What is Cloud Migration?

Organizations are moving their data to the cloud to take advantage of reduced costs with more efficiency and ...

Organizations are moving their data to the cloud to take advantage of reduced costs with more efficiency and productivity to their employees. It's easy to see that in the last few years Cloud Migration has become a hot topic in the tech industry and organizations of all sizes are racing to perform a migration and embrace the cloud.

Whatever your role in an organization or as a freelance contributor, this blog will give you a comprehensive overview of cloud migration and its impact on the business landscape.

So let's dive in!

What is Cloud Migration?

What is Cloud MigrationCloud migration is the process of relocating some or all of an organization’s on-premise data, applications, and workloads to a cloud-based infrastructure. Organizations may find their own unique benefits to migrating their data to the cloud.

Generally, migrating to the cloud often improves operational performance and agility, workload scalability, geographical access to data, employee collaboration and security. Taking advantage of Cloud infrastructure also provides increased availability for the end user which can help optimize and streamline business activities.

Cloud migration strategies may involve one or more targets as well as one or more  data sources. Some clouds are public, whereby services are delivered over the public internet, and some clouds are private, consisting of secure cloud infrastructure. This data may be restricted to only a specific component of the organization. Businesses commonly use several clouds, both public and private. This allows for secure administration of sensitive data. Typically there will need to be different cloud migration processes for each of these.

The Importance of Cloud Migration 

Cloud migration is an important process for organizations of all sizes. It is the process of transferring applications, data, and other business processes from an on-premise environment to the cloud. Embracing cloud migration is seen by many companies as a way of getting ahead of the competition, as well as reducing infrastructure costs of running their day to day business.

Cloud migration can help organizations scale quickly and easily. Instead of having to be constantly expanding their on-premise infrastructure, cloud-hosted systems can be easily scaled up or down as needed. This has the advantage of breathing new life into older systems used to access company data (because typically cloud based applications have the majority of their computing needs handled by the cloud, rather than the end-user workstation).

In addition scaling up or scaling down can be as simple as changing a subscription level - no need to purchase expensive additional hardware or schedule upgrade weekends.  This allows organizations to quickly scale their systems to meet the demands of their customers and users.

Cloud migration can help organizations save on costs. By utilizing cloud services, organizations can eliminate the need for additional hardware, software, and personnel costs associated with running an on-premise system. This is particular true if the cloud migration is performed to replace an ageing on premise system with expensive recurring maintenance costs, hardware requirements and employees required to maintain it.

Finally, cloud migration can help organizations improve their security. By utilizing cloud services, organizations can benefit from the latest security updates and features, helping to protect their data and applications from cyber threats.

What Are The Benefits of Cloud Migration?

Listed below are a few of the ways your organization can benefit from a cloud migration:

  • On Demand Growth: Cloud computing can scale to support larger workloads and more users, much more easily than on-premises infrastructure. The cloud removes the physical constraints to scalability and reduces the financial limitations of adding servers and the supporting infrastructure to a data center. So a reason for cloud migration is to allow cloud computing resources to grow or decrease on demand.

  • A better payment method: The cloud lets you pay for only the capacity you use instead of purchasing on-premise resources to anticipate growth you may or may not need. With a cloud-based infrastructure, you pay only for resources you need today and scale on demand when you need to. Often payment plans are subscription based. Cloud providers take over maintenance and upgrades. Companies migrating to the cloud can spend considerably less on IT operations. Therefore, cloud migration to one of these cloud infrastructures frees up time and resources.

  • Less Risk: Clouds in general are secure environments that operate within applicable industry standards and government regulations. They are protected through security platforms, best practices, and policies that cloud providers update as needed on a regular basis and at scale. Having data stored in the cloud also removes the need for an on-premise data center. Migrating to the cloud can reduce risk to natural disasters and physical loss of on-premise infrastructure.

