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 migration, SQL 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.
Cloud migration tools, guidance, and services
Modernization tools and guidance
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.
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.
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:
- Migrate on-premises Windows Server apps to Azure Virtual Machines
- Migrate on-premises Linux apps to Azure Virtual Machines
- Migrate on-premises VMware infrastructure to Azure VMware Solution
- Migrate on-premises remote desktop services to Azure Virtual Desktop
- Migrate on-premises dev/test environments to Azure Virtual Machines
Modify or extend your apps to further scale and optimize for cloud architectures. Take advantage of Azure platform as a service capabilities such as built-in security, patching, high availability, and auto-scaling. Typical projects include:
- Modernize on-premises .NET apps by using Azure App Service and Azure SQL Managed Instance.
- Modernize on-premises .NET apps by using Azure App Service and Azure SQL Database.
- Modernize Linux web apps by using Azure App Service and Azure Database for MySQL.
- Modernize on-premises .NET or Java apps by containerizing them with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
- Modernize dev/test environments to Azure DevTest Labs.
Get started on your own
Determine how ready you are for your migration with SMART—the Strategic Migration Assessment and Readiness Tool.
Find the complete cloud adoption and migration documentation and methodology.
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.