How to Prepare Your Application Portfolio for Cloud Migrations


At CloudFuel, we specialise in application modernisation projects where we guide businesses through the process of optimising their portfolios for the cloud. The migration process can be lengthy and complicated, so preparation is key. In this blog, we’ll outline the key steps involved in preparing your portfolio and organisation for their journey to the cloud. Let’s get started! 

Phase One: Migration Strategy  

Step 1: Determine your motivation  

To start your migration journey, you need a clear direction that aligns with your organisation’s unique needs. Defining objectives is a critical step in this process, and to do so effectively, it’s essential to understand the potential benefits of moving to the cloud. One way of assessing these benefits is by exploring the four pillars of cloud-native applications. 

  1. Methodology: DevOps fosters collaboration and cooperation between development teams and operations. By implementing governance practices, you can ensure that your software release process is clear and uniform. It lets you leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and development stacks to manage your resources.  
  2. Automation: Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) means implementing various tools for rapid and high-quality delivery of value to end users. This lets you fully automate all processes, including the build and deployment of your applications. Using CI/CD pipelines will significantly reduce time to market, eliminating human bottlenecks in the process.  
  3. Modularity: microservices let you break applications down into small yet efficient modules or services. This requires careful consideration of scalability, cost optimisation, and functional requirements, particularly when multiple development teams are involved. In other words: microservices may not always be the answer.  
  4. Infrastructure: you can use containerisation as the foundation of your portfolio, ensuring flexibility and scalability for module and service workloads. Containers offer lightweight, isolated, and scalable environments. They also allow for easy portability and reusability across different cloud providers.  

To ensure a comprehensive approach, we recommend coupling these four pillars with the five elements of Microsoft’s Azure Well-Architected Framework: reliability, cost optimisation, operational excellence, performance efficiency, and security. The pillars will highlight the goals for your organisation and the business benefits of cloud-native applications (what you want), while the Well-Architected Framework serves as a good reminder of the necessary elements in a cloud-native environment (what you need). 

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to find the perfect architecture. However, prioritising objectives and finding a tailored solution that meets your specific business needs is still key.   

Step 2: Application Portfolio    

Now that you understand the potential benefits of application migration, it’s time to delve into the next steps of your migration journey. The second step involves creating an application portfolio and conducting a high-level intake of your existing infrastructure and application architecture.    

To begin, gather a comprehensive inventory of all the applications within your organisation.  Document key details about each application, such as its purpose, dependencies, data flows, and interconnections with other systems. This portfolio will serve as a valuable resource throughout the migration process. 

Simultaneously, conduct a high-level intake of your infrastructure and application architecture. Evaluate the current state of your technology stack, including servers, databases, networking, and any other relevant components. This assessment will help you understand the existing infrastructure’s strengths, weaknesses, and compatibility with cloud environments.    

Step 3: Migration Strategy & Planning  

With the application portfolio in hand and an understanding of your infrastructure and architecture, you’re now ready for the crucial third step: defining a migration strategy for each application and creating a high-level plan to guide the migration process.  

Some applications may be well-suited for a lift-and-shift migration, while others may benefit from a more comprehensive modernisation approach. When determining the migration strategy, consider factors such as application dependencies, data migration, security considerations, and any regulatory or compliance requirements. Here is a list of the most common migration strategies: 

  • Ignore: applications that are not in scope of the migration or do not experience any impact from the migration at all, such as desktop applications or Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.  
  • Retire: decommissioned or end-of-life applications that do not need to be migrated, and do not require reconfiguration of connections to ensure continued operation.  
  • Repurchase (drop-and-shop): applications that will be replaced by a third-party alternative, often a SaaS application.  
  • Retain: applications that are currently difficult to migrate due to complications but may be migrated in the future.  
  • Reconfigure: reconfiguring connections or dependencies in third-party software, desktop applications or SaaS applications that are retained to ensure continued operation.  
  • Relocate: moving existing Azure resources, either within the same tenant or to a different one.  
  • Rehost (lift-and-shift): moving an application as-is from on-premises or another cloud-provider resources to Azure. These are often Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) applications or virtual machines (VMs).  
  • Replatform (lift-and-reshape): moving resources from on-premises or another cloud provider to Azure with minimal modifications, often to a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution.  
  • Refactor (re-architect): major changes to the application architecture are required to optimally move resources from on-premises or another cloud-provider to Azure.   

Once you have defined migration strategies for all applications, consolidate them into a high-level migration plan. This plan should outline the sequence of migrations, any dependencies between applications, and a rough timeline for each migration, serving as a guiding document. 

Phase 2: Modernisation Strategy 

Following the initial steps of the migration journey, it’s time to shift focus towards application modernisation. With these two steps, you can dive deeper into the application architecture, assess the required changes, and refine your migration and modernisation plan accordingly. This sets the stage for the following steps of your migration journey, where the actual modernisation work will take place to transform your applications into cloud-native, resilient, and scalable solutions. 

Step 4: Application Architecture 

To ensure a successful application migration and modernisation, you’ll need to conduct a detailed analysis of the application’s infrastructure and architecture, which includes components, dependencies, and integration points. For applications that require significant changes, a deeper dive may be necessary.  

Identify which areas need improvement or redesigning to take full advantage of modern cloud infrastructure. Consider factors such as scalability, resilience, agility, and cost optimisation. Determine if containerisation, microservices, or other modern architectural patterns would enhance the application’s performance, flexibility, and maintainability. 

Step 5: Refining and Enhancing 

Once you have a detailed understanding of the application’s infrastructure and architecture, it’s time to review the initial plan created in step 3. In your review, consider the insights gained from the detailed analysis conducted in step 4.  

Check if any adjustments, improvements, or optimisations are needed to ensure a successful migration and modernization process. Also revisit the sequencing of application migrations, considering any dependencies between applications or components. Fine-tune the timeline, resource allocation, and potential risks and mitigation strategies. 

Phase 3: Implement and Adapt the Strategy 

As you execute your plans and migrate applications to the cloud, it is crucial to remain vigilant and flexible. Closely monitor the progress of each application, and regularly communicate with the teams involved. Evaluate the progress and outcomes of each migration, gather insights and lessons learned, and be prepared to make necessary adjustments to the plan.  

Remember that the process doesn’t end here. It’s essential to continue monitoring and optimising your now modernised applications post-migration, ensuring they continue to meet the organisation’s evolving needs and deliver the expected benefits. 


Successfully migrating your application portfolio to the cloud requires careful planning, a well-defined strategy, and expert guidance. In this blog post, we covered the initial steps of envisioning and designing your migration. By following these steps and leveraging industry best practices, you can pave the way for a structured and successful migration to cloud-native applications.  

Ready to embark on your application migration and modernisation journey? Contact us today to learn how we can act as guides and trusted advisors. Let’s shape the future of your applications together!