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Make, Not Break: 5 Tips For Successful Legacy Software Migration To The Cloud

In 2020, public cloud services revenue will grow by 17%, according to Gartner. More and more organizations are opting for moving their legacy software to cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and more.

These companies choose cloud to enable agile development and testing, high availability, on-demand scaling, secure data storage, and experimenting with new technologies. This allows them to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

We have prepared five practical tips on the smooth cloud migration of your legacy software. Read on and learn how to successfully plan the migration of your organization’s outdated solutions from end to end.

5 tips for seamless migration of your legacy software to the cloud

1. Handpick your consultant or provider

You probably think of migration as a straightforward process, which any development team can execute. If so, you’re sorely mistaken: cloud migration requires skilled programmers with a track record of migration projects, or better yet, a dedicated multi-disciplinary team that is able to handle solution architecture, development, testing, DevOps and security, among other things.

Not just any provider can offer you a team that will work on your case at a reasonable rate. What’s more, not just any provider has enough experience to get to the core of your case and help you figure out the best cloud migration strategy.

Scan a provider’s relevant cloud migration success stories and try to find some cases similar to yours. A good cloud migration provider can maintain 99% of your solution in working condition during migration — minimal risks and practically no business losses. In conclusion, the best provider should work with the latest tech and have proven expertise in your industry and a team with long-standing experience.

2. Define business drivers

Your next step is to discuss with your provider the challenges that cloud migration should solve for your business. Why is it high time for your business to migrate? How can new technologies strengthen your current weak points? In what ways could your services or solutions become more efficient with the use of the cloud?

Focus on clarifying your migration objectives, or you could be wasting your time and seeing irrelevant results. Here are a couple of examples of how two organizations went about defining their business drivers and objectives.

Consider the case of migration to Azure VMs by Contoso, manufacturing, sales, and support organization. The main driver for the business was that it realized it was ready for growth and that it needed to adapt modern and scalable software and infrastructure without extra spending. It wanted to migrate a critical app and database with zero risks. Also, it wanted to make sure that the migrated app would be stable and interactions with it would be smooth.

One more example is the relocation of the database to the AWS cloud by Intuit Mint, a financial management service handling customers’ bank accounts, credit and billing info. The organization was seeking to improve the scalability of its data center as per traffic demands and to save time and resources on maintenance and support.

3. Build a strategy

At this stage, your organization needs to design the solution and strategize the migration process. You can start by first of all picking the parts that require migration. Consider the changes to your current architecture: servers, data storage or networks may work differently in the cloud.

Then, think about what changes you need to make to the code so that things don’t go south after migration. Discuss with your provider how to avoid possible performance issues. You can also have a backup environment where you will run your solutions until the completion of the migration.

One more point that you should consider is the compliance of your chosen cloud solution with your industry standards. Make sure that your updated system allows a high level of security and enables your software to work in line with business-specific guidelines. Ultimately, check if the provider’s team grasps all the nuances so they can avoid basic mistakes.

4. Follow the agile approach for accurate results

Now that you have had quality assistance from your provider, defined your business goals, and created a migration strategy, you can proceed to migrate your work to the cloud. Remember, migration shouldn’t take long, and you can plan a good step-by-step process using agile methodologies.

Agile will help you deal with chunks of legacy software individually. It is easier to make migration decisions and pay attention to details if you manage each part one by one. You can clearly define the timeframe for iteration and plan your budgeting. The agile approach facilitates your control over the compliance of the process with the business objectives.

Remember our example cases from step 2? Those two organizations went agile and made it through the migration stage successfully. Contoso split the process into preparing and setting up on-premise components for migration, conducting replication, running test migration, and finally fully migrating to the Azure cloud.

Intuit Mint began with migrating a large part of its database to make swift changes to the speed of its website and content delivery. A year later, it moved the rest to completely stop using the on-premise data center.

5. Check consistency with your objectives

If you have completed the previous steps correctly, your organization will reap some tangible benefits. For example, Contoso aimed at rehosting a critical app to achieve stable performance and make business growth possible. The migration provided more scalability to resources as per changing demand, helped reduce operational costs, and gave more solutions flexibility to support the expanding business.

Or maybe your migration objectives are similar to those of Intuit Mint — to acquire a secure, scalable, and reliable service and cut down on the use of hardware servers? Intuit Mint ensured optimal costs of the solution, a modern and safe tech base, an opportunity for easy system recovery, and a better allocation of the resources.

You may have other objectives specific to your organization and industry. Either way, monitor the results to see if you have met every aspect of your organization’s goal.


The roots of issues with legacy software can be in the architecture, functionality or technology that an organization is currently using. The precise diagnostics of the problem facilitates legacy software migration. With a reliable migration services provider and a well-thought-out plan, your organization is well on its way to successful cloud migration.

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