Azure Cloud Adoption Framework Overview

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, also referred as CAF, is a collection of documentation, technical guidance, best practices, and tools that provide guidance for cloud adoption.

Cloud Adoption Framework brings together people, process and technology to align business strategy, achieve business goals with actionable, efficient and comprehensive guidance, and deliver fast results with control and stability.

The cloud journey starts with a vision by asking the following questions:

  • Why are we adopting the cloud?
  • What results do we expect to see from adopting the cloud?
  • How will the business measure success?

As your organization evolves, Cloud Adoption Framework adopts with your needs. Each module in the above diagram is an iterative phase that advances your business through the complete lifecycle of cloud adoption.

Below are common blockers that organizations would have to figure out.


As I mentioned above, the first question we need to ask is, Why are we adopting the cloud and what are the motivations behind it?


Here are some motivations to move to the cloud.

  • Data center exit
  • Merger, acquisition
  • Reduce in capital expenses
  • End of support for mission critical technologies
  • Scale to meet market and geographic demands
  • Transform product and services
  • Disrupt the market with new products and services

Business outcomes

Engage stakeholders to document specific business outcomes.

Business justification

Develop business justification that support the motivation for cloud adoption.

Identify first project

Leverage business and technical criteria to choose the first project.


Having a solid cloud adoption plan is very important for cloud adoption success as it will help guide technical efforts in alignment with the business strategy.

Rationalize digital estate

Rationalize your digital estate to determine the best cloud adoption approach.

Skills readiness plan

Identify the skills gap for the staff and plan a learning path.

Initial organization alignment

Align governance and cloud adoption to mitigate risks.

Cloud adoption plan

Create an actionable cloud adoption plan that aligns to your business strategy.


The ‘Ready’ module establishes a cloud foundation or adoption target that can provide hosting for any adoption efforts.

Azure setup guide

Azure setup guidance on the tools and approaches you need to create a landing zone

First landing zone

Choose the most appropriate landing zone option to establish a code-based starting point for your environment.

Expand the blueprint

Meet the platform considerations of your cloud adoption plan by expanding your landing zone.

Best practices

Leverage best practices to establish and prepare Azure environment.
Azure Fundamentals
Identity and access control
Cost management


Why is the company adopting the cloud?

Organizations choose to move to the cloud for various reasons but below are the two main motivations:

1. Migration

Move on-premises workload to the cloud by following the Assess, Migrate Optimize and Secure and Manage process.

5Rs of Rationalization

A rehost effort move the current workload to Azure with minimal architectural change. Also known as lift and shift. For example, migrating the on-premises SQL Server workload to Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution.

Some reasons to rehost is to reduce capital expenditure (CapEX) since Azure is considered operating expense (OPEX), and to achieve rapid rate of investment in the cloud.


Refactoring application code to make it fit for Platform as a service (PaaS), which is designed to support the complete web application life cycle. For example, migrating the on-premises SQL Server workload to Azure SQL.

Some of the benefits of refactor include faster and shorter updates, code probability and greater cloud efficiency.


Applications that are not compatible with cloud providers as they were build for on-premises environment, and would need to be rearchitected to be cloud-compatible.

By rearchitecting the applications, the benefit could be cost and operational efficiencies.


In this mode, the application is started from scratch and a new code base is created to align with a cloud native approach.

The benefits include accelerated innovation by building faster applications and reducing operational cost.


In this scenario, the software as a service (SaaS) model can provide all the necessary functionality for the application. Migrating the on-premises email environment to the cloud such as Microsoft 365 is a great example of SaaS.

This helps standardize around industry best practice and accelerate adoption.

2. Innovate

In this model, organizations can take advantage of cloud-native technologies and modernize solutions.


Why is governance important? Because it sets a balance between transformation and risk management.

Here are the questions that an organization should ask when thinking about governance:

  • Who is responsible for monitoring, support, and operations?
  • Which services should be migrated to Azure?
  • What roles & responsibilities must be defined?
  • What security measures should I consider?
  • What are the core processes needed for service management?
  • How do I ensure a balance between innovation, cost and agility?
  • What organizational changes are needed?
  • Azure governance building blocks?

Define corporate policy

Business risks

Document business risk, and business’ tolerance for risk .

Policy and compliance

Convert risk decision into policy statements to establish cloud adoption boundaries


Establish processes to monitor violations and adherence to corporate policies.

Five discipline of cloud governance

Cost Management

Evaluate & monitor costs, limit IT spend, scale to meet need, create cost accountability.

Security Baseline

Ensure compliance with IT security requirements by applying a security baseline to all adoption efforts.

Resource consistency

Ensure consistency in resource configuration. Enforce practices for on-boarding, recovery, and discoverability

Identity baseline

Ensure the baseline for identity and access are enforced by consistently applying role definitions and assignments

Deployment acceleration

Accelerate deployment through centralization, consistency, and standardization across deployment templates


The manage module helps organizations develop business and technical approaches for providing cloud management for the ongoing operations.

Establish a management baseline

Define the criticality classifications, cloud management tools, and processes required to deliver your minimum commitment to operations management.

Define business commitments

Document supported workloads to establish operational commitments with the business and agree on cloud management investments for each workload.

Expand the management baseline

Based on business commitments and operations decisions, make use of the included best practices to implement the required cloud management tooling.

Ensure advanced operations and design principles

Platforms or workloads that require a higher level of business commitment might require a deeper architecture review to deliver on resiliency and reliability commitments.

This wraps up the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework Overview.

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