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How to migrate and modernise

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

The stages of your migration and modernisation journey

Cloud migration and modernisation is a continuous process that involves significant organisational 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 organisation realises 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 modernising. Document the business outcomes that you want to achieve and your motivations, such as exiting your datacentre, increasing cost saving or designing for greater agility.

Involve and align key stakeholders

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

Engage a cloud migration and modernisation partner

Augment your cloud skillset and reduce risk as you migrate and modernise 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 modernisation

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 modernisation 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 modernisation

Prioritise 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 modernise 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 organisation 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 organisational 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 centralised 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, optimise 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, optimising 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.

Modernise your apps and data

Modernise iteratively at any stage

Modernisation involves refactoring, rearchitecting or rebuilding your apps and data. Use modernisation to achieve benefits like boosting app innovation, increasing agility and accelerating developer velocity. You may modernise 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 optimise 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 organisation 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-optimise 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 licences 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.



Move your existing apps to Azure in an optimised 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 Migration and Modernisation Programme

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

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 optimising 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 modernise .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 modernise databases by using Azure managed databases like Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instances. Modernising 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 modernisation.
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