  • Future Proof: Placing applications in the cloud allows your enterprise to adopt new technologies quicker. This also allows your organization to bring affordable, just-in-time technology to your cloud infrastructure much quicker than with previous on-premise solutions. Having your applications migrated to the cloud helps to bring ideas to market in less time.

Types of Cloud Migration

In 2011, Gartner identified five cloud migration techniques, known as the “5 Rs”. Companies looking to move to the cloud should consider which cloud migration strategy best answers their needs. Here is a quick overview of common cloud migration techniques as outlined by Gartner:


Rehosting, or ‘lift and shift,’ is a cloud migration process that involves using infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). You would redeploy your existing data and applications on the cloud server. This is easy to do and is thus suited for organizations less familiar with cloud environments. It is also a popular method for data where it is difficult to modify the code, and you want to migrate your applications intact. Once applications are up and running within the cloud, it is often easier to optimize them with cloud-native capabilities.


Refactoring, or ‘lift, tinker, and shift,’ is a cloud migration process when you tweak and optimize your applications for the cloud. Here you might make a few cloud optimizations to achieve some tangible benefit, but you aren’t otherwise changing the core architecture of the application. In this case, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model can be employed. The core architecture of the applications remains intact, but adjustments are made to enable the better use of cloud-based tools.

Refactoring / Re-architecting

This cloud migration technique builds upon the previous strategies, requiring more significant changes to the architecture and code of the systems being moved to the cloud. This is done to enable applications to take full advantage of the services available in the cloud, which may require introducing major code changes. This strategy requires foreplanning and advanced knowledge in the legacy application.


Rebuilding takes the previous cloud migration approach even further by discarding the existing code base and replacing it with a new one. This process takes a lot of time and is only considered when companies decide that their existing solutions don’t meet current business needs. Perhaps the legacy application is no longer needed and can be turned off all together.


Replacing is another solution to the cloud migration challenge. The difference here is that the company doesn’t redevelop its own native application from scratch. This would involve migrating to a new third-party. Perhaps procuring a prebuilt application provided by the cloud service vendor. The only thing that you migrate from your existing application is the data. All other components would be new cloud-based services.

How Cloud Migrations differ from Data Migrations?

Cloud migrations and data migrations are related but distinct concepts. saas-concept-collage (2)

A data migration refers to the process of moving data from one system to another, typically for the purpose of upgrading to a new system, consolidating multiple systems, or transitioning to a new platform or infrastructure. In a data migration, the focus is primarily on the data itself, including ensuring the accuracy, completeness, and integrity of the data as it is moved from one system to another.

Cloud migration, on the other hand, refers to the process of moving applications, services, or infrastructure from an on-premises environment to the cloud. In a cloud migration, the focus is on the entire computing environment, including not just the data, but also the hardware, software, and networking components needed to support the applications or services being migrated.

Here are some of the key differences between cloud migration and data migration:

Scope: Cloud migration involves moving an entire computing environment to the cloud, while data migration focuses solely on moving data from one system to another.

Complexity: Cloud migration is typically more complex than data migration because it involves not just moving data, but also reconfiguring the entire computing environment to work in a cloud-based setting. However with that change comes many advantages which we'll go into later in this article.

Timeline: Cloud migration can be a longer process than data migration because of the complexity involved in reconfiguring the computing environment for the cloud, and of choosing the cloud provider to migrate to.

Skills: Cloud migration requires a different set of skills than data migration because it involves understanding cloud infrastructure, cloud-based services, and related technologies.

Cost: Cloud migration can sometimes be more expensive than data migration due to the costs associated with cloud infrastructure, services, and ongoing maintenance. However the costs are often compared with the longer term benefits of a cloud migration and can therefore be seen in a different perspective.

