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Migrating to Pega Cloud: Overview of Migration and Modernization

Updated on December 18, 2023


This content applies to On-premises, Client-managed cloud and Pega Cloud environments


Every migration is different; however, they all typically follow the same high-level process:  

Phase 1: Assessment and Planning:  Assess your current deployment including all applications, data, and infrastructure and plan the migration project.
Phase 2: Application Migration, Update, and Remediation:  Migrate your applications to Pega Cloud and update to the latest Pega version for each application address items uncovered during the assessment.
Phase 3: Validating Applications on Pega Cloud:  Validate the functionality and operation of your applications on Pega Cloud
Phase 4: Data Migration and Production Go Live:  Work with the Pega Cloud team to migrate your data to Pega Cloud, and Go-Live
Phase 5: Continuous Improvement and Evolution:  Modernize your applications with the new features and functions available on the latest release.

phases of modernization


This document provides an overview of each of these phases.  For a more detailed description of the process, see Migrating to Pega Cloud.

Who does the migration?

Migrating your Pega solution to Pega Cloud involves a combined team including these roles:

  •     System administrator
  •     Application developer
  •     Network engineer
  •     Database administrator
  •     Project manager/program director
  •     Product owner/business owner
  •     Application architect
  •     Performance engineer  

While some of Pega’s clients manage the migration themselves, many work with Pega Consulting or one of Pega’s Partners.  In any case, Pega oversees the migration project to ensure that it follows best practices and meets the standards to make it successful.  Pega provides advice and guidance throughout the project, regardless of which organization leads the project.

Roles and Responsibilities

Some tasks are Pega’s responsibility, and some tasks are the client’s responsibility.

Pega responsibilities include:

  •     Provision the foundational infrastructure and connectivity, in consultation with the client.   
  •     Provision all environments and inform the client when it is completed  
  •     Migrate the Pega related data, in consultation with the client  
  •     Go Live cutover, in partnership with the client

Client responsibilities include:  

  •     Complete a thorough assessment of the current Pega solution, in consultation with Pega
  •     Create a migration project plan, in consultation with Pega
  •     Migrate the application rules, in consultation with Pega
  •     Address items identified in the assessment and resolve any issues identified in the gap analysis, or during testing   
  •     Complete functional testing of the applications, and inform Pega when it is completed
  •     Complete performance testing of the applications, in consultation with Pega
  •     Create Cutover Runbook in consultation with Pega
  •     Go-Live cutover, in partnership with Pega

How long will the migration take and how much will it cost?

Pega deployment implementations vary greatly, so the duration and cost for migrating to Pega Cloud varies based on the size and complexity of the migration. For instance, migrating one simple application may only take a matter of weeks, while migrating a portfolio of complex applications with large amounts of data could take months.  

The duration and cost of migrating to Pega Cloud can be estimated from the migration project plan created during the assessment and planning phase.   


Phase 1: Assessment and Planning   


To ensure compliance with Pega Cloud standards, and compatibility with the latest GA release of the Pega Platform, Pega requires that you complete a comprehensive assessment of your current Pega solution and create a detailed project plan.

When performing the assessment, determine which parts of your application require change to ensure compatibility and compliance when updating to the latest versions and operating on Pega Cloud. Identify gaps, unsupported features and functionality, as well as any other changes that need to be addressed when updating and migrating to Pega Cloud.  

The assessment and planning determine the overall approach for migrating your Pega applications and data to Pega Cloud as efficiently as possible, thus reducing the risk of potential roadblocks.  The assessment and planning must be completed, and reviewed by Pega, before beginning to migrate and update your Pega solution.  Involve Application Owners, System Administrators, Database Administrators, Network Engineers, and other stakeholders to collect the information necessary for the assessment.   

Assess these three main areas:

  •     Your Pega applications
  •     The database where your Pega applications and Pega data are stored  
  •     Your current infrastructure
flow diagram of assement and planning phase



Migration is a part of a larger process of ModernizationModernization consists of four phases:  

  •     Assess:  Identify gaps, remediations, functionality changes, and areas for improvement.   
  •     Update: Fix what is needed to ensure the applications operate on Pega Cloud and the target Pega Infinity version.  
  •     Implement: Improve application stability, integrity, security, and performance.  Adopt best practices and leverage new features to promote and enable modernization of the application.  
  •     Evolve: Fully modernize the applications – innovate and drive competitive advantage. Address all pending gaps preventing the application from reaching a modern state and effectively leveraging the latest Pega features.  

