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More organizations are moving their day to day operations to the cloud to save money and improve productivity. Maintaining physical hardware and networking on site can significantly raise capital expenditures for IT and network services, especially when it comes time for repairs and replacements.

Moving your data and applications to the cloud helps lighten the budget and promotes greater collaboration. It also has the added benefit of disaster risk management and supports continuity of business operations because the servers, data, and applications are not tied down to the home office should something happen.

The migration process can be a daunting one and costly if not done correctly or in a way that does not support business needs. Companies must take a holistic approach to understanding what applications and services they want to move and how a migration will affect licensing, services, and productive across the organization. Planning a migration involves several steps and options, collectively known as the “6Rs of Migration.”

The 6Rs of Migration

Formulating a migration strategy is an in-depth process, but the planning stage often identifies what is in the potential migration environment, what interdependencies are involved with migrating elements, what will migrate, and what will stay. Collectively known as the “6Rs of migration,” the migration process involves, Retiring, Retaining, Rehosting, Replatforming, Refactoring, and Re-architecting.


Identifying everything in your business environment that have the potential to migrate allows you to evaluate the value of the product, service, or application. Identify all the users of each migration element and see what’s being used and what is not. Determining what you can retire will also help save money on elements that should have been previously phased out of use.


Some elements of your environment may not migrate and are retained as-is. There are many reasons to maintain an in-house element, such as riding out the depreciation value or the cost of migration is too high, and your company can maintain more value using the application or service on the ground. Retaining some IT aspects on-premise is a popular chose for a hybrid cloud service.


Rehosting is a popular migration strategy also known as “lift and shift.” It is a quick solution for migrating to the cloud and moves applications, software, and data to cloud with little effort. Rehosting is popular for initial migrations because it involves moving existing physical and virtual servers into an IaaS solution. The IaaS model hosts the infrastructure that is typically found on sites, such as the servers, storage, and networking hardware and offers a virtualized environment through a hypervisor layer. Rehosting may lead companies to re-architecting in the future, once a cloud-based operation is in place.


Well-established organizations sometimes have a legacy system that is far too structured to move into IaaS cloud platforms. Instead of changing the core of the applications, the applications are emulated through a virtual machine so that legacy IT systems can become compatible with modern day cloud technologies. Replatforming, though sometimes costly, is a far better option for companies that cannot restructure the IT legacy systems at the time of cloud migration.


Repurchasing, when possible is an excellent and fast way to access cloud-based SaaS that is tailored to your business needs by the cloud provider. SaaS, or software as a service, takes your company’s existing data and applications and articulates them in a cloud-based product to help manage operations, such as human resources (HR), customer relationship management (CRM), or content management (CMS).

Refactor and Re-architect

Refactoring and re-architecting of applications and is usually driven by a business need to add features or for scalability. Refactoring/re-architecting often boosts agility, business continuity, and overall productivity and collaboration. However, this strategy tends to be the most expensive and is usually executed after an initial migration via one of the other approaches, like rehosting.

The technology landscape continues to change rapidly, and more companies will look to cloud-based technologies to achieve the goals and support healthy operations. Moving to the cloud has significant benefits over maintaining and replacing expensive and sometimes, outdated hardware and data centers. A cloud-based migration is an excellent solution, but companies must weigh the options and determine the best course.