessary changes.

A cloud migration strategy for every workload

The cloud is a versatile, ever-changing environment. Workloads within a single cloud adoption might require different strategies. You must analyze them to understand what cloud computing best suits them, and a cloud strategy should consider that.

Different workloads are better suited to some cloud adoption strategies than others. For example, rehosting (lift and shift) is a good strategy for workloads that are not cloud-native and have low dependencies. On the other hand, re-platforming is well suited for cloud-native workloads with high dependencies.

It's essential to use the right strategy for the right workload. Migrating a workload without considering its specific needs can lead to cloud adoption failures. The goal is to have a cloud strategy that works for all your workloads.

To ensure a successful cloud migration, you must have a cloud migration strategy for each workload. Here are different cloud strategies and when to use them:


Rehosting is moving an application or workload from one environment to another with minimal changes. It is also known as lift-and-shift. Rehosting is often used when migrating workloads to the cloud. The goal is to minimize the work required to migrate the workload to the cloud.

Rehosting is a good option for workloads that are not cloud-native and have a low reliance on other systems. For example, an on-premises database can be migrated to the cloud with minimal changes. It assures a cloud-ready future for the workload.


Re-platforming is migrating an application or workload to a new platform. For example, from a self-hosted database server to a cloud-managed database service like Amazon RDS. Replatforming is often used to improve an application's performance, efficiency, or scale.

Replatforming is an excellent choice in the case of cloud-native workloads that are highly dependent on the cloud, such as web applications or e-commerce sites. One may use it to enhance the performance of an application by leveraging the cloud's capabilities.


Repurchasing is buying a cloud-based equivalent of an on-premises application or workload. Repurchasing is a good choice if you're running a costly application like an email server when you can pay for a hosted SaaS email system instead.

Repurchasing is often used when an application or workload is not cloud-friendly or when the time has come to take advantage of third-party off-the-shelf services.

This is a cloud migration strategy because some workloads don't make sense to move to the cloud or continue running at all. You still require the functionality but let go of the actual workload.

Refactor or Rearchitect

Refactoring is making changes to an application or workload to make it cloud-friendly. It redesigns an application or workload to take advantage of the cloud. It is often used when migrating cloud-native workloads. Refactoring or re-architecting is used to improve the cloud friendliness of an application.

For example, a monolithic application with many tightly coupled dependencies could be refactored as a cloud-native application based on microservices. This application modernization would result in a more robust, reliable, and cheaper to operate. Refactoring can also be used to improve the security of an application.


Retiring is the process of discontinuing an on-premises application or workload. It is often used when an application or workload is no longer needed. Often, over a period of years, as employees come and go, companies discover during a cloud migration that they are running obsolete applications that nobody uses and serve no apparent function.

Such applications may be retired, freeing resources that can be used for other applications or workloads. Retiring also helps to declutter an on-premises environment and can help to reduce costs.


Retaining is the process of keeping an on-premises application or workload. This strategy is often used when an application or workload cannot be migrated to the cloud or when it is not cloud-friendly. For example, an on-premises database running an antiquated platform that can't be easily replicated in the cloud can be retained.

This strategy might also make sense in the case of a complex workload already near the end of life, where the effort to migrate would not offer a good ROI.

The retain strategy helps organizations keep their data on-premises and avoid the cloud. Retaining a workload on-premises can also be used when an organization wants to keep an application or workload for compliance reasons.

How to decide which one is right?

The right cloud strategy for you depends on your cloud adoption goals. You need to consider the type of workload, the level of dependence on the cloud, the cloud friendliness of the workload, the performance requirements, and the cost.

It also helps to consider the risks and benefits of each cloud strategy. For example, rehosting has a lower risk than re-platforming, but it may not be the best choice for cloud-native workloads.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Application or workload type: It is essential to understand the kind of workload that you are migrating. Cloud-native workloads will require a different cloud strategy than on-premises workloads, such as databases.
  • Cloud friendliness: Cloud-friendly workloads are a good fit for re-platforming or refactoring. While more complex workloads where the ROI of anything other than the quickest migration isn't as clear are better suited for rehosting or retention.
  • Level of cloud readiness: Cloud readiness is the level to which an application or workload can be migrated to the cloud. Cloud-ready workloads can be migrated with little or no impact on your company's operations.
  • Dependencies: An application's dependencies or workload should be considered when choosing a cloud strategy. Rehosting may better suit workloads with many dependencies for rehosting. Workloads with few dependencies may be a good fit for re-platforming or refactoring.
  • Security: It is essential to consider the security of an application or workload when choosing a cloud strategy. The cloud can offer much better protection than your on-premises data centre due to the critical role the cloud provider plays in securing the data center and hardware, but as the customer, you are responsible for ensuring the workloads your run on that hardware are secure from an encryption and intrusion standpoint. Never leave security to the last minute.
  • Cost: Rehosting is frequently the most inexpensive choice, while re-platforming and refactoring are more complicated. Retiring obsolete workloads where appropriate may also assist in lowering costs.
  • Business goals: The cloud strategy should align with the organization's business goals. For example, an organization that wants to move to the cloud quickly may be better suited for rehosting. An organization that wants to improve performance may be a good fit for re-platforming or refactoring.

With cloud strategies, you can move your application or workloads to the cloud with minimal changes. You can also refactor or re-architect your application or workloads to utilize the cloud.

Your Pilot in the Cloud

It can be a daunting task to select the right cloud strategy. But with the help of a cloud expert, you can be confident that you are making the best decision for your business. They'll assist you in evaluating the criteria listed above and selecting the cloud solution that best meets your requirements.

Pilotcore is a cloud consultancy that can help you with cloud migrations. We have a team of cloud experts that can help you plan, execute, and optimize your cloud strategy. We have helped companies of all sizes migrate to the cloud and realize the benefits of cloud computing. We offer a free consultation to help you decide which cloud strategy is right for you. Contact us today to get started.

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