When migrating to Pega Cloud, the focus is on completing the first three phases (Assess, Update, and Implement) to ensure the initial release on Pega Cloud is stable, secure, and performant.

The Evolve phase continues after the migration to Pega Cloud is complete.


Pega provides various tools and worksheets to assist in both the planning process and the migration.  The Assessment and Planning phase includes:   

  •     Create a Connectivity Plan that outlines connectivity between your Pega Cloud environment and any external or on-premises integrations.  
  •     Review the current Pega deployment, including applications, data, and infrastructure
  •     Establish requirements for the migration and target Pega Cloud deployment, such as security policies, compliance policies, and performance SLAs.
  •     Create a gap analysis to identify any modernizations and changes that must be made to your application as it moves to Pega Cloud.   
  •     Create a plan to remediate any issues found by the gap analysis
  •     Identify any Pega related data to be migrated, including data volume for tables and attachments  
  •     Create a Route to Live plan that outlines the source-to-destination environment mapping, a DevOps strategy, and an application testing strategy that includes both functional and performance tests.
  •     Create a migration project plan and have it and other parts of your planning reviewed by Pega  
  •     Hold a kickoff meeting with all stakeholders involved in the migration project  

Application Assessment

During the assessment, consider changes required to ensure compatibility with both the latest version of Pega and with the Pega Cloud infrastructure.  

Identify any functionality or features that are no longer supported in the Pega Platform, Pega applications and on Pega Cloud.  Determine the best way to provide the same functionality or features in the current GA version and on Pega Cloud as well as any required changes required to ensure your application is stable, secure, and performant running on Pega Cloud on the latest version of Pega Platform. Use the tools and resources provided by Pega to assist you with assessing your application and planning any required changes.

The assessment starts with a comprehensive review of your Pega applications and the systems that support them. This includes analysis of your Pega software, including:

  •     The Pega Platform version (target version must be latest GA release)
  •     A list of your Pega strategic applications by version
  •     Pega deployment type (i.e. high-availability, single schema, shared with other apps), and the usage profile (number of users, case volume)
  •     An integration profile that captures how your application interacts with other systems  
  •     Information about background processes, node usage, indexes
  •     Details regarding your additional services (BIX, PDC, etc.)  
  •     Guardrail score compliance
  •     Review the modernization areas identified by the modernization tools provided by Pega

The information gathered becomes part of your migration project plan.

Database Assessment

The database assessment includes analyzing and identifying data requiring migration, along with any unsupported database customizations and legacy functionality in your current Pega application requiring remediation.

Determine which data must be migrated, and the approach for migration with respect to the overall size, rate of change, and acceptable cut-over window. Review any data present in your database and determine if any can be expunged prior to the migration.

The data migration plan must identify all database schemas and tables that require migration to Pega Cloud, as well as how the data will map to the schemas and tables of the target database. Identify any case attachments or archived case data in remote file storage that needs to be migrated. Pega Cloud provides file storage for case attachments and archived case data.  Pega does not recommend storing these directly in the database.  

On Pega Cloud, your data can be easily managed through the Pega platform using the built-in database functionality. It is important to review and understand this functionally as direct database access is not permitted on Pega Cloud.  If you currently use direct database access, you will need to change your procedures.  

Database customizations can (and must) be created and managed using the database tools in the Pega Platform.  Custom database objects – any objects that were not present in the Pega-provided database deployment - are not supported on Pega Cloud.  If your deployment includes them, they require remediation prior to the data migration.  

Types of customized objects requiring remediation include:   

  •     Custom schemas
  •     Stored procedures
  •     Functions
  •     Views
  •     Triggers
  •     Sequences
  •     Synonyms
  •     Aliases
  •     Packages

Note: Stored procedures, triggers, etc that are shipped with Pega software are supported.  However, customized versions of these objects are not supported by Pega Cloud.

