Caltech Bootcamp / Blog / /

What is Cloud Migration? Definition, Types, Process, and More

what is cloud migration

Everyone’s talking about the cloud and how many organizations migrate to it. That’s hardly surprising since cloud technology is everywhere, in every aspect of our lives. But how much do you really know about migrating to the cloud? What is cloud migration, exactly?

This article covers the basics of cloud migration. In addition to defining the term, we also discuss the different types, how they work, the various strategies, and the advantages and disadvantages of it. It also shares a way for aspiring professionals to upskill through a comprehensive online cloud computing program.

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration moves an organization’s digital assets, databases, services, IT resources, and applications partially or entirely onto the cloud. It refers to moving these assets from one cloud to another, called cloud-to-cloud migration.

It is analogous to a physical move, except it involves shifting applications, data, and IT processes from one data center (typically a physical, tangible one) to another (a virtual one) instead of packing and moving physical assets. However, like moving from a small office to a larger one it demands plenty of preparation and advance work. Fortunately, all that effort pays off in the long run by reducing costs and increasing flexibility.

Also Read: Industry Perspective: Cloud Computing in Healthcare

The Types of Cloud Migration

It comes in several forms, depending on what’s moving and its destination.

  • Complete data center migration. This process moves all data, applications, and services from an on-premises data center to the cloud provider’s servers. It is generally comprehensive and requires detailed planning and testing to guarantee efficient, successful execution.
  • Hybrid cloud migration. Hybrid migration moves only a portion of the company’s resources to the public cloud while keeping other assets in on-premises (or legacy) data centers. This lets organizations utilize state-of-the-art investments in on-premises infrastructure while benefiting from the public cloud’s flexibility, efficiency, strategic value, and other advantages. Organizations also choose hybrid clouds to back up their valuable data. In this instance, the company backs up its private cloud resources on the public cloud as a contingency in case an attack or disaster renders its on-premises data center inoperable.
  • Cloud-to-cloud migration. There are many reasons why an organization might move its resources from one public cloud provider to another. These reasons include finding a more advantageous pricing plan, better security features or products, changes to the company structure, or adjusted service level agreements. Some organizations migrate to the cloud and, after they become savvier regarding cloud computing and what’s out there, decide to move to a more favorable platform.
  • Workload-specific migration. The final option is migrating specific workloads to the cloud. An organization may migrate only some of its databases or mainframes to the cloud to take advantage of lower costs or for more reliable performance, better security, or other benefits. For instance, a company could decide to have all their HR-related activities (including benefits, payroll, vacation/sick days) moved to the cloud while keeping other areas, such as infrastructure maintenance, accounts payable, and accounts receivable, in-house.

A Word About Legacy Infrastructure

Often, when discussing cloud migration, you will hear mention of “legacy infrastructure.” Legacy infrastructure (hardware and software) is tech that is considered obsolete but is still used. As a rule, legacy systems or applications are less secure and efficient than state-of-the-art assets.

For this purpose, infrastructure covers applications, servers, networking equipment, operating systems, databases, and any other business-critical hardware or software. Legacy infrastructure, such as old servers or physical firewall appliances, can even slow down a company’s business processes and increase security risks.

Migrating to the cloud removes the issue (and headaches) of procuring and managing legacy infrastructure.

Also Read: What is Cloud Computing Security?

Demystifying the Cloud Migration Process

Here are the steps any organization needs to follow to ensure a smooth migration process.

Assess and Plan the Migration

The first step in the cloud migration process is planning and clearly articulating the organization’s case for the migration. Once the team has established the reasons for migration, it’s essential to thoroughly assess the existing IT infrastructure to decide what’s suitable for migration and which dependencies will require attention. Tasks in this phase include:

  • Analyzing app dependencies and interdependencies
  • Assessing any performance and scalability needs
  • Evaluating all security and compliance requirements
  • Establishing the migration goals and priorities
  • Identifying potential migration challenges
  • Listing and categorizing apps and data

Choose a Cloud Provider

After the assessment, the migration team must select the cloud provider that best aligns with the organization’s needs. The team should consider the following factors:

  • Any data sovereignty and compliance considerations
  • Interoperability with existing systems
  • Provider compatibility with the organization’s existing apps and data
  • The cloud providers’ service offerings, pricing models and support capabilities
  • The availability and scalability of required resources

Design the Target Cloud’s Architecture

This stage determines how the organization’s apps, data, and infrastructure will be organized in the cloud environment. Prime considerations include:

  • Designing all scalable and resilient cloud architectures
  • Defining any networking and security configurations
  • Ensuring the presence of data backup and disaster recovery mechanisms
  • Identifying all appropriate cloud services and features
  • Optimizing performance and cost-efficiency

Perform the Migration

At last, the team moves the company’s existing IT infrastructure to the new cloud environment. Depending on the migration strategy (e.g., refactoring, re-platforming, or lift-and-shift), the process will involve:

  • Setting up the target cloud environment
  • Provisioning virtual machines, network, and storage resources
  • Migrating or replicating the data to the cloud
  • Loading and configuring all apps in the new cloud infrastructure

Test and Validate the Migration

Thorough testing is vital to ensure the functionality of the newly migrated data and apps. Test/validation tasks include:

