Cloud Data Migration: 7 Steps for a Seamless Transition

Cloud Data Migration: 7 Steps for a Seamless Transition

By: TEAM International | March 29, 2022 | 14 min

In 2024, cloud data migration services became an integral part of most comprehensive IT offerings and an essential component driving business development worldwide. The global market for cloud solutions is still constantly growing and is expected to reach an astonishing $1,554.94 billion in 2030. This trend is hardly surprising, considering the benefits companies gain:

  • Cost-efficient storage for digital assets
  • Improved accessibility from multiple locations
  • Easier implementation of “as-a-service” models
  • Better security due to the shared responsibility model
  • Fast and seamless disaster recover
  • Simplified synchronization and updating

As attractive as the list of advantages might look, there are some significant cloud data migration challenges, and how to overcome them is a considerable question. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Data gravity. Volumes of information grow along with a business, encouraging the introduction of new working principles and approaches like DataOps. Larger datasets attract smaller ones, forming massive structures that are nearly impossible to move or process.
  • The lack of management. Poor quality, security, and management standards often result in corrupted, duplicated, or irrelevant data that must be sorted before initiating any changes.
  • Wrong approach. Trying to move everything that you have to the cloud at once may lead to security breaches and information loss.
  • Skills shortage. Using cloud data migration tools and platforms requires expertise and skills that your employees might not yet have.
  • Business continuity. We are talking about a massive business shift, not just about moving information from one storage facility to another. Avoiding disruption of normal operations poses a challenge to many companies.

Luckily, you can avoid these and other related problems if you employ the right cloud data migration strategy.

Data cloud migration checklist: where should you start?

So, what is it all about? We are talking about the process of transferring your digital assets from on-premises to cloud infrastructure. Specific details may vary depending on the following factors:

  • Data gravity scope
  • Legacy technology in place
  • Infrastructure specifics
  • Financial issues, and others
  • And others

Although the transition, in general, can still be described with the “extract, transform, load” (ETL) or “extract, load, transform” (ELT) formulas, there are nuances that you should consider. Here are the top seven steps we recommend you take when planning cloud data migration initiatives.

Data cloud migration checklist

1. Audit and prepare everything

As information accumulates as fast as Flash runs these days, make sure you double-check your digital assets before moving them from on-premises platforms.

The must-have questions you might want to ask your cloud and data engineers:

  • What data do we have?
  • Where is it stored?
  • What exactly do we want to transfer?
  • In what formats is it stored?
  • Is it relevant or outdated?
  • In what formats do we want to have our data after the transition?

2. Define the project scope

Fundamental essentials to pay attention to if you want to avoid bottlenecks are:

  • Who are the key stakeholders?
  • How many people will be involved in the process?
  • What are the costs of cloud data migration?
  • How long will it take?
  • Are there any dependent datasets?

Initial estimates like this can be challenging, but they will prevent you from the typical problem of insufficient resourcing.

3. Perform landscape analysis

Proceed with identifying and analyzing all the systems involved in the process, including your core source and target platforms. By doing so, you will understand how the information is structured within these ecosystems, how they work, and how they can be moved and adapted to the new environment.

There are countless cloud data migration tools and platforms advanced enough to facilitate your transition smoothly. They automate the transfer of your assets and help you monitor the selected cloud solution’s efficiency and performance. You can choose third-party software, but leading vendors such as Microsoft or Amazon have them already in-built into their products. Moreover, such tools enable significant savings in operating costs.

4. Choose cloud providers

Any reputable IT vendor in 2024 can grant you access to amazing cloud computing possibilities and exclusive offerings from the biggest providers. However, this doesn’t mean you should pick the first provider you come across. There are many aspects to consider when choosing a provider, not least of all their reputation and position on the market. Aside from checking out case studies of successful cloud data migrations your vendor has, below is a list of requirements you should consider during the planning stage.

How to choose a cloud provider

Currently, among the best cloud solutions you can find on the market are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Oracle. You can use software such as Densify to compare providers and choose the most prudent and cost-effective option.

Although, if you have heavy budget constraints, it’d be wiser to opt for a cloud managed services provider that will meet your tech needs for much lower prices than if you sign a contract with the market giants mentioned above. The secret here is pretty simple: IT companies that have official partnerships with cloud vendors, have better pricing plans and broader talent capacity. In this case, you won’t have to worry about the costs of cloud data migration. This option can help you cover all your short- or long-term needs without purchasing extra service packages you won’t ever use.

5. Define KPIs

You need concrete performance indicators to evaluate the extent to which your cloud data migration process has been a success. In general, KPIs fall under costs, performance, security, user experience, stability, and other categories. Here are our 10 pro recommendations on what to track:

  • Dependency mapping costs
  • Storage expenses
  • Costs of app rearchitecting/data transformation
  • Network latency
  • Load and response time
  • Frequency of execution errors
  • Number of failed requests
  • Indicators of unusual system activity
  • Service availability and stability
  • CPU utilization rates, and many others

Coming up with a complete list of metrics from the very beginning can be difficult. But as your migration project continues, you will be able to identify the most useful KPIs for you.

6. Beat cloud data migration challenges with a disaster recovery plan

To mitigate potential risks efficiently, you need a proper disaster recovery plan (DRP) with actionable and clear guidelines. Typically, such plans contain:

  • Risk assessment
  • Prevention tips
  • Response and recovery measures
  • A list of personnel responsible for plan execution

Before proceeding with an end-to-end cloud data migration plan, we advise conducting a series of test runs to detect potential problems.

7. Migrate, monitor, adjust

Selecting and introducing a data cloud migration solution is only half the battle. After your assets have been moved successfully, it is a good idea to sunset your on-premises hardware to avoid wasting resources on maintaining outdated infrastructure. Then, assess the success of your initiative against the defined KPIs, optimize resource allocation, and perform a post-migration audit.


Striving for efficiency and security of daily operations, many companies today choose to profit from cloud computing. However, starting with an unbiased assessment and proper planning is vital to make your migration a success. For a start, you can use this checklist for best practices for cloud data migration. Later on, if you need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation regarding TEAM’s cloud data migration services. With 20+ years of experience, we can help you get the most out of popular solutions like Azure, AWS, GCP, or any other service you decide to work with.


1. Are there cases when it is better to choose on-premises over a cloud?

Yes, there are some cases when it’d be better to proceed with an on-premises option. Among the reasons are:

  • Poor internet connection in your region
  • Large data sets that are immovable due to their size and complexity
  • High long-term costs of available cloud solutions
  • Cloud data migration security considerations
  • The shortage of skills needed to move to the cloud

However, we believe that cloud data migration has already become an inevitable and crucial part of a successful business. Due to security and agility concerns, we still recommend that you start looking for opportunities to move your business processes and operations from on-premises platforms.

2. What should be moved to the cloud?

Moving everything at once is risky and impractical, even despite the extensive benefits of cloud data migration. It’s better to start with data categorization based on its influence and importance for your business and make migration decisions respectively. We advise moving lower-risk workloads and backups of sensitive and business-critical information first. Also, it’s good practice to prioritize disaster recovery resources along with dependent datasets and workloads.

3. What are the popular cloud migration tools and services?

Most companies prefer software from reputable providers such as AWS Migration Services, Azure Migrate, and Velostrata (now a part of Google Cloud). However, you can explore plenty of market options, including IBM Turbonomic, VMware, Corent’s SurPaas, Carbonite Migrate, and others. They all serve the same purpose—to help you transfer your information from on-premises to cloud platforms—the choice here mainly depends on the cost of each solution and its specific functionality.

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