Important: After the data migration approach has been selected and a plan defined, it must be reviewed by Pega.  This review is very important, as the Pega team will be responsible for executing this plan during the data migration and go live phase.   

Infrastructure Assessment

As part of the infrastructure assessment, complete a comprehensive review of your non-database infrastructure including all environments required to support the production application. Review any configurations and components currently supporting your Pega deployment such as:

  •     Operating system
  •     Application server
  •     Network topology
  •     Application dependencies and integrations   

Your assessment must identify any custom system components supporting your Pega deployment that will not function properly in a Pega Cloud environment.  Since the file system in a cloud environment is transient and may cause data loss if relied upon, any Pega application functionality that writes files or other information to disk must be updated to modern strategies that support standard cloud operations.   

Command-line access is not permitted on Pega Cloud.  Update any customizations that require command line access to leverage only the built-in functionality in the Pega Platform. Any settings managed in previously supported Pega Platform configuration files must be replaced by Dynamic System Settings and managed through the Pega Platform.

Below are some examples of infrastructure related items requiring remediation:

  •     Custom shell scripts
  •     Cron jobs
  •     Custom schedulers
  •     Custom scripts to move files
  •     Configuration file customizations
  •     Custom libraries
  •     Database customizations that require unsecured manual changes to the data or database structures  
  •     Use of non-standard ports or dynamic IP addresses
  •     Nodes identified by a specific Host ID or IP address

Route to Live Plan

Establish a Route to Live (RTL) plan before moving any applications or data to Pega Cloud. The Route to Live plan defines the environments, DevOps processes, and application testing strategies required to support the deployment and continuous improvement of your Pega Applications. Continue to use the Route to Live plan after you have migrated to Pega Cloud. Use it to align Pega Cloud best practices with your software development life cycle (SDLC).  

The Route to Live plan includes:

  •     Environment requirements and mapping of source to destination environments.
  •     An outline of DevOps process to be implemented on Pega Cloud
  •     An application testing strategy for each environment and gating criteria to validate functionality  

As stated earlier, the assessment and planning must be completed, and reviewed by Pega, before beginning to migrate and update your Pega solution.  Pega also recommends holding a kickoff meeting to provide all the stakeholders with an overview and timeline for the project.


Phase 2: Application Migration, Update, and Remediation   

After your contract has been signed, Pega is responsible for provisioning the Pega Cloud environment. Work with your Pega sales team to initiate the provisioning process.  

Pega works closely with your network and security teams to establish connectivity to the environments, based on the Connectivity Plan established during the assessment phase.  

Important: Review your database and file storage requirements for all environments prior to the provisioning any environments on Pega Cloud.  

You are responsible for:

  •     Packaging your application on the source environment
  •     Importing it into the target Development (Dev) environment on Pega Cloud

After importing your application, you are responsible for:

  •     Completing any post-update steps specific to the Platform or strategic applications  
  •     Implementing the changes identified during the assessment, to make your application comply with Pega Cloud standards and ensure compatibility with the latest GA version of the Pega Platform
  •     Completing the necessary regression, functional, and performance tests to certify it for use on Pega Cloud environments.  
  •     Validating feature functionality of your application

Development Environment

After Pega creates your new Pega Cloud environments and establishes connectivity, package your application on your source environment and import it into your Pega Cloud development environment.   Your application rulesets are updated to the target GA version upon importing to the Pega Cloud Dev Environment. Once imported, you need to remediate any issues identified during the assessment and perform testing to validate application functionality.  

flow diagram of migration and remediation


Phase 3: Validating Applications on Pega Cloud   

After completing the required remediations and changes, post-update tasks, and after updating any Pega strategic applications defined in your Migration Project Plan, test and validate the functionality of your application on Pega Cloud. Testing is an important part of validating the functionality and operation of your application and is essential to uncover any issues with the update and migration.

A standard Pega Cloud subscription includes three environments.  However, it is also common to use four environments. This section is broken out into QA and Staging, to accommodate four environments. If you are using three environments, the tasks for the QA and Staging environments are merged into a single environment.

