Migrating legacy applications to the cloud
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Legacy Application Migration to Cloud: Your Essential Guide to 6-Step Process

23 Aug 2023

With outdated software, traditional businesses still rely on their legacy on-premise applications for day-to-day operations. It’s crucial to keep a check if they are becoming potential roadblocks to progress. Increasing maintenance costs and declining legacy system performance can indicate that it is time for cloud migration.

Legacy to cloud migration makes sense, especially when the legacy system runs on outdated technologies and provides limited software functionality. Early cloud adopters are already experiencing the benefits like high scalability, agility, efficiency, and innovation.

Did you know?

The global cloud migration services could grow at a CAGR of 24% from a value of USD 114.08 Billion in 2022 to reach USD 637.66 Billion by 2030, suggests a report by Vintage Market Research[1].

This informative piece of content will walk you through why your business needs legacy application migration to cloud, how to migrate to the cloud successfully, and how to overcome critical challenges. So, let’s begin!

Table of Content:

What is Legacy Application Migration?

Legacy application migration is the process of moving or upgrading legacy apps from on-premise servers to a modern solution. Migrating legacy applications to the cloud gives your business access to the latest tools and technologies, leading to faster innovation and improved customer experiences. It enhances collaboration and communication within the organization operating from different geographical locations.

Why Legacy Application Migration to Cloud is the Need of the Hour?

There could be numerous reasons why moving legacy applications to the cloud would make sense. For example, leveraging the cloud benefits of scalability, cost-cutting, and advanced technology are a few reasons. Traditional business owners often hesitate to migrate due to their unwillingness to change to something new or the concerns of existing things falling apart. But when legacy apps responsible for running operations smoothly start hindering scalability and business growth, it’s time to move beyond fears.

Why migrate legacy applications to the cloud?

Technology Scalability

The cloud infrastructure allows your legacy apps to scale up and utilize more storage space or powerful resources to accommodate increasing demand. Similarly, you can scale down to a smaller cloud plan when workload operations decline and your apps require less storage space and computing power. So, you are not required to invest in setting up additional IT infrastructure to scale up on the cloud. Also, you are not required to pay to maintain extra storage space on the cloud when you want to scale up.

Agile and Flexible Processes

Cloud facilitates real-time collaboration for collective efforts in the organization. Irrespective of their location, multiple users can simultaneously view and edit the same files on the cloud. It enhances workflows and inter-department collaboration within the company.


The service-level agreements of cloud service providers ensure that you face zero or minimal hardware or downtime-related issues. They also handle backups and disaster recovery processes to provide smooth cloud operations to your organization.

Reduced Costs

IT infrastructure costs are among the highest concerns for startups, small companies, and enterprises with limited budgets. Moving to the cloud helps you save on-premise infrastructure costs and maintenance expenses. Besides, cloud platforms provide several services for free usage. So, you only need to pay for additional services your business requires.

Top Reasons Why Legacy Application Migrations Fail

The process of legacy application migration to cloud is complex. The sheer workload of migration repels businesses from attempting it. They believe that if the legacy application is not broken, it doesn’t require fixing. Legacy app migration requires the combined efforts of your business managers and experienced technology experts to build a practical cloud migration strategy. The migration plan needs to be well-executed along with best practices to ensure success. However, migration plans sometimes fail due to the following reasons:

  • The absence of a well-defined migration strategy results in unforeseen challenges.
  • Poorly documented legacy systems running on outdated tech are difficult to reengineer and migrate.
  • Ignoring user experience during the cloud migration process.
  • Poorly evaluating legacy apps and their dependencies before migration.
  • Not running existing systems parallelly until the apps migrated on the cloud function accurately and consistently.

Need Help to Migrate Your Legacy App to Cloud?

Connect with our cloud consultant to re-design, re-engineer, and re-transform legacy apps to bring security and scalability to your business.

Legacy Application Modernization Before Migrating to the Cloud

Modernization becomes essential before migrating legacy applications to the cloud, especially if they are built on older frameworks. As on-premise apps are compatible to run on a specific platform, they may not operate on the cloud.

Businesses often use the lift-and-shift cloud migration approach to transit to the cloud seamlessly. It is comparatively faster and more cost-effective than other methods. But if your apps are not ready for the cloud, you could pay hefty costs in the long run as they may present performance, security, and governance issues. Also, without modernizing legacy apps, you may not be able to derive many cloud benefits post-migration.

