The lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy

The lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy

The migration of applications and workloads to cloud-based services can radically improve the IT landscape in a business. That’s mainly due to the agility and scalability that the Cloud provides. But, the question here is “how can one migrate applications to the Cloud?”. It turns out, there are several strategies to choose from. And, the lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy is probably the easiest and least expensive one. 

However, is the lift-and-shift approach right for every situation and every business? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this core migration strategy, and explore a few scenarios when it makes sense to adopt it.

What is a lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy?

We’ve already mentioned that lift-and-shift is an approach for migrating applications to the Cloud. But, before we deal with the strategic part, let’s see first what lift-and-shift means. 

Simply put, lift-and-shift, also known as rehosting, is moving applications, systems and workloads, — along with their data — to a cloud infrastructure; and, running them on cloud-native resources. To put it another way, you ‘lift’ the on-premise applications, and ‘shift’ them to a new cloud environment; be it a single-cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid-cloud environment

As such, no significant rewrites or changes are required in the application architecture or data flow. This is actually one of the main characteristics of the lift-and-shift migration cloud strategy, that sets it apart from other migrating strategies. Nonetheless, there are a few key considerations for a lift-and-shift migration to be successful; and these include computing, storage, and network requirements. 

With these in mind, let’s have a look at some of the most important benefits the lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy has to offer.

Advantages of a lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for moving an application from your on-premise data center to the Cloud. Nevertheless, lift-and-shift is a widely-used migration path for many companies. And, for good reason. 

The lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy offers a way to protect a company’s assets, while keeping migration costs relatively low. With lift-and-shift, IT modernization is easier than before, simply by moving to a more open and extensible architecture. 

In a nutshell, the lift-and-shift approach:

  • Provides a fast and effortless migration
  • Offers flexibility
  • Improves performance
  • Minimizes downtime
  • Doesn’t require rewrites or modifications to the application infrastructure
  • Helps implement security and compliance more smoothly
  • Is probably the most cost-effective cloud migration strategy
  • Enables scalability

When do you need to opt for the lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy? 

6 common scenarios

When all is said and done, your IT team might want to consider lift-and-shift as a cloud migration strategy in the following scenarios:

  1. You’re just starting with cloud adoption. Choosing to go with lift-and-shift — due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness — seems like a good idea.
  2. You have a tight migration deadline. The lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy can certainly speed up the transfer to the cloud.
  3. There are legacy applications in your data center. The most practical option is to simply lift-and-shift them, as they are, in the cloud infrastructure.
  4. There are commercial, ready-to-use applications from third-party vendors that your team isn’t authorized to re-code, re-architect or modify, in any way. So, when migrating to the Cloud, you can’t do anything other than opt for the lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy.
  5. The available budget for cloud migration is limited. Again, the lift-and-shift approach is not only fast but, also, cost-efficient; at least, in some cases.
  6. You want to retain your existing data-sensitive software and workloads on-premise. At the same time, you want to implement a hybrid-cloud environment for hybrid deployments in the Cloud. That’s where the lift-and-shift strategy comes in, to help kick-start the implementation of hybrid deployments.

Keeping the bigger picture in mind

A sound cloud migration plan begins with choosing the right migration method for your business. Of all the methods out there, the lift-and-shift cloud migration strategy remains one of the fastest, easiest and least expensive ways to start operating in the Cloud. That’s because it enables on-premise applications to be transferred to the Cloud, without requiring (significant) rewrites or overhauls. The lift-and-shift method is generally a low-risk, effective way to improve operations.

In any case, when considering migration to the Cloud, keep the big picture in mind. That goes to say, examine all available alternatives. Although the lift-and-shift approach can be fast and easy, you should weigh your options and pick the migration strategy that best suits your needs. Also, remember that it’s not obligatory to stick to a strategy alone. A well-calculated combination of cloud migration strategies might be the best solution for your business.