Examples of Cloud Migration Projects

In the following section we'll give you some examples of cloud migration projects. These are based on our experience across many different industries and geographies:

Enterprise Vault Migrations

Enterprise Vault to Office 365 migrations can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition. Enterprise Vault is an email archiving solution that helps organizations store and manage their emails in a secure and organized manner. However, as organizations move towards cloud-based solutions like Office 365, they may need to migrate their archived emails to the new platform. Migrating from Enterprise Vault to Office 365 involves a multi-step process that typically includes extracting the data from the archive, cleaning it up, ingesting it into Office 365 and then performing any additional clean up tasks. During the migration process, it is essential to ensure that all data is transferred securely and that the data is migrated accurately to prevent any data loss.

One of the biggest challenges in Enterprise Vault to Office 365 migrations is ensuring that the migration process does not disrupt the daily operations of the organization. Since email is a critical communication tool for most businesses, any disruption can have a significant impact on productivity. Additionally, since there might be thousands of email archives, it is important to manage the migration process efficiently. To minimize disruption, organizations should consider performing the migration in stages, starting with critical departments or geographies and then moving on to more critical data. They should also consider working with an experienced migration partner to help ensure a smooth and successful migration. 

Video: Top 5 Tips When Migrating Enterprise Vault to Office 365

In this video you'll see MJ explain the top 5 things to consider when migrating Enterprise Vault data to Office 365


EMC SourceOne Migrations

EMC SourceOne is an email archiving solution that helps organizations manage their email data in a secure and scalable manner. However, as organizations move towards cloud-based solutions like Office 365, they may need to migrate their archived emails from EMC SourceOne to the new platform. Migrating from EMC SourceOne to Office 365 requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition. The migration process typically involves extracting the data from the archive, cleaning it up, and then loading it into Office 365. 

One of the challenges in EMC SourceOne migrations is dealing with the complexity of the email archive data. EMC SourceOne archives email data in a way that is optimized for storage and retrieval, but this can make it challenging to migrate the data to another platform like Office 365. Another challenge is managing the migration process while ensuring minimal disruption to the organization's daily operations. To address these challenges, organizations can work with experienced migration partners who have expertise in migrating from EMC SourceOne to Office 365. These partners can provide guidance on best practices, manage the technical aspects of the migration, and help ensure a smooth and successful migration. It is also important to plan the migration carefully and in advance, including creating a migration schedule and identifying any potential risks or issues that may arise during the process. By taking a structured and strategic approach to EMC SourceOne migrations, organizations can ensure a successful migration to Office 365. 

Quest Archive Manager Migrations

Migrating Quest Archive Manager to Office 365 is a process that involves transferring email and other types of data from an on-premises archiving solution to Microsoft's cloud-based platform. Quest Archive Manager is a popular archiving solution that helps organizations to manage their data for regulatory and compliance purposes. Migrating this data to Office 365 can offer several benefits, including improved accessibility, scalability, and collaboration features. To migrate Quest Archive Manager to Office 365, you will need to evaluate your existing data and system architecture, select the appropriate migration tools and strategies, and test and validate the migration to ensure that your data is transferred securely and accurately.  With the right approach and support, migrating Quest Archive Manager to Office 365 can help your organization to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud and optimize your data management processes for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Metalogix Archive Manager Migrations 

Migrating Metalogix Archive Manager to Office 365 can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. Metalogix Archive Manager is a popular on-premises archiving solution that allows organizations to manage email and other types of data for regulatory and compliance purposes. Moving this data to Office 365 can provide several benefits, including improved accessibility, scalability, and collaboration features. To migrate Metalogix Archive Manager to Office 365, you will need to follow a series of steps, including evaluating your existing data and system architecture, selecting the right migration tools and strategies, and testing and validating the migration to ensure that your data is transferred accurately and securely. You may also need to consider factors such as compliance and data privacy, as well as user training and support to ensure a successful migration. 

PST Migrations 

PST (Personal Storage Table) is a file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, attachments, and other data. However, PST files can present a significant challenge for organizations when migrating to Office 365. Migrating PST files to Office 365 can be a time-consuming process that requires careful planning to ensure a smooth transition. PST files are often distributed across multiple network locations as well as end-user workstations and even removable media, and can be difficult to locate, clean up, and migrate. Furthermore, many PST files that exist in an organization might be corrupt and have many duplicate copies(where 90%+ of the data is the same across multiple files).

