12 Essential Steps for Successful Migration of Legacy System to Cloud

Editorial Team

migration to cloud

Legacy system is an old and inefficient data system for desktop as well as local networks. With great technological innovations, Cloud Computing has been lately introduced as an efficient and cost-effective way to handle your system data.

There might be various reasons that can be a good cause to migrate your old legacy system to cloud. Maybe you are migrating to a newer place or your organizational structure and objectives are getting reformulated. In these scenarios, it is important and easier to migrate your legacy system to cloud rather than going on with the same outdated trend.

Why use Cloud Computing?

You might be wondering why there is a need to migrate to a cloud. Well, there are several reasons for that. The most significant one is that Cloud Computing has helped businesses grow very efficiently. It is effective in managing the growth of the system as well as determine the advantages.

The brand new businesses and startups are being built on the cloud computing. However, many people who are already running their businesses for a long time now might face some complexities in migrating their ageing legacy software and application systems to cloud.

Fortunately, there is nothing to worry about. We have listed down and explained in detail, 12 easy steps to migrate your legacy system to cloud without any difficulties.

1. Analyze Business Goals and Objectives

The service consumer needs to make it clear why they are migrating legacy systems, its applications or some component to Cloud Computing. They must determine and analyze business goals and objectives, and how they can benefit from the cloud migration project.

In addition, data characteristics and requirements need to be analyzed before starting or resetting a business model so that there is no chance that the data gets manipulated by any other organization.

2. Define Migration Plan

During the migration of legacy systems to cloud, the migration project should have clear objectives, motivation, scope, and limitations.

Most commonly, the main motivation that lies behind the migration is getting a cost-effective system so that the costs are reduced. Also, migrating from old legacy systems to cloud adds new and unique capabilities which enhance the system functionality. This helps adapt the system with the emerging markets in a better and efficient way.

Migrating also adds to the productivity and safety of the system. Once these requirements and the impacts of migration upon organization are discussed, a comprehensive migration plan can be defined.

3. Understand the Legacy System

This is one of the most crucial steps as it undertakes all the aspects of the current system i.e. The legacy system. This involved a proper understanding of all the documentation and the information regarding implementation using various analyzing components.

Now, the system can either be a black box ( a system which takes input and gives output simply) or a white box (a system whose functioning is totally transparent and takes into account the nitty-gritty of the system). If it is a black box, you need to analyze inputs, outputs, and system responses.

On the other hand, if the system is a ‘white box’, there are several things to be understood. Reverse engineering can be implemented to understand this system, especially the functions and data of the system.

The final analysis of the legacy system will help clarify the types of functions used by the system. In this way, these functions can be aligned with the business objectives and strategy. That means the functionality can be mapped according to the exact business needs.

So basically, what this task does is to help identify the main functions that need to be included in the migrated system.

4. Choose Components to Be Migrated

This step helps you choose whether only a specific application layer, database, a function, a logarithm or the entire, full-fledged legacy system has to be migrated. Once you figure this out, the configuration of the components/whole system to be migrated is extracted.

5. Do an Audit

Once it is decided if the specific components or the whole system has to be migrated, do an audit.

Evaluate whether each application is cloud-friendly or not. In case the application is not cloud-friendly, it requires refactoring for a cloud environment.

Also, while doing a system audit, you may come across various functions, components or applications that do not hold any business value anymore. If this is the case, eliminate all the unwanted applications that do not benefit your business objectives.

6. Do A Mapping Analysis

Once the audit is done, find out the systems that can be combined and are dependent on one another. There will be several applications that cannot be moved without one another. This can be done by using a map. This will help you have minimal disruption to processes.

7. Evaluate Micro-Services Options

After you have done the mapping, found out the dependencies and topology, the next step is to evaluate and consider your micro-services options.

Following are the significant points to be kept in mind:

  • Whether you need testing plans, OS, database, and servers or not
  • What are your CPU, memory, storage and network requirements?
  • Find out whether your data will be securely transferred or not, and whether you can assess the data through a public or personal internet
  • The cost of migrating the system application by application to the cloud
  • The services and industrial benefits you are going to provide under the cloud system

As Cloud Computing is a third-party resource, it becomes necessary to evaluate and analyze the security factor. You need to identify the level of security required to keep your data secure and safe. After this, make sure you have all the required certifications from the security providers. The important aspects to be included can be an end to end encryption and proper authentication.

