Consider this: by 2025, it's estimated that 95% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud. But, in a world where cloud technology is as diverse as the clouds in the sky, choosing the right cloud migration strategy for your business can be a daunting task.

Let's face it – the cloud is more than just a buzzword; it's the backbone of the modern digital economy. But how do you ensure that your journey to the cloud is not only seamless but also tailored to your business's unique needs? In this guide, we will delve into the factors to consider before cloud migration, such as cost, security, and performance, and compare different types of cloud migration strategies. The intent is to ensure that readers have a clear understanding of how to make an informed decision when it comes to migrating to the cloud.

Why Migrate to the Cloud?

Before we dive into the details of selecting the right cloud migration strategy, let's explore why businesses are making this move in the first place.

1. Cost Efficiency: One of the primary reasons businesses migrate to the cloud is to reduce costs. On-premises infrastructure can be expensive to maintain, requiring investments in hardware, software, and IT staff. Cloud services offer a pay-as-you-go model, allowing businesses to scale up or down as needed, which can result in significant cost savings.

2. Scalability: Cloud platforms provide the flexibility to scale your resources up or down in response to demand. This ensures that your infrastructure can adapt to business growth without requiring a significant overhaul.

3. Accessibility: The cloud allows employees to access data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection. This is especially beneficial in today's remote and hybrid work environments.

4. Disaster Recovery: Cloud providers often have robust disaster recovery solutions. Your data is stored in multiple data centers, making it less susceptible to loss in case of hardware failures or disasters.

5. Security: Contrary to common misconceptions, cloud providers invest heavily in security measures. They offer data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and security compliance certifications to protect your data.

The streaming giant Netflix faced a major database corruption and for three days could not ship DVDs to their members that's when they decided to move to the cloud in 2008. Since then, they have been able to significantly increase their availability and cut costs per streaming.

Cloud Migration Strategies

Migrating to the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Different businesses have varying needs, so types of cloud migration strategies have emerged to meet those needs. Let's explore some common cloud migration strategies:

1. Lift-and-Shift (Rehosting)

Lift-and-shift, also called rehosting, is like moving your whole house to a new place without making any substantial changes. It means moving your current data and applications from your on-premises infrastructure to the cloud with little to no changes. GE Oil & Gas, is one such company that saved 30 % of its costs by rehosting, without really  implementing any cloud optimizations.


  • Speedy Migration: This approach is quick. It gets your applications to the cloud without a lot of fuss, making it a good choice if you need a fast transition.
  • Minimal Changes: Your applications don't need major makeovers. They work in the cloud much like they did in your own data center, so you can get up and running with less hassle.
  • Reduced Downtime: With less tinkering needed, your downtime during migration can be minimized, ensuring your business keeps running smoothly.


  • Not Fully Cloud-Optimized: While speedy, lift-and-shift may not make the best use of cloud capabilities. You might miss out on some of the benefits that make the cloud special.
  • Potential Optimization Needs: Over time, you might need to make changes to fully leverage the cloud and maximize cost savings, which can take additional effort.

A study by Gartner found that by 2025, more than 50% of the enterprise workload will migrate to the cloud by using the rehosting strategy.

2. Re-platforming (Rehosting with Optimization)

Re-platforming is similar to lift-and-shift, but it involves optimizing your applications before migration. This might involve updating your database software or application code to use cloud resources better. You might want to re-platform a Microsoft SQL Server database to Amazon RDS. If you do this, you have used a re-platforming strategy.


  • Improved Performance: Think of it as upgrading your old car. You tweak your applications and data to make them run more efficiently in the cloud.
  • Long-term Cost Savings: Re-platforming can be a smart investment. Those optimizations can lower cloud costs, making it a cost-effective choice.
  • Some Cloud Benefits: While it's not a complete makeover like re-architecting, re-platforming still allows you to enjoy some cloud-native benefits, such as scalability and flexibility.


  • More Time and Effort: It's less quick than a basic lift-and-shift. You'll need to put in some effort to optimize those, but the results can be well worth it.
  • Not Fully Cloud-Native: You won't be taking full advantage of all the cloud offers, so it's a trade-off between quick migration and optimization.

Dow Jones migrated more than 55% of their data to the cloud by leveraging cloud migration tools and this helped the company to cut operation costs by more than 50%.

3. Re-architecting (Rebuilding)

Re-architecting, also known as rebuilding, is like tearing down your old house and constructing a brand-new one from the ground up. In cloud migration terms, it means redesigning your applications to fully embrace the cloud's capabilities and potential.


  • Maximum Cloud Benefits: Re-architecting offers a full array of cloud-native benefits. You can build applications that take full advantage of the cloud's scalability, flexibility, and innovation potential.
  • Improved Performance: You're essentially building a high-performance sports car instead of just upgrading an old one. The applications are optimized to run at their best in the cloud environment.
  • Future-Proofing: This approach helps ensure your applications can adapt and evolve with the fast-paced technological changes. You're not just moving to the cloud; you're building for the cloud's future.


  • Time-Consuming and Resource-Intensive: Re-architecting is a significant project. It requires more time, effort, and expertise compared to other migration strategies.
  • Expertise Needed: You'll need a deep understanding of cloud-native development, which might involve hiring or training your team.

4. Repurchasing (Adopting Cloud Software)

In some cases, it might make sense to abandon your existing software and adopt cloud-based alternatives. This approach can be beneficial if your outdated software doesn't align with your cloud strategy.


  • Access to modern, cloud-native software.
  • Reduced maintenance and infrastructure costs.
  • Streamlined operations.


  • Transition can be disruptive.
  • Training employees on new software may be necessary.

5. Retiring

Sometimes, migrating to the cloud also provides an opportunity to clean house. You can retire outdated applications or data that are no longer necessary, reducing complexity and cost. According to a study by AWS, they found as many as 10% of an enterprise IT portfolio is no longer useful and can be ridden off.


  • Simplifies your environment.
  • Reduces costs and complexity.
  • Streamlines operations.


  • Requires a thorough assessment of what can be retired.
  • Potential data loss if not handled carefully.


Feature Lift-and-Shift Re-platforming Re-architecting Repurchasing Retiring
Quick Migration
Improved Performance
Long-term Cost Savings
Access to Cloud Benefits
Simplified Operations
Minimal Downtime

Migrating to the cloud is a significant decision that can transform your business. To make the most of this opportunity, choosing the right cloud migration strategy is crucial. Careful consideration of your business objectives, workload assessment, data security, cost analysis, and other factors is essential in making an informed choice.

Once you've selected the right strategy, follow the appropriate stages of cloud migration to ensure a successful transition. Don't forget to address cloud migration security throughout the process to protect your valuable data and applications in the cloud. With the right strategy and diligent planning, your business can harness the full power of cloud computing and stay competitive in today's dynamic marketplace.