To mitigate these challenges, organizations should consider using a third-party migration tool that can automate the migration process and help ensure a smooth transition. Migration tools can scan the organization's network for PST files, identify duplicates, and filter out unnecessary data. They can also provide pre-migration reporting to identify potential issues, such as corrupted or password-protected PST files. Additionally, migration tools can help ensure that the migrated data is consistent and that no data is lost during the migration process.

It is important to note that PST migrations require a significant amount of planning and coordination, and organizations should work with experienced migration partners to ensure a successful migration. The migration process should be carefully planned and executed in phases. Additionally, it is important to communicate with end-users to manage expectations and provide guidance on how to prepare for the migration. By taking a structured and strategic approach to PST migrations, organizations can ensure a successful migration to Office 365.

Video: Top 5 Things to Consider when Migrating PST Data to Office 365

In this video you'll find out about the top 5 things to consider when migrating PST data files to Office 365


Cloud to Cloud Migrations 

Cloud to cloud migrations involve the process of moving data and applications from one cloud provider to another. This type of migration is becoming increasingly common as businesses seek to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing and move their workloads to different cloud environments. There are several reasons why businesses may choose to undertake cloud to cloud migrations, including cost savings, improved performance and scalability, and access to new features and capabilities. In addition large organizations are constantly re-organizing themselves, acquiring new companies (via mergers and acquisitions) or performing divestitures.

The process of migrating from one cloud provider to another can be complex and challenging, requiring careful planning and execution. It's important to select the right migration strategy, whether that's a lift and shift approach or a more comprehensive re-architecture of your applications and data. You also need to consider factors such as security, compliance, and data privacy, and ensure that your migration is properly tested and validated before you go live. With the right approach and support, however, cloud to cloud migrations can deliver significant benefits to your business, helping you to optimize your cloud investment and stay competitive in today's digital economy.

What is Orphan Data & Leaver Data?

Orphan data is data that has become disconnected from its original source or context. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as when a user leaves an organization and their data remains in a system, but is no longer accessible or relevant. Orphan data can pose a significant risk to organizations, as it can create compliance and security vulnerabilities, as well as clutter up storage and impact system performance. To avoid orphan data, it's important to have proper data management processes in place, including regular reviews of user access permissions and retention policies.

Leaver data, on the other hand, is the data that is associated with users who have left an organization. This can include email messages, documents, spreadsheets, presentations contacts, and other digital assets that were created or managed by the user during their tenure. Leaver data can be particularly important in cases where the user held a critical role or had access to sensitive information, as it can provide valuable insights into their activities and responsibilities.

To manage leaver data effectively, organizations should have clear policies and procedures in place for handling departing employees, including archiving or transferring their data to other users or systems as needed. This can help to ensure that the data remains accessible and secure, while also minimizing the risk of data loss or misuse.

If your organization is going to engage in a cloud migration process both orphan data and leaver data needs to be carefully considered so that the right migration strategy is executed. For most large organization it's unlikely that this type of data can simply be left behind - it must be migrated and managed in some way.

Cloud Migration Process

Migrating data and applications to the cloud requires a set of tools that help avoid common missteps. Many legacy applications in an organization’s environment are not optimized for the cloud. They must be prepared for the transition with tools designed specifically for cloud migration. Currently, you can choose from a multitude of tools in the market, giving you plenty of choices to handle specific aspects of migration. Cloudficient has a suite of products to assist with your data migration needs.

Cloud migration tools are crucial because they simplify, accelerate, and often automate the migration process with minimal interruption to your day-to-day operations. Automated tools are designed to remove the complications of migration. With the right guidance and configuration, they often add speed to the overall cloud migration process.

