The Five Strategies for a Successful Application Migration

How important are cloud services?

According to Gartner, more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022. Cloud infrastructure has numerous advantages compared to traditional on-premise systems. In order to remain competitive in this shifting market, the question is no longer if you should migrate to the cloud, but how.

Gartner has identified five common strategies for a successful cloud migration, dubbed the 5 Rs:

  1. Rehost

  2. Refactor

  3. Revise

  4. Rebuild

  5. Replace

Each strategy has its own advantages and drawbacks, and deciding which is right for you is an important decision.


Rehosting is also known as “lift and shift”. Among the five strategies, rehosting can be one of the fastest. It has the possibility of providing immediate benefits and can save you up to 30% of your operational costs before optimizing your apps for cloud deployment. Numerous tools, both automatic and manual, exist to facilitate this strategy.

While this method can provide significant cost savings allowing you to see immediate results, some applications can be especially difficult to lift and shift, and certain types of applications might not be scalable.


Refactoring is also known as “re-architecting”. This approach requires a complete reengineering of the logic of the application for migration in order to fully leverage cloud-native services and features. This may take place within the application’s code, its architecture, or both.

Some of the disadvantages of this strategy include framework lock-in and possibly missing capabilities. The two major disadvantages however are that, of the five strategies, this strategy can be one of the most expensive and time-consuming.

However, at the end of this process, you will be rewarded with a highly scalable and robust application which will help to reduce your time to market in the future.


Revising is also known as “re-platforming” and has also been called “lift, tinker and shift”. This strategy involves two steps. The first step involves making changes to the application and exchanging some of its components with cloud services. For example, you may elect to use a new cloud-based database system or a change from a proprietary to open-source webserver. The second step is to then rehost or refactor the application.

Although this strategy will cost more than lift and shift and require in-depth testing, it can help you to more fully leverage cloud services while reducing operational overhead.


Rebuilding is perhaps the most involved of the five strategies. As its name suggests, this strategy requires discarding the application’s current code and completely rebuilding the application to run on cloud platforms.

Since the application is being completely redesigned, this gives you the opportunity to completely modernize and customize the application, as well as the ability to fully leverage the latest cloud-based solutions. On the other hand, it will also force consumers to make the switch to your new application, so you will need to redefine your SLAs.


Replacement, or “repurchasing”, refers to the strategy of simply discarding your current application and replacing it with a commercially available option. It will limit customization and might lock you in to a particular vendor, but it is very cost-effective with very immediate results.

Which option should you choose?

Choosing which strategy is right for your business is not an easy decision. In order to help you choose the best strategy, you may wish to consult with an application migration consulting firm such as Trianz.

Trianz is a leading expert in cloud migration solutions, with decades of experience providing clients with seamless cloud application migration services. Our top-down approach to infrastructure discovery will ensure full compatibility and availability of your services in the cloud right from the start.

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