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How to Migrate Legacy Applications to Cloud: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

time12 min read

Cloud migration is a rewarding process. Being a part of application modernization, it can transform your business for the better and help increase revenue, all while improving the user experience. Yet, 66% of organizations struggle with it. The journey can be challenging, complex, and time-consuming, therefore requiring careful planning and execution.

In this article, we will explore the best practices for migrating legacy applications to the cloud, including the do’s and don’ts that can help ensure a successful outcome. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, keep reading to find out how to migrate legacy applications to the cloud as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

How Will Your Businesses Benefit from Migrating Legacy Apps to the Cloud?

Cloud migration can provide numerous benefits that will better support your business needs. The most significant of them include:

Cost Savings. Legacy applications often run on outdated and expensive hardware that requires costly maintenance and upgrades. By migrating these applications to the cloud, you can significantly reduce hardware and maintenance costs. With the cloud, unlike other environments, you only pay for the capacity that you actually use. However, it is important that the engineers responsible for setting up the infrastructure make it correctly in order to avoid the issue of resource underutilization.

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Improved Scalability. Cloud platforms provide you with the ability to scale up or down quickly in order to meet changing business needs without the demand for additional hardware or infrastructure. For example, if the number of your users varies significantly throughout the seasons, you can move legacy systems to the cloud and regulate the capacity that you need without buying extra stuff, which can be highly beneficial and efficient.

Increased Flexibility. Cloud-based applications can be accessed 24/7, from anywhere, on any device with an internet connection, and by multiple people at once. This improves collaboration, provides greater flexibility for employees and customers, enhances productivity, and streamlines workflow.

Enhanced Security. Cloud providers offer advanced security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and threat monitoring, so that data and applications are better protected. They also offer built-in disaster recovery options that can provide businesses with a reliable backup and recovery solution in case of emergency.

Better Performance. A cloud environment typically has faster and more reliable network connections, which can improve application performance and reduce latency. By utilizing the cloud, you open up the possibility to add new features or integrate trending digital transformation tools (e.g., Automation, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of things, etc.) that can help to skyrocket the performance.

Read more: How Does Off-the-shelf Software Hinder Retail Business Growth?

Why Do Some Legacy Migrations Fail and How Can You Avoid This?

Migrations can fail for various reasons, and it is a mistake to think that legacy applications can always be easily migrated to the cloud. When thinking of the DON’Ts to prevent failure, consider these 5 pitfalls:

migrate legacy applications to the cloud

Lack of Planning

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when migrating to the cloud is not having a solid plan in place. They may rush into the migration without fully understanding the requirements, costs, and potential app or data migration challenges. According to the report, 77% of businesses fail to complete at least one modernization program and 38% of enterprises blame a lack of planning for their failures.

Before going all in on the cloud migration, it is crucial to create a detailed roadmap for your application modernization. You should plan all the necessary steps while keeping in mind bearing the possible difficulties. Before migrating, ask yourself if it is truly necessary or if it is simply an attempt to follow a trend without valid technological or business reasons.

Not Optimizing for the Cloud

Simply moving existing applications to the cloud may not optimize them. To take full advantage of cloud-specific features and benefits, you should consider redesigning your technology to fit the new environment. It would help if you also implemented proper security protocols to protect your data and applications.

Not Considering Performance

If you do not properly optimize the applications for the cloud-based environment, you might experience performance issues. Consider factors such as network latency, storage, and compute resources to ensure optimal performance. Regularly monitoring and adjusting your cloud application’s settings and configurations can also help to prevent performance issues.

Underestimating Costs

According to Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report, 82% of respondents struggle to manage the costs associated with the cloud, making it the top challenge of cloud migration. The process can definitely be costly, and businesses often underestimate the associated expenses.

To overcome the issue, you should clearly understand the costs involved and plan a budget accordingly. For example, you should consider your business’ seasonality and related expenses. If your load on the infrastructure changes regularly and significantly along with the number of users in the system, count the cost of potential fluctuations.

Read more: Cost of Maintaining Legacy Software: Top 2 Business Concepts

Failing to Train Employees

78% of organizations struggle with a lack of expertise when it comes to migration, as it requires a new and specific set of skills and knowledge. To deal with the issue, you should train your employees to ensure that they can work effectively in the cloud environment. You may even consider motivational bonuses to encourage their learning. If you decide your team’s knowledge is insufficient, consider partnering with an external service provider.

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5 Steps of Migrating Your Legacy Application to the Cloud: Check Points and Best Practices

Every business has a unique set of legacy technologies. To determine the best practices for legacy application migration to the cloud, you should thoroughly assess your outdated systems’ current state, needs, priorities, possibilities, requirements, desired end state, etc. Here are the 5 DO steps to ensure that your cloud modernization is truly successful:

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Consider Your Environment

The first essential step to successful cloud migration is analyzing your current state and environment and deciding whether you need to migrate legacy applications to the cloud at all. We encourage you to conduct a SWOT Analysis and an Application Fitness Assessment and use a TIME model for sorting out your applications.

In making a SWOT Analysis, you need to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your current legacy infrastructure and whether it satisfies your current needs and goals.

Next, you could use a TIME model to help sort out your existing applications using these criteria:

  • Tolerate applications with low risk and good service levels.
  • Invest more effort in applications that can be retained or re-used in different and innovative ways to extract more benefit.
  • Migrate applications critical to the functioning of a business.
  • Eliminate applications that are expensive to maintain and operate.

Application Fitness Assessment helps to evaluate the business value of an application in comparison to its technology fit. This assessment involves quantifying both the business value and technology fit of an application, which enables it to be measured and compared against other applications.

Make an analysis of your business’s applications’ dependencies and connections between business processes to understand how all the legacy systems used in a business process interact with every other system in the application estate.

