How to migrate

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

The stages of your migration journey

Cloud migration 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 ensure that your organization realizes new benefits—including efficiency, agility, and scale—once your workloads are running in the cloud.

Define your strategy

Decide on a migration or modernization approach.

Define your approach based on three considerations: migration triggers, business goals, and workload priorities. Migrate if you have time-sensitive triggers. Modernize for targeted and business-critical workloads that will see continued investment.

Involve key stakeholders to create a cloud migration center of excellence.

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

Engage a cloud migration partner.

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

Plan your migration

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.

Calculate total cost of ownership (TCO) to make a business case for migration.

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

Build a holistic migration plan.

Account for workload priorities, timelines, milestones, resources, and funding. Then break up your overall plan into migration 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 migration


Prioritize datacenter discovery and readiness assessments to accelerate cloud migration


Financial considerations for cloud migration


Building landing zones for successful migration

Ready your organization for migration

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 a landing zone for your workloads.

Pre-configured landing zones include networking, identity, management, security, and governance elements that balance agility with organizational standards. By using landing zone best practices, you avoid governance issues during and after migration.

Adopt the cloud

Migrate and modernize in waves with an iterative approach.

Pick a manageable-sized cohort of workloads for each wave and perform the move using automated tools. Select the target cloud services to move your workloads into—like Azure IaaS for infrastructure or Azure App Service for web apps.


The cloud migration journey continues beyond the point when you complete workload migration—IT and app development teams now need to actively manage, secure, and govern cloud environments on an ongoing basis. The time following migration is also when your organization might look at additional modernization opportunities.

Secure and manage your workloads

Get full visibility into and 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. Secure your entire organization from threats with cloud-native SIEM solutions like Azure Sentinel.

Use a single control plane to simplify management.

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

Govern and cost-optimize your cloud environments

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.

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

Monitor and adjust cloud spends and drive operational efficiencies with exclusive offers. Examples include reserved instance discounts or the ability to reuse your on-premises licenses in the cloud.



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


Modify or extend your app to further scale and optimize for cloud architectures. Take advantage of platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities such as built-in security, patching, high availability, and auto-scaling. Typical projects include:

Get started on your own

Readiness assessment

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

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 with migration

Azure Migration Program

Get proactive guidance and the right mix of expert help at every stage of your migration journey to ensure you can move all your workloads with confidence.

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.