Deep Dive Project: Migrating a Legacy Application to the Cloud

Migrating to the Cloud

Our client needed to improve their internal processes and is involved in migrating a decade-old legacy application from an on-premises environment to the cloud. The client, recognizing the limitations of their internal team and the need for cloud expertise, engaged our team to spearhead this transformation.


The project’s primary objective was seamlessly transitioning the client’s application to the cloud, eliminating the burden of managing hardware and infrastructure. This migration would offer several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Security: Leveraging cloud-based security measures would safeguard the application and customer data.
  • Accessibility: The application would be accessible from any device with an internet connection, eliminating the need for desktop-based access.
  • Subscription-Based Model: The cloud-based solution would enable a subscription-based pricing model, potentially increasing sales for the client.
  • Reduced Costs: Migrating to the cloud could significantly reduce deployment and configuration expenses for the client’s end-users.


To tackle this complex project, we assembled a team of experts with diverse skills:

  • Project Manager (PM): Overseeing project execution and ensuring timely delivery.
  • Business Analyst (BA): Analyzing the current application’s functionalities and document business requirements for the cloud-based solution.
  • Cloud Architect (CA): Designing and implementing the cloud infrastructure, ensuring scalability and performance.
  • Backend Developer (BD): Developing and maintaining the application’s server-side components.

Communication and Collaboration Partnership

Establishing open communication channels was paramount to the project’s success. We initiated regular meetings with the client’s team to:

  • Establish rapport and understanding: Building a solid relationship with the client’s team was crucial for effective collaboration.
  • Align on communication processes: Defining clear communication protocols ensured seamless information exchange between our teams.
  • Gather initial information: It was essential to thoroughly understand the existing application, its functionalities, and the client’s expectations for the cloud-based solution.

Initial Assessment and Risk Mitigation

  1. Code Analysis: Upon receiving the source code, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the legacy application:
  • Evaluating code quality: Assessing the code’s structure, maintainability, and adherence to best practices.
  • Identifying potential risks: Pinpointing areas of the code that could pose challenges during the migration process.
  1. Risk Management: Based on the code analysis, we implemented risk mitigation strategies:
  • Minimal code changes: To minimize disruption, we opted for minimal code modifications, focusing on adapting the application to interact with cloud APIs.
  • Contingency planning: We developed contingency plans for identified risks to ensure smooth navigation in case of unforeseen challenges.

Intermediate Meetings and Detailed Discussions

Regular intermediate meetings were held to:

  • Discuss project progress: Keeping the client informed and addressing concerns.
  • Resolve technical issues: Collaboratively addressing technical challenges during the development process.
  • Gather feedback and refine plans: Incorporating the client’s feedback to refine the project plan and ensure alignment with their expectations.

Final Plan and Cost Estimation

After thorough assessments and discussions, we presented the final project plan to the client, including:

  • Comprehensive task list: A detailed breakdown of all tasks involved in the migration process.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation strategies: A clear outline of identified risks and corresponding mitigation plans.
  • Cost estimation: A transparent and well-structured cost breakdown for the entire project.

Project Initiation and Team Expansion

With the final plan approved, we initiated the project, gradually expanding our team to accommodate the growing workload:

  • Initial Team: Project Manager, Business Analyst, Lead Developer, Backend Developer, Test Lead, Cloud Architect, and DevOps Engineer.
  • Additional Resources: 2 Backend Developers, 2 Frontend Developers, 2 Testers, and 2 UI/UX Designers.

Transparency and Reporting

To maintain transparency and foster trust with the client, we implemented a robust reporting mechanism:

  • Customized Reporting: We tailored reports based on the client’s requests, providing insights into project progress, resource utilization, and potential risks.
  • Every-Week Reporting Cycle: We generated comprehensive reports every two weeks, informing the client about project developments.

Business Analysis and Documentation

The client needed more comprehensive documentation covering all application functionalities and scenarios. To address this gap:

  • Business Analyst: Our Business Analyst meticulously documented the current application’s functionalities, business rules, and user flows.
  • Gap Analysis: We identified areas lacking documentation and created detailed documentation to fill those gaps.