When investing in cloud migration tools, make sure to select ones which are compatible with your operating systems and platforms. It is also important to look for tools that provide monitoring, transaction tracking, and reporting. This will enable your project sponsors to capture critical data metrics and have insight on the overall data migration process.  In fact, at Cloudficient we always recommend that you do a proof of concept so that you’re trying a solution in your environment, with your users and your data.

What Are Cloud Migration Services?

Double exposure of businessman shows modern technology as conceptBusinesses preparing for a cloud migration have access to plenty of vendor services that offer a combination of tools, expertise, and varying levels of automation to streamline the cloud migration process. Invest in automated services that provide reporting and migration tracking which allow project sponsors to monitor progress and adjust as needed.

Secure cloud migration services that have been tested and employ best practices can accelerate the process, minimize risks associated with cloud migration, and help prevent downtime. This is another reason why Cloudficient insists on doing a proof of concept. Always validate that the solution fits your business needs and performs within your environment.

Migration services can provide organizations the necessary tooling, automation, and expertise to successfully execute a secure migration to the cloud. Depending on an organization’s requirements, services can be set to move entire workloads at one time or in batches.

Choosing the Right Cloud Provider

Choosing the right cloud provider is a critical decision for any business considering a move to the cloud. With a wide variety of cloud providers and offerings in the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is the best fit for your organization. One of the most important factors to consider is the type of cloud deployment model that suits your business needs. Public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment models each have their own unique characteristics, and it's important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Another critical factor to consider is the level of security and compliance provided by the cloud provider. It's important to ensure that the provider you choose meets your organization's security and compliance requirements, particularly if you're dealing with sensitive data. Factors to consider include data encryption, data backup and recovery, access control, and compliance certifications. By taking the time to evaluate and compare cloud providers, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals and needs.

Cloudficient has proven managed cloud migration services which work. Leveraging the only next generation, pure cloud migration technology, Cloudficient helps our clients with a tailored approach that ensures successful business outcomes.

  • Kickoff: Our first step is to conduct a series of workshops to analyze and review the project scope, goals, and desired business processes. We then map that analysis and design a tailored, automated solution, that aligns to the project goals.
  • Deploy & Test: We will then deploy the cloud tenant and install the necessary on-premise components. End to End tests will be performed to ensure the correct permissions, connectivity, and cloud migration workflow steps.
  • Pilot & Optimize: From there, we test the solution with a pilot group to ensure all steps are completed for each user in the correct sequence. The pilot stage findings are then reviewed, and the configuration optimized for maximum throughput.
  • Ramp Up & Execution: Moving into a production state, Cloudficient migration technology is continuously loaded with more and more users to maximize the overall performance. Cloudficient migration technology orchestrates and automates the entire workflow as a business process, end to end. This saves time and resources, putting the client’s business needs at the forefront and ensuring return on investment.
  • Wrap Up: After the cloud migration is finished, we will perform a final review to ensure we have met the project goals. The last step is to decommission the cloud tenant and assist in removing any legacy on-premise components.

Cloud Migration Plan

A successful cloud migration requires the planning and execution of a detailed strategy that sets migration goals, creates a timeline, identifies resources, anticipates challenges, and defines the project’s success. Cloudficient has a proven history in digital transformation. It is often necessary to consult an expert to help navigate the highs and lows of a data migration. There are many moving parts to a data migration. Invest in the correct tools and services to minimize end user impact and ensure a successful migration.


Migration plans take into account which data to move to the cloud, which needs to stay on-premise, and which new capabilities and applications to add once migrated. Your cloud migration strategy should cover specific use cases for the data which you have in scope.

This may include mission-critical enterprise applications, data backup and recovery, productivity and collaboration applications, or software development projects. Defining specific use cases upfront enables you to create a solid strategy and sets the foundation for a properly executed migration process. A migration to the cloud may have many moving parts and your strategy should do its best to identify a workflow for these areas. 

