Migrate or modernize first?

Figuring out whether you should migrate an on-premises application first ("rehost") or modernize first ("replatform") is a common question. The answer depends on your migration goals, but aligning your goals to an approach can be difficult. To help, we created a short assessment to help you find the right path.

We define each approach and outline their benefits. If the benefits described match your goals, then you've likely found the answer to your question.

Diagram that shows approaches to cloud migration and modernization.

Migrate (rehost)

Migrate your applications first using the rehosting approach ("lift-and-shift"). With rehosting, you move an existing application to the cloud as-is and modernize it later. Rehosting has four major benefits:

  • Immediate sustainability: The lift-and-shift approach is the fastest way to reduce your datacenter footprint.

  • Immediate cost savings: Using comparable cloud solutions will let you trade capital expense with operational expense. Pay-as-you-go and only pay for what you use.

  • IaaS solutions: IaaS virtual machines (VMs) provide immediate compatibility with existing on-premises applications. Migrate your workloads to Azure Virtual Machines and modernize while in the cloud. Some on-premises applications can move to an application platform with minimal effort. We recommend Azure App Service as a first option with IaaS solutions able to host all applications.

  • Immediate cloud-readiness test: Test your migration to ensure your organization has the people and processes in place to adopt the cloud. Migrating a minimum viable product is a great approach to test the cloud-readiness of your organization.

Modernize (replatform)

Modernize your application by using the replatform strategy first. In this approach, you change parts of an application during the migration process. Although it takes a little more work to migrate to the cloud, your applications have better cost and performance efficiency. Modernizing before migration has four benefits:

  • Faster time to market: Use platform as a service (PaaS) technologies to speed up deployment.

  • Increased application innovation: PaaS allows developers to focus on business logic and critical data plays.

  • Enhanced productivity: Adopting PaaS narrows the skills required to push applications to market and increases the productivity of development, security, and operations.

  • Better development velocity: Switching to managed services will limit the items developers need to focus on and will increase their sprint velocity.

Next steps

Now you have a sense of what to do first. Start migrating or modernizing.