Cloud Infrastructure Deployment and Setup

Leveraging our cloud expertise, we:

  • Infrastructure Selection: We chose the most suitable cloud platform (e.g., Microsoft Azure) based on the application’s requirements and the client’s preferences.
  • Resource Provisioning: We efficiently provisioned cloud resources, including virtual machines, storage, and databases.
  • Deployment Pipeline Creation: We established automated deployment pipelines to streamline the application deployment process.

Project Management and Team Communication

The Project Manager played a vital role in:

  • Developing a Team Guideline: Establishing clear guidelines for team interaction and tool usage within our team.
  • Communication Strategy: Defining a communication strategy ensures efficient collaboration between our and client teams.

Quality Assurance (QA) Activities

Our QA team initiated the following activities:

  • Test Scope Definition: Defining the scope of testing based on the current application’s functionalities.
  • Test Case Creation: Developing comprehensive test cases to test the migrated application in the cloud environment thoroughly.
  • Test Automation: Implementing automated testing wherever possible to ensure efficiency and maintainability.

Addressing Initial Development Challenges

The initial stages of development presented challenges due to:

  • Differing Methodologies: Our agile development approach contrasted with the client’s waterfall methodology for their on-premises solution.
  • Context Switching for Client Developers: Client developers were occasionally pulled away to address issues in the on-premises version, potentially impacting progress.

However, we successfully mitigated these challenges by:

  • Risk-Based Backlog Management: Prioritizing tasks based on identified risks, minimizing the impact of context switching on critical tasks.
  • Clear Communication and Collaboration: Maintaining open communication with the client’s team to ensure alignment and address concerns.

Establishing Code Acceptance Process

A robust code acceptance process was established to:

  • Quality Control: Ensure code quality and adherence to coding standards.
  • Seamless Integration: Facilitate smooth integration of code developed by both teams.

Two-Week Sprints and Milestone Demos

The project adopted a hybrid approach, combining elements of waterfall and agile methodologies:

  • Two-Week Sprints: Development work was divided into manageable two-week sprints, fostering accountability and focus.
  • Weekly Demos: Weekly demonstrations showcased progress to the client, fostering transparency and keeping them informed.

Phase 1: Regression Testing Completion

By the end of Phase 1, the following activities were completed:

  • Regression Testing: Regression testing was conducted to ensure the migrated application functioned as expected.
  • Documentation Updates: Technical documentation was updated to reflect the cloud-based application.
  • Milestone Demo Preparation: We prepared for the Phase 1 milestone demo, showcasing the migrated application and its functionalities to the client’s stakeholders.

Phase 2: Milestone Demo

To ensure a successful Phase 1 demo, we:

  • Client Training: Provided comprehensive training to the client’s team, familiarizing them with the changes in the cloud-based application.
  • Technical Support: Offered on-call technical support during the demo to address technical issues.
  • Demo Execution: The demo was delivered successfully, showcasing the migrated application’s functionalities and benefits.

Feature Development

With Phase 1 complete, the project transitioned to Phase 2, focusing on:

  • New Feature Development: Development of new functionalities to enhance the application’s value proposition.
  • Data-Driven Design: The client’s sales and support teams provided valuable insights that informed the design of new features.

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Design Process

Our UI/UX designers followed a meticulous design process:

  1. Collaborative Brainstorming: Discussing challenges and opportunities with the client to determine design priorities.
  2. Wireframe Creation: Developing low-fidelity wireframes to visualize initial design concepts.
  3. Client Feedback and Refinement: Incorporating client feedback to refine the wireframes and ensure they meet their needs.
  4. High-Fidelity Mockups: Creating high-fidelity mockups that are the final animated visual design of the user interface.
  5. Final Approval and Development Handoff: Obtaining client approval on the final design and transitioning it to the development team.