  • Conducting performance and load testing to determine scalability and responsiveness
  • Performing functional testing to validate the application migration
  • Performing user acceptance testing to ensure that end-users can access the newly migrated cloud resources
  • Running security testing to identify any vulnerabilities and ensure compliance
  • Resolve any issues or bugs spotted during the testing and validation processes

Optimize and Maintain the Cloud Infrastructure

Finally, with the migration and testing completed, the focus changes to optimizing the newly migrated cloud resources and configurations. This step includes:

  • Establishing the governance and management processes
  • Fine-tuning every application
  • Installing all necessary security measures and access controls
  • Setting up system monitoring and alerting mechanisms
  • Streamlining the resource usage

However, remember that cloud adoption isn’t a single-step, one-and-done process. Huge infrastructure and data transfers demand continuous, real-time performance monitoring to optimize the new cloud infrastructure features and ensure the migration’s long-term success. Organizations should be ready to update or upgrade their software and security protocols, scale up or down based on resource demand, and monitor/audit cloud expenses to optimize cost-effectiveness.

Cloud Migration Strategies

There are five strategies, often called “the Five R’s,” that organizations employ, depending on their needs and situations.

  • Rehost. Consider rehosting as “the same thing but on cloud servers.” This strategy involves selecting an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) provider and recreating their application architecture on the new infrastructure.
  • Refactor. Refactoring reuses the organization’s pre-existing code and frameworks but runs them on a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) provider’s platform rather than an IaaS.
  • Revise. The revision strategy involves partially expanding or rewriting the code base and deploying it by refactoring or rehosting.
  • Rebuild. Rebuilding means rewriting and re-architecting the application on a PaaS provider’s platform. Although this can be labor-intensive, developers can use a PaaS vendor’s modern features.
  • Replace. Finally, organizations can discard their old applications entirely and switch to already-built SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications provided through third-party vendors.

The Benefits of Cloud Migration

It brings many advantages to the table, including:

  • Cost. Organizations that migrate to the cloud often considerably reduce the amount spent on IT operations since cloud providers handle maintenance and upgrades. Therefore, instead of keeping things up and running, companies can direct more resources to their most significant business needs, such as developing new products or improving their existing ones.
  • Flexibility. Whether employees or customers, users can access the needed cloud services and data from anywhere. This advantage makes it easier for a business to grow into new territories, offer services to global audiences, and allow their employees to work remotely and flexibly.
  • Performance. Cloud migration enables most businesses to improve performance and their customers’ overall user experience. Suppose the company’s website or application is hosted in a cloud data center instead of on-premises servers. In that case, the data will not have to travel as far to reach the end users, reducing latency.
  • Scalability. Cloud computing scales up (or down) to support larger or smaller workloads and greater numbers of users far more quickly and easily than on-premises infrastructures. The latter requires companies to buy and set up additional networking equipment, physical servers, or software licenses.

In addition, cloud migration offers:

  • A shift to everything-as-a-service
  • Better consumption management
  • Better management of increased customer expectations
  • Easing increasing resource demands
  • Improved overall performance
  • Simplified IT
  • The ability to innovate faster
  • The delivery of immediate business results

Also Read: How to Become a Cloud Engineer in 2024? A Complete Guide

The Challenges of Cloud Migration

Nothing worthwhile is simple, and that includes migrating to the cloud. Here are the most common challenges associated with performing a migration to the cloud:

  • Migrating large databases. Typically, databases must be completely moved to a different platform to function in the cloud. However, moving an entire database is difficult, especially if it involves vast data. Some cloud providers help mitigate this issue by offering physical data transfer methods, like loading data onto a hardware appliance and shipping it to the cloud provider, a practice reserved for massive databases that would take too long to migrate via the Internet.
  • Data integrity. Security is a big issue. Once data is transferred, the migration team needs to ensure that the data is intact and secure and was not somehow leaked during the migration process.
  • Continued operation. Many businesses need help to afford to shut down during a cloud migration. Businesses must ensure that their legacy systems and infrastructure remain available and operational throughout the migration. This need means there will be some overlap between the on-premises assets and the cloud to ensure continuous service. For example, copying all data stored in the cloud is essential before shutting down an existing database. Consequently, businesses typically must move just a few assets at a time instead of all at once.

Do You Want to Get Better Acquainted with Cloud Computing?

Whether you’re involved in a cloud migration or just want to add cloud skills to your portfolio, consider this intense cloud computing bootcamp. This 32-week bootcamp features an instructor-led, project-based, hands-on learning experience in cloud computing and DevOps. This is the perfect course for developing expertise in multi-cloud strategies by learning about the Azure and AWS cloud platforms. reports that cloud engineers can earn a yearly average of $115,437. So, join the cloud migration revolution and get your cloud-based skills in order through this comprehensive online bootcamp.

You might also like to read:

Top Cloud Computing Career Paths to Explore in 2024

Different Types of Cloud Computing: A Comprehensive Guide

What is AWS EC2? A Comprehensive Guide

How to Become an AWS Solutions Architect: A Complete Guide

Top 10 Cloud Computing Characteristics

Cloud Computing Bootcamp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

What is Cloud Data Engineer

Career Breakdown: Who is a Cloud Data Engineer?

Wondering who is a cloud data engineer and how to become one? Learn about the role, essential skills, and the benefits of a cloud computing bootcamp to help you build a career in this field.

Cloud Computing Bootcamp


6 months

Learning Format

Online Bootcamp

Program Benefits