Cloud migration strategies typically cover risk assessments, resource allocation, and security, as well as the type of cloud—public or private—that will host each of the workloads being relocated. Migration strategies should outline the overall administration of the data transformation in a consistent and simplified manner. Automate and report where available.

Elements of the security plan should include whether to encrypt all or certain types of data, compliance with regulations pertaining to data in motion and at rest, and replication requirements. 

Make sure your cloud migration strategy also includes a communication component. Identify when and how communications should be sent. This will help with the end user experience and minimize impact to the business. The cloud migration plan should outline the success criteria and have a path to communicate milestones to project sponsors.

Once the migration strategy has been developed and approved, it’s time to proceed to the planning stages of migration. A cloud migration plan must take into account all the data to be transferred to the cloud and the sequence for migrating them. Cloudficient migration tools are built with a Workflow Orchestration engine which can help to automate the process.

Our suite of workflow steps tailors the migration process to ensure the data is processed per the requirements of the project. We have over a hundred automation steps which can be enabled as needed. The migration plan should include a small pilot to start a migration. This will allow for testing of the process and reviewing the outcome. This makes it possible to adjust if deemed necessary.

Cloud migration plans cover roadmaps, scheduling, project metrics, migration tools, and services. They include a communication plan for organization leaders, implementers, cloud vendors, and end users impacted by the change.

Here are a few key details of a cloud migration plan. A detailed migration strategy should include the following elements:

  • Identification of the Data being migrated
  • Migration priorities and sequence
  • Timetable
  • Definition of processes, resources, and roles
  • Performance Metrics
  • Project Sponsor/End-User communication

A good cloud migration strategy requires the use of cloud migration tools. The correct tools and expertise can make it easier to automate and streamline moving data from legacy on-prem resources to cloud infrastructure.

What Are The Challenges of a Cloud Migration? 

Cloud migrations can be a daunting task for organizations, as there are numerous challenges to consider. The most common challenge is the lack of resources and expertise required for a successful cloud migration. Many organizations find that their internal teams lack the knowledge and experience necessary to properly manage the process, resulting in a costly and time consuming endeavor.

Additionally, organizations must carefully consider the potential impacts that a cloud migration may have on their existing systems and data. Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, a cloud migration may require a significant amount of data migration, testing, and configuration, all of which can be difficult to manage.

Another common challenge of cloud migration is managing the security risks associated with the transition. As the data stored in the cloud is more accessible than on-premise systems, organizations must ensure that the security of their data is not compromised during the migration process.

This may require creating additional security protocols, such as two-factor authentication, and creating policies to ensure that sensitive data is not being shared with unauthorized personnel. Additionally, organizations must ensure that the cloud provider they select is compliant with industry standards and regulations, and that their data is protected while in transit.

One other challenge of a cloud migration is ensuring that all data is properly migrated and secured (including orphaned data and data associated with employees who have left the organization). This can be a time consuming and complex process, depending on the size and complexity of the data.

Additionally, there may be unexpected compatibility issues between existing systems and cloud services, which could cause further delays in the migration. It is also important to ensure that all users are properly trained on the new system and given access to the necessary resources to use the cloud services.

Finally, there may be costs associated with the migration, such as licensing fees and storage fees, which should be taken into consideration.

Ultimately most organizations are not experts in performing cloud migrations and therefore they work with experienced vendors to perform the migration and ensure the success of the project.

Best Practices for a Successful Cloud Migration

Migrating to the cloud doesn't need to be a daunting or complex process provided the project is planned properly. The following best practices will help ensure a smooth and successful transition for your organization to the cloud:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of your existing infrastructure and applications to determine what can and should be moved to the cloud, and identify any dependencies or issues. 
  • Identify a third-party vendor who is an expert in performing cloud migrations.
  • Establish a solid migration plan, including timelines, resource allocation, and contingency plans for any unforeseen issues that may arise.
  • Perform a proof of concept of the chosen solution.
  • Execute the planned migration, and ensure that appropriate progress reporting is implemented and business related timelines are observed.

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