The three phases of cloud migration

Christian Krause05/25/2020

Every journey begins with the first step. Strategic cloud migration is also a journey of sorts. It’s not something you want to cram in company-wide on one set date. Quite the contrary. Once the strategic framework parameters are set and the IT workloads to be migrated are defined and prioritized (for instance, in conjunction with a COSMO CONSULT Workshop based on the cloud adoption framework), you can start with an initial cloud migration pilot project, followed by a series of follow-up projects.

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The cloud adoption framework provides the conceptual technical "landing zone" into which all IT workloads will be migrated. It also comes into play frequently during later phases of cloud migration, serving as a life cycle guideline, providing all the right questions and answers for pending decisions, e.g. with regard to governance and compliance.

Phases of migration projects

Cloud migration projects come in a wide range of types and sizes, depending on the strategic significance, scope, complexity and technology of the infrastructures and applications being migrated. That said, all projects typically follow the same basic three-phase model:

  • Assessment
  • Migration
  • Optimization

The first migration project should be kept reasonably small by carefully selecting a workload that is only “moderately” important to business operations. In other words, don’t just put the cafeteria schedule online (too simple), but don’t jump straight to migrating a value-creating core process either. The idea is to start with small steps, learn as you go, and gradually apply what you learn to bigger and bigger tasks.


In the assessment phase, we use a combination of verbal surveys and technical analysis tools to determine the current environment with which you are starting out. This assessment is not limited to your IT systems and software versions. Rather, we use this as an opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of our customer's business operations. This phase usually involves collaborating with project managers, IT specialists, end users and other people with valuable insight into the business objective, preconditions, other requirements and framework conditions of the IT workloads to be migrated. In this phase, as an alternative to 1:1 rehost migration to the cloud, we can also work with you to identify and consider potential technical and organizational changes (refactor, rearchitect, rebuild, replace).

One of the main outcomes of this kind of assessment is a detailed understanding of the cost situation - existing application operation costs, a forecast of the post-migration cloud operating costs and the costs of the migration itself. These costs, along with the other advantages of migration, will be a decisive factor for the migration project. Typically, after the assessment, a decision is made to either go ahead with the application migration or check to see if a different workload might have better potential.


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Once the go-ahead is given for a migration, our technical specialists either map and migrate the infrastructure of a defined IT workload in Azure or help you update applications by setting up and commissioning native cloud services. Based on the “landing zone” concept defined in the cloud adoption framework workshop, we lay the groundwork for expanding the company network to include components hosted in Azure, and we set up the key identity and security policies and artifacts (e.g. Azure Active Directory, Azure AD Connect, Security Advisor) as planned. Concurrently with the migration itself, we usually implement user acceptance tests and monitor the qualitative and quantitative quality characteristics of the new environment defined in the failback plan.


In the optimization and administration phase, our Cloud- & IT-Service Team can optionally take on the ongoing administrative and monitoring tasks of your newly migrated IT workloads and implement preventive maintenance and ongoing optimization of the environment. Optimization can impact costs, as well as technical and security-related parameters. And getting an idea of where to start is a snap. Out of the box, cloud-based infrastructures and applications provide a ton of telemetry data that can be easily analyzed for optimization potential.


The path to competitive advantages for every business is through the cloud. Cloud migration, typically implemented in three phases, renders successful IT structures and applications more efficient, affordable and secure, at the same time connecting people, data and processes in new ways. Business and IT become more harmonized and, together, optimize the value-adding processes to create new value for your customers.

Want to know how your business can safely take advantage of the cloud?

Sign up now for our free webinar “Why now is the best time to take your IT infrastructure to the Microsoft Cloud!”, Thursday, 25th June at 11:00 am. We will tell you what a professional migration concept should look like and which processes to transfer to the cloud first. Don't have time? Our white paper “The Key to a successful Cloud Migration” is a good place to start. Here you will find out, when it is worth starting, how to do it cost-effectively and much more.

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Christian Krause
Operations Manager, Cloud & IT Services