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How to migrate and modernize

Learn how to move your apps, data, and infrastructure to Azure using a proven cloud migration and modernization approach. Plus, find cloud migration and modernization planning tools and guidance to help you accelerate your journey and move with confidence.

The stages of your migration and modernization journey

Cloud migration and modernization is a continuous process that involves significant organizational change management spanning people, process, and technology. Taking a holistic approach will not only help you navigate the journey successfully but also help ensure that your organization realizes new benefits—including efficiency, agility, and scale—once your workloads are running in the cloud.

Define your strategy, align stakeholders, and assess environments.

Define your strategy

Define and document your motivations

Define why you are migrating and modernizing. Document the business outcomes that you want to achieve and your motivations, such as exiting your datacenter, increasing cost saving, or designing for greater agility.

Involve and align key stakeholders

Facilitate a smoother, faster migration that meets organizational goals by enlisting the broad support. Create a center of excellence with a cross-functional team made up of IT, finance, and business owners.

Engage a cloud migration and modernization partner

Augment your cloud skillset and reduce risk as you migrate and modernize your workloads. Team up with a managed service provider that offers support through the entire process and beyond.

Plan for your move

Discover and assess your apps, databases, and infrastructure

Get insights into your dependencies using automated cloud migration tools. Inventory your infrastructure and assess your on-premises environments—get right-sizing guidance, workload-level cost estimates, and performance metrics.

Make a business case for migration and modernization

Evaluate the potential cost savings of migrating to Azure by calculating and comparing your total cost of ownership (TCO) for Azure with that of a comparable on-premises deployment.

Build a holistic plan

Account for workload priorities, timelines, milestones, resources, and funding. Then break up your overall plan into migration and modernization projects, each with a group of related workloads. Get buy-in from leadership and your new migration center of excellence.

Explore best practices and guidance for accelerating cloud migration and modernization

Prioritize datacenter discovery and readiness assessments to accelerate cloud migration

Financial considerations for cloud migration

Building landing zones for successful migration

Build landing zones—then migrate and modernize in waves.

Get ready for the move

Build cloud skills

Get your IT and app development teams up to speed on cloud technologies, migration tools, and operational processes. Upfront training investment helps you to scale your migration efforts more efficiently and set up your organization for success.

Set up landing zones for your workloads

Help avoid governance issues during and after migration by using landing zone best practices. Preconfigured landing zones include networking, identity, management, security, and governance elements that balance agility with organizational standards.

Review best practices for Azure readiness

Help ensure the proper configuration of your current and future landing zones by expanding and validating landing zone modifications with Azure readiness best practices.

Migrate your workloads

Make cloud migration easier with centralized tools

Discover, assess, and migrate your workloads with a comprehensive resource like Azure Migrate—the central hub for all of your migration automation needs. Find all of the tools and guidance you need to implement your move—and track your progress from a central dashboard.

Assess, migrate, optimize, and promote workloads iteratively

Use an iterative process of migrating one workload at a time or a small collection of workloads per release. Help ensure that workloads are ready to meet production demands by assessing, migrating, optimizing, and promoting them with each iteration.

Prepare to expand your scope with cloud migration best practices

Review the Azure cloud migration best practice checklist to take your migration beyond basic cloud-native tools. Get guidance on specific topics, including: VMware migrationSQL Server migration, and global market support.

Modernize your apps and data

Modernize iteratively at any stage

Modernization involves refactoring, rearchitecting, or rebuilding your apps and data. Use modernization to achieve benefits like boosting app innovation, increasing agility, and accelerating developer velocity. You may modernize at any stage—before, during, or after migrating your workloads.

Refactor apps and databases for speed and productivity

Refactor—or repackage—when you want to make minimal changes to apps so that they connect easily to Azure. For example, refactor relational databases directly into a cloud database service like Azure SQL Database.

Rearchitect apps and databases for cloud scalability and productivity

Rearchitect when you want to modify and extend app functionality and code to optimize for cloud scalability. For example, break down monolithic apps into groups of microservices that work together and scale easily.

Rebuild with cloud-native technologies to accelerate developer velocity

Rebuild when you need to recreate an app using Azure cloud solutions. Consider rebuilding if your existing apps have limited functionality or lifespan.


Easily govern, secure, and manage cloud environments.

Govern and secure your workloads

Get visibility into and more control over your security posture

Quickly detect and respond to threats across hybrid environments with intelligent threat protection from a solution like the Azure Security Center. Help secure your entire organization from threats with cloud-native SIEM solutions like Azure Sentinel.

Build and scale your apps and workloads quickly while maintaining control

Building on your landing zone work, establish and maintain the right mix of standard and custom policies to govern your cloud subscriptions and resources—in a way that stays compliant.

Manage and cost-optimize your cloud environments

Become familiar with the tools, offers, and guidance from your cloud provider

Monitor and adjust cloud spend and drive operational efficiencies with exclusive offers. For example, use reserved instance discounts or reuse your on-premises licenses in the cloud.

Simplify management

Manage your workloads across all environments with a solution like Azure Arc. Monitor workload performance with real-time insights and trends. Help ensure your workloads stay protected with cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions.


Back to Tabs


Move your existing apps to Azure in an optimized way—without code changes. As-is app migration to cloud infrastructure as a service helps you flip capital expenditures to operational expenditures and quickly gain agility and scale. Typical projects include:

Get started on your own

Readiness assessment

Determine how ready you are for your migration with SMART—the Strategic Migration Assessment and Readiness Tool.

Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

Find the complete cloud adoption and migration documentation and methodology.

Azure Migrate

Get robust migration services and tools to discover, assess, and migrate workloads to the cloud—all from a single hub.

Get expert help

Azure Migrate and Modernize and Azure Innovate

Simplify and accelerate your migration and modernization journey with Azure. Move all of your workloads confidently with support at every stage—from planning to implementation to deployment.

Frequently asked questions

  • Microsoft recommends using the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, a proven methodology for planning and implementing your cloud migration, as well as governing, managing, and optimizing your cloud and hybrid environments. It provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision makers need to successfully achieve their short- and long-term objectives.


  • Migrate a variety of workloads, including: Windows Server, SQL Server, Linux, .NET and PHP web apps, open source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, SAP, dev/test environments, and virtual desktop infrastructure. Azure has a variety of tools to help you migrate your specific workload—learn about different migration scenarios with these example walkthroughs.

  • Azure has a range of tools and resources to help you assess your workloads and your business readiness to migrate. Get an assessment of your specific needs, covering everything from business strategy, workload readiness, and training needs with the Strategic Migration Assessment and Readiness Tool (SMART). Visit Azure Migrate for a central hub of Azure migration tools for almost any use case.

  • You can modernize .NET or Java apps by running them in Azure App Service or Azure Spring Apps. You can also containerize your apps and run them in AKS without changing any code. You can modernize databases by using Azure managed databases like Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instances. Modernizing apps and databases helps you get the most out of Azure capabilities including built-in security, patching, high availability, and auto-scaling. Learn how to accelerate innovation though app and data modernization.