Not all applications require a complete overhaul before migration. You may need legacy application modernization services to fix the technology (codes, databases, or platform), UI/UX design, frontend, backend, etc. As data plays a crucial role in driving success and growth for modern business organizations, cloud data modernization becomes imperative before migrating your apps to the cloud. So, taking a long-term outlook when planning legacy to cloud migration and incorporating the modernization process can eliminate many issues down the line.

What Are Legacy Application Migration Options to the Cloud?

You have several strategy options for moving legacy applications to cloud. And you can adopt the one suitable to your business and technology needs. As there is no fixed method for cloud migration, your experienced IT partner could even personalize a cloud strategy by combining two or more options. The options for cloud migration include but are not limited to:

Application Rehosting

This fast and easy migration option involves lifting and shifting the app from on-premise to the cloud without much or no change. It is used mostly for large-scale applications and works well when you only aim to provide access to the application from anywhere globally.

Application Re-platforming

This migration option requires small optimizations in application architecture and shifting to a new platform or infrastructure. For example, moving from on-premise infrastructure to Azure SQL Server or AWS RDS. It is highly suitable when you are required to urgently enhance app performance and increase scalability.

Application Refactoring/Rearchitecting

This migration strategy involves remodeling the legacy app architecture to leverage complete cloud capabilities. It involves significant changes to the legacy app, for instance, transforming its monolithic architecture into microservices for improved performance and capabilities. This option works best when your business organization is ready to transition to the cloud-native architecture fully.

How to Migrate Legacy Applications to Cloud?

The complexity of your migration process could depend on the type of application your business needs and priorities. A thorough end-to-end plan developed by cloud migration experts after an accurate analysis is essential for success. Every migration is different, so cloud migration strategy should be planned with a thorough assessment and careful planning. Irrespective of the customizations required, you can always refer to the below-mentioned pointers to ensure successful migration from legacy systems to cloud.

SWOT Analysis

It is essential to conduct an objective analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats concerning moving your legacy apps to the cloud. A SWOT analysis helps with effective planning that is beyond your technical plan. The assessment should also include third-party software integrations and costs related to employee training, security & compliance. This step would help identify potential operational, financial, technical, and training obstacles and account for them in the broad planning process. In a CI/CD environment, SWOT analysis and assessment of risks and opportunities must be a continuous process to factor emerging risks and opportunities.

Infrastructure Assessment

It is crucial to take an inside-out view of the existing infrastructure. It helps gather a wide range of information like a comprehensive inventory of servers, types of devices and their performance metrics, profile information to build a cloud migration plan, etc. It enables the business team to understand how ready both physical and virtual workspaces are while moving to the cloud platform of your choice. It should also include an assessment of skilled resources available with the company and whether there will be a need to outsource any of the processes.

The assessment should include elements like:

  • Infrastructure
  • Network architecture
  • Performance requirements
  • Availability of skilled resources
  • Resilience requirements

Selection of Migration Strategy

You need to select the most suited cloud migration strategy for your legacy application: re-host, re-platform, or re-structure/rearchitect.

Technology and Platform Selection

At this stage, your migration team can determine the right technology for seamless modernization and migration of the legacy app. It’s crucial to select the best-suited cloud platform (Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, etc.) based on the services they offer for on-premise to cloud migration and beyond.

Pilot Migration Execution

It is essential to first deploy a pilot or test migration before preparing for the actual process. This step allows testing the application in simulated situations like your everyday operations. It helps assess the user interaction with the new environment and work out any challenges before actual migration.
Based on our experience, the pilots could be time-consuming because of actual user involvement in testing the application. Though despite the time investment, it is still a low-risk tactic to identify potential issues before performing the actual migration.

Legacy Application Migration to Cloud

After the assessment and preparation of existing workloads and applications, it is time to migrate the legacy application to the cloud platform of your choice.

The best practices at this stage include:

  • Backup your data
  • Post-migration Testing

Legacy App Migration Challenges and Their Solutions

Considering the crucial role that legacy applications play in your business; it can be highly challenging to migrate them to the cloud. The common challenges you will most likely face include:

Cloud Compatibility

Challenge: The pre-migration assessment often reveals that the legacy app is incompatible with the cloud, eliminating the cost-effective and fast migration option of rehosting.

