Cloud migration checklist for successful app migration


Cloud migration checklist for successful app migration

Moving to the cloud is not simple, even though it’s easier than a complete transformation. There’s a lot to think about and plan for.

The process is usually broken down into 3 parts: before, the migration itself, and after migration. Each part has several steps to follow.

With over 10 years of experience in cloud computing, I have seen IT executives face challenges migrating key enterprise applications to the public cloud. Despite initial setbacks, they persevered and used their experiences to improve in future migrations.

If your company aims to modernize crucial applications through cloud migration, this 10-step checklist can help you avoid common mistakes and increase the likelihood of a successful migration. The checklist covers the key areas to consider and address during the migration process.

The following steps make up our cloud migration checklist:

  • Designate a migration-architect role
  • Determine the extent of cloud integration
  • Decide on a single or multi-cloud approach
  • Set cloud KPIs
  • Establish performance benchmarks
  • Identify the priority of migration components
  • Conduct any necessary code adjustments
  • Plan for data migration
  • Move production to the cloud
  • Evaluate application resource allocation.

These are the strategic steps for successful cloud migration.

1. Designating a Migration-Architect Role

Before embarking on cloud migration, it’s important to establish the role of a migration architect who will oversee the entire process. The migration architect is a senior systems architect accountable for planning and executing every aspect of the migration. Their key responsibilities include identifying necessary code changes, devising data migration strategies, specifying cloud solution requirements, and determining migration priorities and procedures for moving production to the cloud.

Numerous technical decisions and plans must be made in a large migration project. Having a dedicated migration architect to handle all aspects of the migration is crucial for ensuring the project’s success.

2. Determine the extent of cloud integration

One of the early decisions in cloud migration is determining the level of cloud integration you want to achieve. This involves deciding how much of your existing systems and infrastructure you want to integrate with cloud-based solutions and how much you want to move to the cloud. This decision will significantly impact the scope and complexity of your migration and should be based on your specific business needs and goals.

When migrating an application from an on-premises data center to the cloud, you have two options: shallow cloud integration or deep cloud integration.

Shallow Cloud Integration (Lift and Shift)

With shallow cloud integration, also known as lift and shift, you move your on-premises application to the cloud with minimal or no changes to the servers used to run the application. The changes made to the application are just enough to get it running in the new environment, without utilizing cloud-specific services.

Deep Cloud Integration

For deep cloud integration, you modify the application during migration to take advantage of the cloud’s capabilities, such as auto-scaling and dynamic load balancing, serverless computing, and cloud-specific data stores. This migration allows you to optimize your application for the cloud and achieve the benefits you’re aiming for.

3. Decide on a single or multi-cloud approach

When considering a cloud migration, you can choose a single cloud provider or utilize multiple cloud providers (multi-cloud).

Single Cloud

Choosing a single cloud provider means that you will be relying on one specific cloud service for all your cloud computing needs. This can simplify your migration process and make it easier to manage your cloud environment.


Going multi-cloud means that you will be utilizing multiple cloud providers to meet your computing needs. This approach can provide more flexibility and help mitigate vendor lock-in, but it can also be more complex to manage and may require additional resources.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to choose a single cloud or go multi-cloud will depend on your specific business needs and goals.

Go for a multi-cloud strategy.

By splitting your application across multiple cloud providers, you can take advantage of the unique strengths of each provider. For instance, one provider may excel in AI while another might be well-known for its fast database speeds. This approach allows you to utilize these key benefits.

Construct your application to be cloud-independent.

Some organizations design their applications to operate on any cloud service provider. This method allows you to run your application on multiple providers at the same time or distribute your application load between them. This strategy provides you with the maximum versatility in negotiating with vendors, as you can easily move loads from one cloud provider to another.

Drawbacks: The disadvantage is that it may be challenging to take advantage of the unique features of each cloud provider, diminishing the advantages of hosting your application in the cloud. Additionally, this approach may complicate your application development and verification processes.

4. Set cloud KPIs

Set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your cloud environment. Establishing measurable goals for your cloud migration to ensure success is important. KPIs can include metrics such as cost savings, improved application performance, and increased efficiency in delivering services. Having clear and defined KPIs will help you track your progress and measure the success of your cloud migration.

