What is the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure?

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is guidance that's designed to help you create and implement business and technology strategies for the cloud. It provides best practices, documentation, and tools. Cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision makers use this information to achieve their cloud adoption goals.

By using the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure best practices, organizations can better align their business and technical strategies to ensure success. Watch the following video to learn more.

The Cloud Adoption Framework brings together cloud adoption best practices from Microsoft employees, partners, and customers. It provides a set of tools, guidance, and narratives. These tools help shape your technology, business, and people strategies to get the best business outcomes during your cloud adoption effort. Review the guidance for each methodology below, providing you with easy access to the right guidance at the right time.


Strategy icon

Strategy: Define business justification and expected outcomes of adoption.

Plan icon

Plan: Align actionable adoption plans to business outcomes.

Ready icon

Ready: Prepare the cloud environment for the planned changes.

Migrate icon

Migrate: Migrate and modernize existing workloads.

Innovate icon

Innovate: Develop new cloud-native or hybrid solutions.

Govern icon

Govern: Govern the environment and workloads.

Manage icon

Manage: Operations management for cloud and hybrid solutions.

Organize icon

Organize: Align the teams and roles supporting your organization's cloud adoption efforts.

Understand the lifecycle

Each methodology above is part of a broad cloud adoption lifecycle. The Cloud Adoption Framework is a full lifecycle framework that supports customers throughout each phase of adoption. The framework uses methodologies as approaches to overcoming common blockers, as shown here:

Diagram that shows an overview of the Cloud Adoption Framework.


The cloud fundamentally changes how enterprises find, use, and secure technology resources. Traditionally, enterprises assumed ownership of and responsibility for all aspects of technology, from infrastructure to software. By moving to the cloud, enterprises can provision and consume resources only when they're needed. Although the cloud offers tremendous flexibility in design choices, enterprises need a proven and consistent methodology for adopting cloud technologies. The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure meets that need, helping guide decisions throughout cloud adoption.

But cloud adoption is only a means to an end. Successful cloud adoption starts well before a cloud platform vendor is selected. It begins when business and IT decision makers realize that the cloud can accelerate a specific business transformation goal. The Cloud Adoption Framework helps align strategies for business, culture, and technical change to achieve their desired business outcomes.

The Cloud Adoption Framework provides technical guidance for Microsoft Azure. Enterprise customers might still be trying to select a cloud vendor, or might have an intentional multicloud strategy. For these situations, the framework provides cloud-agnostic guidance for strategic decisions whenever possible.

Intended audience

This guidance affects the business, technology, and culture of enterprises. The affected roles include:

  • Line-of-business leaders
  • Business decision makers
  • IT decision makers
  • Finance
  • Enterprise administrators
  • IT operations
  • IT security and compliance
  • IT governance
  • Workload development owners
  • Workload operations owners
  • Business subject matter experts

Each role uses its own vocabulary, and each has different goals and key performance indicators. A single set of content can't address all audiences effectively.

Enter the cloud architect. The cloud architect serves as the thought leader and facilitator to bring these audiences together. We've designed this collection of guides to make it easier for cloud architects to have the right conversations with the right audiences and drive decision-making. Business transformation that's empowered by the cloud depends on the cloud architect role to help guide decisions throughout the business and IT.

Each section of the Cloud Adoption Framework represents a different form of the cloud architect role. These sections also create opportunities to share cloud architecture responsibilities across a team of cloud architects. For example, the governance section is designed for cloud architects who have a passion for mitigating technical risks. Some cloud providers refer to these specialists as cloud custodians. We prefer the term cloud guardian or collectively, the cloud governance team.

How to use the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

If your enterprise is new to Azure, begin by understanding and documenting foundational alignment decisions. When your enterprise's digital transformation involves the cloud, having an understanding of these fundamental concepts will help you during the process.