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Application Migration

What is Application Migration?

Application migration is the process of moving an application from one environment to another - for several reasons. The move might be motivated by a larger digital transformation project, where a business is looking to harness the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings of the cloud.


Organizations may also need to migrate an application to comply with new regulatory requirements or to improve the security or performance of the application. Application migration may also be part of a consolidation effort, where several applications are being moved into a unified environment.

What is an Application Migration Strategy?

An application migration strategy covers the plan and necessary steps to move applications to a new computing environment. Creating a strategy can help ensure that the business has the necessary elements in place for a successful migration, minimizing risks along the way.

What Does an Application Migration Strategy Include?

The parts of an application migration strategy should include:

  • Scope: Assess which applications you will include in the migration - what applications will not be included?
  • Goals: What is the business looking to get out of the migration? What are the improvements the organization wants to see post-migration with costs, security, performance, etc?
  • Timeline: When will the migration occur and what will the migration approach be? Will it be done in phases or all at once?
  • Risks: What needs to be considered during the migration process? Are there dependencies with the application? How can any potential risks or complications be lessened?
  • Testing: Before and after the application has been migrated, how will it be evaluated to confirm it is working as intended?
  • Support and Maintenance: How will the application be supported? When will routine maintenance be scheduled?

What Are the 5 Steps to Application Migration?

Application migration includes 5 basic steps: Planning, preparation, migration, deployment, and testing.


1. Planning the Migration

Planning involves evaluating the application in its current environment and forming the strategy for how migration will occur and which resources will be needed to do it right.

2. Preparing the Migration

Preparations can be made - changing anything about the applications that will help make the migration more successful.

3. Migrating

Migration can be performed manually or using a migration tool. Which method is appropriate will come down to the complexity of the application, whether it has native migration functionality, and the skill set of the people responsible for the migration.

4. Deployment

The application is then deployed into the new environment and made available for either a segment of users or an entire organization.

5. Testing

Testing should be happening all throughout the migration and deployment process, and should continue until the organization is confident they have unearthed all potential issues.

What Are the Key Best Practices for Application Migration?

Preparation, backup and rollback plans, security and compliance considerations, testing, optimization, and keeping the lines of communication open are key best practices for application migration. The better you prepare at the beginning, the smoother the migration process will go. Applications need to be understood inside out before they are migrated, including their architecture, dependencies, data, and functionalities.


It's also important to choose the right migration strategy for the job. The most lightweight strategy is "lift and shift," which moves the application to the new cloud environment without making any changes. However, there can be technical difficulties and additional complexities that arise with this approach, which is important to keep in mind when selecting a strategy. The most in-depth strategy is rewriting, where an application is recreated from scratch. In the middle, there is refactoring, where some code is rewritten to help maintain the application or improve things like performance or security.


Before beginning a migration, it's pertinent to develop backup and rollback plans in case unforeseen challenges or disruptions arise during that migration. Afterall, a proper contingency plan is necessary in safeguarding against potential data loss. Additionally, before migration, examine security and compliance needs and confirm the new cloud environment is able to meet these requirements.


As previously mentioned, testing should happen at several points during application migration, especially as parts of the application are being moved over, or as it is being made available to different departments. After the migration is performed, teams need to continuously document and analyze the application's performance and make necessary adjustments to optimize its performance in the new cloud environment.


Lastly, communication is also essential. Users should be informed about the migration process, the steps involved, what is being tested, and how they can provide feedback should they encounter an issue with the application after it has been migrated.

What Are the Risks of Application Migration?

One of the biggest risks that comes with application migration is having something break during the process. Data might get lost or performance might suffer if a functionality in the preexisting application cannot be faithfully replicated in the cloud environment. If there is a misconfiguration in the new environment, this can also lead to security vulnerabilities. Configuration issues can also mean that an application is not compliant post-migration.


Working with application migration experts who can create a thorough plan, comprehensive testing, and help come up with a backup plan if something doesn't work can all be part of your risk mitigation efforts.

How to Migrate Legacy Applications

The term "legacy application" is often used to describe an application that has become outdated or no longer relevant. While there may be support and workarounds an organization can do to keep it running for a while, at some point, it will need to be modernized and migrated, if not completely replaced. The steps for migrating a legacy application are the same as any other application, but because functionality may be obsolete, there may be more coding required to get the application to work in the new cloud environment.

What is Application Migration vs Modernization?

Application modernization is particularly concerned with making improvements to an application for matters such as performance or security. However, it may happen in an application's current environment. Many application migrations will also include modernization steps, but an application can also be moved without modernizing it.

What is an Example of Application Migration?

A company that has an on-premises data center, but is looking to move their systems to the cloud, will eventually need to migrate or replace all of their applications. This can be as easy as moving a desktop application to its cloud counterpart, or can be as difficult as moving a custom-coded practice management system to a cloud environment.

How TierPoint Can Help With Application Migration

The cloud can enhance and expand digital transformation projects in any organization, but moving to a new environment is not without its challenges. Application migration stumbling blocks should not keep you from innovating and growing your digital business. TierPoint's cloud services and solutions can help you transform, modernize, and get the most out of your applications in a new, more flexible environment. See how your business can benefit from a cloud enhanced digital transformation.

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