Establishing cloud migration KPIs to measure success.

The KPIs chosen for a cloud migration should provide insight into the progress of the migration and reveal any issues within the application. They can also help determine when the migration is successfully completed.

5. Establish performance baselining

The process of setting performance baselines involves measuring the current performance of your application or service before migration to determine if its performance after migration will meet expectations. Baselines are a reference point to check if the migration is complete and assess the realized performance improvements. They can also be used to identify issues that arise during the migration process.

Tips for establishing baselining

  • Set a baseline metric for each KPI.
  • Determine the data collection period (short or long)
  • Decide on average or peak/critical data collection
  • Clearly define the data type and collection period

6. Identify the priority of migration components

Determine if you will migrate your entire application simultaneously or incrementally by component/service.

Identify service connections

Identify the dependencies between services and use an application performance monitoring tool with service maps to generate diagrams. Use these diagrams to decide the order in which components should be migrated.

Plan migration

Starting with services with fewer dependencies is a common strategy, first migrating internal services and then external services close to customers. Another option is to start with the services closest to customers to minimize the impact on them.

7. Conduct any necessary refactoring

Refactoring, or making changes to an application or service, may be necessary before migration to ensure it works effectively and efficiently in the cloud. This could include optimizing it for dynamic scaling, utilizing cloud resources better, and transitioning to a service-oriented architecture.

8. Plan for data migration

Data migration is a crucial part of cloud migration that requires careful planning. The position of your data affects the performance of your application, and accessing data that is still on-premises while the service is in the cloud or vice versa can result in poor performance.

Data Migration Options

  • Use a bi-directional syncing mechanism between your on-premises and cloud databases. Once the data has been moved, remove the on-premises database.
  • Use an on-premises database with one-way synchronization to a cloud database, and allow consumers to access only the on-premises version. Later, access to the on-premises version is disabled, making the cloud-based version the main database and access to cloud consumers.
  • Use a cloud data migration service from providers such as Amazon Web Services.

Note that data migration planning is complex and important and ignoring it can result in a failed or disappointing migration. Your migration architect should be heavily involved in the planning process.

9. Move production to the cloud

When transitioning from the old on-premises solution to the new cloud version, the timing and method depend on the complexity and design of the application, especially in regards to data and data storage.

Two common methods for switching to production:

Switch all at once: Wait until the entire application or service is fully migrated to the cloud and confirmed to be functioning, then redirect traffic from the on-premises to the cloud.

Gradual transition: Move a small number of customers to the cloud, verify that everything is working, and then move more customers until the entire customer base uses the cloud-based application.

10. Evaluate application resource allocation.

After migrating to the cloud, it’s crucial to consider resource optimization. The cloud operates efficiently with dynamic resource allocation, so it’s essential to have a plan for distributing resources to your application dynamically instead of statically. 

The cloud vendor usually provides resources, such as servers, in large quantities and at a moment’s notice, which allows you to scale your application as needed to meet demand as long as your application architecture supports dynamic scaling.

Further Considerations in Cloud Migration

  • Securing cloud environment, major cloud providers offer tools to help maintain security.
  • Understanding cloud costs, monthly bills may appear expensive compared to physical data centers, but hidden costs and differences in capital/operating expenses should be considered.
  • Familiarize yourself with modern application-building practices using services and microservices.
  • Adopt DevOps methods for building and running cloud services.
  • Use monitoring tools to gather data and improve application performance.


In conclusion, migrating to the cloud can be a complex and challenging process, but with a solid cloud migration checklist, organizations can successfully transition their applications to the cloud. 

By considering the various factors involved in cloud migration, such as data migration, resource optimization, security, and cost management, organizations can ensure a seamless and successful migration to the cloud. 

Additionally, staying informed about the latest best practices, such as building modern applications using services and microservices, using DevOps methods and procedures, and monitoring the cloud applications, can help organizations make the most of their cloud migration. With a well-planned and executed cloud migration checklist, organizations can reap the many benefits of the cloud, including scalability, cost savings, and improved performance.