Create Your Migration Plan

Next, it is time to plan and develop your strategy. This step requires close collaboration with all the stakeholders and IT team representatives. A detailed plan should include timelines, resource requirements, and risk management strategies. Define your goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities, and the time and money required. Then, communicate your plan to all team members involved.

To help ease the process, think about collaborating with cloud service providers that will help you figure out how to move legacy applications to the cloud effectively. When choosing, consider factors such as pricing, performance, security, compliance, and support of the provider, and then select the one that meets your organization’s needs and requirements.

As an outcome, you will have a detailed step-by-step migration strategy that will help you stay goal-oriented and track your progress.

Learn how to outsource your software development.

Make a Pilot Migration

The next step for a successful cloud migration is to deploy a test one. The goal here is to ensure that the built app works predictably in every possible scenario and that you have developed a quality product.

Going through this stage requires a decent amount of time and effort, but it is worth it. In the long run, your migration will be less risky, and you will be more confident that users will love interacting with it.

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Migrate Your Legacy Apps to the Cloud

Now that everything is ready and you have corrected the errors after a pilot migration, the only thing left to do is execute a public legacy app migration to the cloud.

Do not rush this process, and make sure to approach it iteratively. You can maintain the operation of the old software and utilize it as a backup system until you are entirely confident that the migration has been successful.

Ensure that everything is compliant and secure. Cooperate with an external service provider to get expertise and consult on the process.

Maintenance and Improvement of the Cloud

After you have finally migrated, it is essential to monitor and optimize your technology further. Use your cloud possibilities to the maximum. Keep track of your progress and think of ways to boost the benefits. Stay competitive.

Do not forget about change management. Train your employees, change operational activities, reorganize the workflow to fit the cloud’s requirements better, etc. Together with a service provider, you can create documentation and guides to help your employees learn and adapt. It is important to ensure that your team can use the new technology effectively.

Maven executed the cloud migration for BabyPark, the largest children’s goods retail network in Europe.

Initially, the client requested to migrate their existing online store to the newer version of their eCommerce Platform. After a deep analysis, we uncovered that they needed to redesign the entire software architecture and move to the cloud.

Our work resulted in 30x faster info processing and 24x faster info updates from ERP for the client. Now, we continue our cooperation and improvement of BabyPark’s systems.

How to Migrate to the Cloud?

A frequently applied approach to legacy application cloud migration is “lift and shift” or rehosting. It involves moving parts of your application and infrastructure from an on-premises environment to a cloud provider using migration software and without making any significant changes to the underlying architecture.

The applications are moved along with any associated data, virtual machines, and network configurations. Once running in the cloud, they are typically connected to the organization’s existing networks and systems to continue to operate as they did in the on-premises environment.

Sometimes, applications that were not designed for the cloud may not perform as well in a cloud environment, which could impact their overall effectiveness and usability. This is why it is important to thoroughly analyze the current state of your technology and to choose the best strategy for application modernization after the migration.

Read more: AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: How to Choose the Right Cloud Platform

How Can Maven Solutions Help You?

Maven Solutions has 13 years of experience working with businesses of different niches (e.g., Travel, Fashion, Goods for children, Food, Logistics, and Branded products) and sizes (e.g., from startups to Fortune 500 and the Inc.5000). Having 100+ successful projects and 20,000+ features developed, we have earned the trust of many companies, most of which continue long-term cooperation with us.

Today, the leading service of Maven Solutions is application modernization. Thanks to the experience collected throughout the years, we have created our own tool that helps Maven’s team modernize legacy software 2x faster than our competitors while keeping the highest quality possible.

As a trusted service provider, we guide you through all the stages of modernization, from planning to helping with change management after the process. We develop a detailed and efficient plan and execute application modernization that delivers the best value for money.

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Migrating legacy applications to the cloud is not easy, but it is essential to take advantage of the benefits that cloud computing can offer. To ensure a successful migration process, you need to follow some best practices, including assessing your current infrastructure, creating a detailed migration plan, testing thoroughly before going live, and continuing the improvement after the migration.

It is also essential to avoid common mistakes, such as not planning enough, underestimating costs and cloud optimization, not considering performance, and failing to train employees. By being aware of the aforementioned do’s and don’ts, you can increase the chances of a successful migration that delivers the scalability, agility, and cost savings that your organization needs to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape.

Maven can help you facilitate legacy app migration to the cloud and make technology truly work for your business development. Let’s talk about your goals.


Can Legacy Applications Be Easily Migrated to the Cloud?

No. In most cases, the migration process may be challenging, requiring specialized skills and expertise in cloud architecture, security, and compliance. However, the answer to this question depends on the legacy application’s complexity, the customization level required, the available resources and expertise, etc.

What Is Cloud Migration of Legacy Applications?

Migration of legacy applications refers to the process of transferring an existing application that was developed for a traditional IT infrastructure to a cloud-based environment.

Legacy applications are often built using outdated technologies, are difficult to scale, and have limited flexibility. Migrating these applications to the cloud can provide several benefits, including improved scalability, increased agility, and reduced costs.

What Applications Should Never Be Moved to the Cloud?

Usually, it is better not to migrate applications with complex regulatory or compliance requirements, specialized hardware requirements, or licensing models that are not cost-effective. However, to better understand if an application should be moved to the cloud, you must assess its specific needs and constraints.

How Can I Tell Whether a Legacy Move Is Necessary?

Conduct a SWOT analysis and an Application Fitness Assessment, as well as use a TIME model for sorting out your applications. Then, make your decision based on factors such as business goals and needs, the size of technical debt, state of security, etc.

What Are Other Ways Legacy Systems Can Be Updated?

You can also choose these options for application modernization: encapsulation, refactoring, replatforming, rebuilding, replacing, and rearchitecting.

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