Cloud Migration

Lift and Shift Cloud Migration: A Comprehensive Guide

Picture a scenario, where companies are willing to migrate their on-premises computing resources to the cloud environment. There are indeed multiple ways to do it, but one way that’s catching on in today’s time is called “Lift and Shift”. 

Lift and shift are known for their unique benefits, if compared to other methods. The main motive of this method is to simplify the transition from on-premises to cloud computing. Before embarking on a significant migration, it’s an important factor to evaluate all your choices and the upcoming possibilities.

What is Lift and Shift Cloud Migration?

In the Lift and Shift cloud migration method, applications, systems, workloads, and data are moved from on-premises to the cloud with minimal or no alterations. Data centre resources are lifted from the on-premises infrastructure and then, are shifted to a single, multi or hybrid cloud environment. 

Apps lifted and shifted to the cloud often remain unchanged in the process of pre- and post-migration because they cannot be fully re-designed for cloud-native functionality. This is the reason, if any adjustments are made during the lift and shift process of cloud migration, are usually of the minor architectural type. This is the one major factor that distinguishes the lift and shift migration method from other cloud migration methods. 

Benefits of Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

Lift and Shift Cloud Migration
The lift and shift cloud migration strategy offers a vast list of advantages and ensures a seamless transition of your IT infrastructure to the cloud. Below are a few of the benefits of adopting the lift and shift strategy for cloud migration:

  • Cost Efficient:

    The transition of applications, operating systems, data stores, and technology to a new setup requires a lot of effort, time, team, and money. The longer the process continues, the more costly it becomes. During migration, all new code and architecture are required, which makes the complete process quite complicated and expensive. This can cause a lot of disruptions to your services. This is the scenario where “Lift & Shift” can be of great use; it is the best method to avoid such issues. With this method, users can easily copy everything over to the new setup and switch to it when they’re ready. It saves time and money, as in “Lift & Shift,” you don’t have to make many changes.

  • Scalability:

    Transitioning from on-site resources to the cloud using the Lift & Shift method allows businesses to easily grow their computing power. With this process, they can use more resources available in the cloud as their computing needs for growth. The scalability of cloud environments allows businesses to optimize the return on the usage of the IT application. With this, your applications can save money because they only pay for what they use, and thus can scale up or down according to needs and business requirements. With scalability, it becomes easier for companies to expand in the future, as instead of investing in expensive on-site applications, companies can choose to opt for a pay-as-you-go cloud storage model.

  • Security:

    No matter what industry you are from, maintaining the utmost security is always a major goal. Cyberattacks can cause serious and lasting damages, resulting in financial losses or harm to a company’s reputation. Transferring data from the on-site network to cloud-based systems via the lift & shift method can greatly enhance cybersecurity for organizations. Neglecting outdated software and opting for advanced cloud-based solutions can help companies safeguard their operations and thus minimize the risk of cyberattacks.

Lift and Shift vs Other Migration

There are multiple types of cloud migration options present, each having its features. Let’s explore a few in detail.

  • Lift and shift migration:

    As discussed earlier, this method includes moving of the applications from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud infrastructure, while opting for the pay-as-you-go or subscription basis.

  • PaaS migration:

    This method asks for making alterations to your applications in the process to better utilize your cloud provider’s platform services. This process is quite expensive and time-consuming if compared with the lift and shift method, as it asks for the modifications. This method also offers multiple advantages like automation and developer productivity.

  • SaaS migration:

    This process involves replacing of your on-premises application with a ready-made, cloud-based alternative. This is somehow offering similar functionality to your existing app while adding a few extra benefits to the cloud provider’s infrastructure. This method may match with the Lift & shift method, if compared within cost-efficiency but can be quite complex while making the adjustments according to the features and customization provided by the SaaS application.

Challenges in Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

cloud computing technology
  • Hidden Costs

    It is important to be aware that hidden costs can be a concern in the long term. This occurs especially after years of infrastructure usage. The Lift & shift method might not be a potential choice for your application, as it may ask for additional adjustments post-shift which may not be encountered or considered at an early stage.

  • Security Risks

    Security risks may arise while transferring the access rights and migrations without any alterations from the on-premises setup to the cloud environment. Due to the increased complexities of the cloud, those access rights can be denied which may result in outer threats.

  • Performance Issues

    Performance issues may occur when an on-premises system, heavily optimized for performance, is migrated to the cloud. While cloud migration was done successfully, there is always a chance that the optimization made earlier can easily impact the cloud migration process.

Lift and Shift Cloud Migration Strategy

When it comes to cloud migration, there are multiple options to choose from. But opting for the best requires the best strategy and plan. Each has its benefits and drawbacks but the below 5R’s can help you with the process.

  • Rehost:

    This involves migrating your application to a new hardware environment without making any modifications to its architecture, a process known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or lift & shift. It is a quick and inexpensive migration method; however, the ongoing operational cost can be a bit high due to not fully leveraging cloud efficiencies.

  • Refactor:

    Also known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), in this process applications are run on a cloud provider’s infrastructure. Developers can reuse languages, frameworks, and containers, but there will always be a few limitations and risks.

  • Revise:

    As the name suggests, this approach involves modifying or updating the existing code according to the new requirements and needs before migrating to the cloud using rehost or refactor methods. This means you can utilize the full potential of all the applications; however, a few add-on modifications will always be required.

  • Rebuild:

    With this option, you can redesign your existing application and add innovations or features to the provider’s platform to improve developer productivity.

  • Replace:

    This strategy involves replacing your current application set and adopting commercial software delivered as a service (SaaS). It is known best for the options where quick adaptation is required for the updated business requirements, but it can lead to a few challenges like inconsistent data semantics, difficult data access, and vendor lock-in.

Bottom Line

This blog is regarding the complete overview of the lift and shift cloud migration method which is used for migrating on-premises resources to the cloud environment with zero or minimal changes. It includes all the benefits, challenges and comparisons with other migration methods like PaaS and SaaS. In addition, it outlines a 5R strategy to consider for cloud migration- Rehost, Refactor, Rebuild and Replace. 

Aahent, an expert in cloud migration services, offers the finest Lift & Shift migration strategy. The company conducts thorough assessments, creates customized plans, and then executes the migration efficiently intending to minimize the downtime. AAHENT provides ongoing optimization, training and support throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud environment.