To determine the cost required to transfer the applications, considering the value and bandwidth of each application is really important. Then, you can have a proper idea of the full deployment value.

Moreover, if your business belongs to the financial or medical sector, make sure you choose the provider who is well acquainted and well experienced in the respective field.

Once you have a proper plan devised after choosing the applications or components, you need to know what security and other requirements you will receive from your cloud provider. Once that is done, you are now able to choose the most beneficial cloud service that goes well with the goals and objectives of your organization i.e. IaaS (Infrastructure as a service), PaaS (Platform as a service) or SaaS (Software as a service).

8. Ready your Application’s Cloud

While transferring the legacy system, some applications will merely need a lift and shift option while others require refactoring or re-architecting. As you have already developed a map, it helps to decide which application needs to go first or which requires more effort.

Some processes require minimum effort. For example, in order to move your corporate emails to a public cloud SaaS service be it Gmail or Office 365, no effort is required. If your applications are commercial software, they need only a lift and shift. However, there might be some customized application in your legacy system who need a renewal of the authorization from the license holders in order to include them into a cloud domain and enjoy complete benefits.

9. Backup

Before migrating the components or applications, make a backup of your current system as you might need to rollback during the migration. Backup helps to undo the changes.

10. Conducting A Legacy Migration Incrementally

Migration is a process of experimentation. When you run a trial of the legacy applications in a whole new ecosystem, you can avoid building on flawed code and plan by withholding one big release and working in iterations.

Incremental action is the most sensible and effective way to conduct a legacy migration. This will ensure that your business continuity and operations are minimally disrupted.

You will be able to test in a live environment if you gradually migrate the users. This will help you in finding smaller problems at smaller levels immediately rather than coming across a big problem right at the time of the launch.

Therefore, conducting a legacy migration incrementally and testing meanwhile is the best option. Even though it takes a little more time, it proves to be beneficial in the long run. This also helps with the verification and validation of the system after the migration takes place.

11. Use Code Bots

Last but not least, code bots can be used to make the process efficient. Once you have planned, mapped out, evaluated your micro-services options and have started the migration process incrementally, code bots can be used to write the application codes into the cloud system.

The advantage of code bots is that they write codes faster than humans. As such, they allow more iterations and offer more opportunities to experiment and experience. In order to enhance the migration process, code bots are an effective and cheap option.

As migrating legacy system to cloud is a daunting process, various developments in automatic programming and innovations in the code bots have helped to simplify the process. Most organizations are using automatic code writers to speed up the process.

So, here are the steps of legacy migration to the cloud. Once you have assessed and planned the process, doing it is not that much difficult.

12. Final Analysis Of The System

So, after going through all of these above-mentioned steps, your legacy system is now migrated to cloud computing with all your chosen components and applications.

What you need to do as the final step of migration is analyzing whether your cloud system is working according to your expectations or not. You can take several days for a proper analysis and then conclude with a report according to the performance.

If there is any complexity or problem faced with the functionality, you can contact your cloud service to get the issue resolved as soon as possible. This is to ensure that your business is not negatively impacted.

However, if there is no issue and you have observed good results, a healthy report can be generated. The report must include the growth you have observed over the last few days and the benefits you have received. Also include how much of your time and effort is saved as you do not have to invest a lot on maintaining your data now.


Transferring customized and in-house developed applications from a legacy system to a cloud is often a time-taking and challenging. It might impact your business performance a little during the transition period.

In order to reduce your complications and make the transfer process smoother, we organized these 12 steps for you. Once you follow and plan out your migration according to these steps, there is no chance that your legacy cloud migration will be unsuccessful.

While you are doing the migration process, make sure that you analyze and conduct frequent tests. This is important to avoid a bigger problem later on. Also, use a scientific approach and logical findings that actually benefit your business. Instead of leaving legacy cloud migration as an afterthought, make an effort to use model-driven engineering to make the process efficient.

Moreover, keep in mind the fact that it is not going to be easy at all and never underestimate the size of a problem if you encounter one. Key Performance Indicators can help maintain a check on the migration process without you having to invest much time on it.

All in all, legacy migration may seem a daunting process but nowadays, it has become a necessity. Surely you do not want to be left behind as businesses progress towards these methods. So, make sure you keep up by going through a legacy cloud migration. Using a comprehensive method such as these above-mentioned steps to migrate legacy system to cloud can really help.

Good luck!