Solution: So, depending on the optimization or modernization requirements, you need to select between re-forming or restructuring strategies, which can be costly and time-consuming.

It is advisable to consult cloud experts before starting the migration project. It helps you understand if your legacy application can be migrated to the cloud, the level of cost and time investment required, potential risks and opportunities, and any other essential factors.

Cloud Adoption

Challenge: As you modernize the legacy application and move it to the cloud in addition to security, you might be required to consider the challenges to manage and maintain cloud-based infrastructure.

Solution: It is essential to have the required skill set to effectively manage cloud environments and dependencies to gain visibility into operations and troubleshoot issues as they arise.

Skill Shortage

Challenge: Your in-house IT team may not have the relevant skills and experience to carry out migration of legacy system to cloud successfully.

Solution: Considering the number of cloud failures, it is in your best interests to partner with a reputed IT partner. IT organization should have hands-on experience migrating legacy system to cloud platform of your choice.

Modernization and Migration Cost

Challenge: When legacy apps run on outdated technology, the cost to modernize and migrate them can seem high in the short term. While the cloud helps with cost-cutting for maintenance and services, the initial expenses to move from on-premise to cloud could be high. These factors often cause business organizations to stick with their legacy systems.

Solution: An expert assessment can help you know if this cloud migration could bring long-term benefits like value-addition, cost-cutting, high performance, and scalability. Since transformation to the cloud is usually done with a long-term perspective, it is advisable to also weigh the long-term benefits with the short-term costs and decide accordingly.

Ineffective Planning

Challenge: When the migration plan lacks sufficient project evaluation and is not carefully thought out, you could face many risks. These could include the project getting delayed, cost exceeding estimates, missed business priorities, the outcome not meeting requirements, etc.

Solution: The success of a cloud migration project relies heavily on the modernization and migration roadmap and plan. Skilled and experienced cloud professionals can help create an adequately researched and well-defined plan. They can build a roadmap with accurate timelines while prioritizing your business and technology needs. The migration plan has assumptions, required actions, and provisions for iterations. It also has a precise calculation of time and resources needed that helps the team to stay on track.

How Can Rishabh Software Help with Legacy to Cloud Migration?

Rishabh Software is a certified service partner for the top two cloud platforms, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Our team of highly skilled, certified, and experienced cloud experts can help you successfully with end-to-end cloud app development services.

Having successfully migrated legacy apps for organizations across varied industries, we can save you from common cloud migration pitfalls while ensuring value addition. Our team collaborates with you to develop a feasible and accurate migration roadmap. We bring technical proficiency and research capabilities to ensure you migrate to the right cloud platform and utilize the most suitable technology for your applications.

Don't Let Slow Legacy Applications Hold You Back!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which cloud service provider Should I choose for my legacy application migration?

A: When considering cloud migration of your legacy application, you can choose between Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. They are the top two most reliable and continuously advancing cloud service providers. Each of them offers numerous cloud-based services suitable to your business requirements.

Q: Explain how will you mitigate risk during the legacy application migration to cloud?

A: We ensure successful migrations by thoroughly inspecting every required aspect, including architecture, integrations, functionality, technologies, and others. Our team also takes the below-mentioned precautions to reduce or eliminate the risk involved in cloud migration:

  • Retaining Versions: We keep the current and new versions of the app running during the migration process. So, if the process encounters unexpected roadblocks, this practice allows the business to fall back on the old version and continue operations.
  • Redesigning Dependencies: Our team recreates all the dependencies of the legacy application cloud migration before starting process. For instance, if the legacy app uses a specific library to query a database, it becomes a dependency. So, it is essential to redesign the same link between the app and library as it moves to the cloud environment. We also strive to improve the dependencies for better app performance.
  • Testing and Migrating in Small Groups: Migrating all your app data to the new version at once is risky. Its consequences can be severe. To avoid such a situation, we test with a small group of data to migrate your legacy app to the cloud.
  • Migrating Individual Components: We migrate one component at a time to ensure your business processes run uninterrupted during the migration process. It helps us collect feedback and resolve issues faster.