QA Environment

After completing the required remediations and changes in the Dev environment, promote the application from the Dev environment to the QA environment. Pega recommends using Deployment Manager for this.  

If required, re-generate or import any test data required to validate the application in the QA environment. Perform regression and functional testing on the QA environment as needed to ensure the application is functioning properly.  If your validation testing uncovers additional issues not found during the assessment, those also need to be remediated.   

flow diagram of application validation


Staging Environment

After completing your testing in the QA environment, promote the application to the staging environment. Complete the data migration prerequisites to establish connectivity between your source Staging or QA environment and the Pega Cloud Staging environment. The Pega Cloud team works with you to migrate a test dataset to the Pega Cloud Staging Environment to identify any data transfer and schema compatibility issues ahead of the Production Dry Run. The Pega Cloud team works with you to help resolve any issues encountered during this test.  

Execute thorough end-to-end testing on the staging environment to validate the functionality and operation of your application on Pega Cloud. Follow the application testing strategy defined in your Route to Live Plan.  Perform a Pega Predictive Diagnostic Cloud (PDC) review to identify application performance issues.   

After you complete the testing, sign off in your project plan to certify the application is working as expected in the Staging Environment.

Phase 4: Data Migration and Production Go Live  

Preparing for the data migration

Prepare the data for migration by doing such things as:

  •     Reduce the overall size of the database, if possible (for example, could some data be archived?)
  •     Add a primary key to tables with BLOB columns
  •     Remove special characters from column names
  •     Convert partitioned table to flat tables
  •     Resolved all database incompatibilities  
  •     Review Pega Cloud storage allocations for the database and file storage  

Pega provisions data migration tooling on Pega Cloud and works with your network, security, and database teams to establish connectivity to the source database.

Production Environment

When you are satisfied that the application is ready for production, use Deployment Manager to promote the application to the production environment.   

Synchronize any parallel application development.  If any rule changes are made on the source environment after the initial application migration, import them into the Pega Cloud Development environment and use Deployment Manager to promote them to the higher environments using the standard DevOps pipeline.

Migrating the data  

This process begins after the data migration pre-requisites have been completed and proper connectivity is established between the Pega Cloud migration tooling and the source database.  

As preparation for the Go Live cutover to Pega Cloud, create a Production cutover runbook specifying all the steps, how long they take, and the party responsible for completing them.  Complete multiple dry runs using a production backup or clone to ensure the migration process runs smoothly. Use these dry runs to optimize the tools and processes, with the goal of building confidence that the runbook is accurate and minimizing downtime during the cutover.   

Pega will recommend the optimal data migration approach to minimize downtime during the production cutover based on the profile of your data identified in the database assessment and outcome of the dry run migrations.

flow diagram of data migration and go live

Execute thorough performance and load testing in the production environment to ensure your application meets the needs of the business.  Also complete vulnerability testing on the production environment. Complete a Pega Predictive Diagnostic Cloud (PDC) review, to provide detailed insight into system performance. Pega must review this prior to signing off on the production environment.

After you complete the validation, sign off that the application is working as expected in the Production Environment.

Final Cutover and Go-Live

The final cutover and go-live are scheduled with the Pega team in advance to define the downtime window and ensure members from both your migration team and Pega’s team are available throughout process. You are responsible for any final testing to validate your application before making the migration go/no-go decision. After a Go decision is made, the Pega completes the final cutover and the application goes live on Pega Cloud.

After migrating to Pega Cloud, Pega provides two weeks of hypercare monitoring and support to ensure stability in the new environment.


Phase 5: Continuous Improvement and Evolution   

After your application is live and running on Pega Cloud, shift your focus to increasing feature adoption, reducing technical debt, and driving innovation. Modernization is a continuous process and should focus on driving business value with each release through change and new feature adoption. Pega Cloud environments are updated to the latest release (with approval) allowing you to Keep Current. With each new release of Pega, evaluate and adopt new features based on business needs, schedules, and budgets.  


The Next Step  

If you are ready to move forward with migrating your applications to Pega Cloud, or would like to learn more about the process, contact your Pega account team.


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