Leveraging Existing Code for Efficiency

During the new feature development stage, the team explored opportunities to reuse existing code where feasible. This approach helped to:

  • Minimize Development Time: Repurposing existing code helped to expedite the development process.
  • Maintain Code Consistency: Reusing existing code ensured consistency in the codebase.*

Phase 2: Completion and Milestone Demo

  • Regression Testing: Regression testing was conducted to ensure the application with new features functioned correctly in the cloud environment.
  • Milestone Demo Preparation: We prepared for the Phase 2 milestone demo, showcasing the application’s new functionalities to the client.

Demo Execution: The Phase 2 demo was delivered successfully, demonstrating the value proposition of the new features.

Phase 3: Preparing for Release

  • Bug Fixing and Regression Testing: Address any remaining bugs and conduct thorough regression testing to guarantee stability.
  • Performance Testing: Conducting performance testing to ensure the application can handle anticipated user loads.

Production Environment Deployment: Deploying the application to a dedicated production environment in the cloud.

Application Release and Support

Following successful testing and deployment, the application was released to production:

  • Client Training: The team received comprehensive training on the released application and its functionalities.
  • Support and Monitoring: We provided ongoing support to address any issues and monitor the application’s performance in the cloud.

Friends & Family (F&F) Launch: A controlled launch with limited users (e.g., loyal customers or employees) allowed for real-world testing and feedback before a full public launch.

Data Analysis and Future Enhancements

Moving forward:

  • Data Collection and Analysis: User data and application metrics were collected and analyzed to identify areas for further improvement.
  • Subscription Model Implementation: The client transitioned to a subscription-based pricing model, potentially increasing revenue.
  • Infrastructure Optimization: Infrastructure costs were analyzed and optimized to ensure cost-efficiency in the cloud environment (consider referring to resources like The Frugal Architect for detailed information).


Thanks to the well-defined deep dive phase of the project, our team successfully migrated a legacy application to the cloud, delivering numerous benefits to the client, including:

  • Enhanced Scalability and Security: The cloud-based infrastructure offers greater scalability and robust security measures.
  • Improved Accessibility: The application is now accessible from any device with an internet connection.
  • Subscription Model Potential: The client can leverage a subscription-based pricing model for increased revenue.
  • Reduced Costs: Migrating to the cloud potentially reduced deployment and configuration expenses for the client’s end-users.


  • Enhanced Security and Scalability: The cloud environment offers robust security measures to safeguard the application and customer data. Additionally, cloud infrastructure provides greater scalability to accommodate future growth or fluctuating user demands.
  • Improved Accessibility: The migrated application can now be accessed from any device with an internet connection, eliminating the need for desktop-based access. This fosters increased flexibility and mobility for the client’s users.
  • Potential for a Subscription-Based Model: The cloud-based solution opens the door for a subscription-based pricing model. This can increase the client’s revenue stream by transitioning from a one-time purchase to a recurring revenue model.
  • Reduced Costs: Migrating to the cloud can significantly reduce deployment and configuration expenses for the client’s end-users. The client can save on maintenance, upgrades, and energy consumption costs by eliminating the need to manage on-premises hardware and infrastructure.
  • Streamlined Development and Maintenance: The case study mentions leveraging existing code and utilizing automated deployment pipelines. This can streamline the development and maintenance processes, leading to faster development cycles and potentially lower ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Improved Performance: While not explicitly mentioned in the case study, migrating to the cloud can often lead to improved application performance due to access to high-performance cloud resources.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Cloud providers typically offer robust disaster recovery solutions. This can give the client peace of mind, knowing their application can be quickly recovered in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Potential for Innovation: The cloud environment opens doors to explore new technologies and integrations that may not have been feasible with an on-premises solution. This can foster innovation and unlock new functionalities for the client’s application.
  • By successfully migrating their legacy application to the cloud, the client gained a solution that is more secure, scalable, accessible, and potentially more cost-effective. This transformation paves the way for future growth and innovation for the client’s business.

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