In a study conducted in 2019, 44% of CIOs believe that legacy systems or technologies impede the digital growth of a business. To avert this, many enterprises are looking for ways to get away with legacy technologies and modernizing their application. Nowadays, the discussion on application modernization centers on moving your on-premises applications onto a modern infrastructure, particularly cloud. The decision of making a move to the cloud could be driven by many factors such as scalability challenges, complex management, high capital expenses, or hardware that become passé every 2-4 years. Not to mention, modernizing your application makes sense, if you know how to avoid the faux pas and do it right.

5 Powerful Cloud Adoption Statistics

Above statistics show that cloud-first policy is a definite agenda for many CIOs. Today, there are umpteen ways to make a transition of an existing workload to the cloud, and out of all “Lift & Shift” is one such popular approach for an enterprise to tap into the agility of a cloud environment.

A Synopsis of Lift and Shift (Rehosting or Forklift)

Lift and shift allows businesses to migrate the workloads or applications from one environment to another, particularly the cloud. Since the transition is performed without making any changes to application core architecture or code, the lift and shift cloud migration approach is not only quick but also economical, unlike other migration processes. With lift and shift, you can also convert capital expense to operational expense. For a successful migration, you need to devise a well-planned strategy and also ensure that the application is well-equipped with all the indispensable resources it requires to run smoothly in the new environment.

When To ‘Lift and Shift’? Here’s How to Decide

The lift and shift approach allows enterprises to make a quick transition of their applications from on-premises to the cloud, but it makes little sense to move your applications to the cloud environment when they can not leverage all the features of native-cloud. So, this may not be an affordable cloud migration path, but there are some cases when the lift and shift approach makes more sense such as-

If your on-premise infrastructure expenses are spurting at a great pace and you are not geared up to rebuild your application from scratch. In such a scenario, you can lift and shift the workload or application on the cloud until you are poised for refactoring.

The lift and shift approach is also feasible when you need a relatively economical but more-scalable data backup or recovery solution.

If you have some off-the-shelf applications that you want to migrate to the cloud but don’t want to re-architect them, in such cases, it is considered best to move your applications ‘as-is’ to the cloud environment.

Lift and Shift Migration – The Right Way To Do Assessment and Planning

Before moving your applications to the cloud, it’s wise to plan and assess all the underlying factors that can impact the cost and difficulty. Listed below are some of them:-

1. Compliance

Before migrating applications from on-premises data centers to the cloud environment, vetting the cloud service provider’s infrastructure and your migration plan will help you make sure all compliance requirements would be fulfilled during and post-migration.

2. Application lifespan

It is important to decide for how long you will run the application. If you have applications you are planning to disown next year, it makes little sense to migrate such applications to the cloud environment.

3. Migration priority

When planning the migration of multiple applications to the cloud, it’s advisable to migrate critical business applications first, or you can define the order that makes more sense to your business.

4. Migration automation tools

Talk to your cloud hosting provider and ask them if they provide any automated tools for the migration. If they do, use them strategically whenever or wherever possible.

Cloud Migration – What are the options out there?

Once you have embraced cloud migration, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Not to mention, the different migration paths can be bewildering. Let’s dive deep into some popular migration approaches.

1. IaaS (Rehost, Replatform)

In this approach, you migrate an application or workload from on-premise data centers to the cloud environment without making no changes to the application core architecture. The easiest, fastest, and affordable way to migrate applications or workloads to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) is using the popular lift and shift method.

2. PaaS (Refactor, Rebuild)

In this approach, the code of your applications runs on the configured environment provided by the cloud provider. This requires refactoring of your application in order to work smoothly into the cloud platform. Ergo, developers will perform a wide gamut of functions including library updates, code rewriting, deployment pipeline modifications, etc. to make your application compatible with the PaaS application framework. At times, developers have to build the application from scratch. In a nutshell, opting for this approach requires you to invest a significant amount of time and money.

3. SaaS (Replace)

In this approach, replace your existing application components or functionalities with a SaaS service. This cloud migration approach is way faster than PaaS but it comes with its own set of challenges, including the development of new interfaces, restructuring architecture parts, and upskilling your workforce about its usage, and more. Besides this, you may face some other challenges including vendor lock-in, inconsistent data semantics, data migration complications, etc.

Perks of Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

The lift and shift approach offers a host of benefits to businesses. Let’s take a quick peek at some popular ones.

1. On-demand Scalability

With lift and shift, you can quickly scale your application without investing a fortune in buying and configuring new computing capacity. Also, you don’t have to worry about hardware bandwidth, particularly during peak traffic hours.

2. Cost-Effective

Re-architecting your application from scratch to make it compatible with the cloud environment is not only an arduous task but also puts a dent in your budget. The lift and shift strategy allows you to migrate your workload to the cloud sans draining your IT budget. With the lift and shift approach, Dow Jones reduced their IT costs by over 25%, while General Electric (GE) achieved 52% cost savings by migrating their 500 applications to the cloud.

3. Improved Security

Once you have migrated your application to the cloud with lift and shit, it will start leveraging cloud security services including multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and unified hybrid security operations, resulting in enhanced security.

4. Enhanced Performance

Lift and shift migration allows you to run your application on the latest and high-performing hardware, sans requiring you to invest in the hardware yourself.

5. Cut down on-premises data center costs significantly

The lift and shift approach allows you to optimize on-premises infrastructure cost by migrating more and more applications to the cloud environment, resulting in a lesser headache.

Final Words

Cloud migration has become the need for the hour. Amidst all the paths out there for migrating your workload to the cloud environment, lift and shift is one of the popular approaches embraced by business enterprises across the world. If you also want to make the most of this cloud migration strategy, we suggest you partner with our seasoned professionals who will get your application operating smoothly in the cloud.

About the Author

Gaurav Handa Vice President - Technology linked-in icon

Gaurav Handa, Vice President - Technology, is a path-breaking professional and business savvy enterprise architect with extensive industry experience of over 20 years. Gaurav authenticates delivery of superior business outcomes for customers while formulating and delivering state-of-the-art technology and business solutions across various domains. He has always been instrumental in driving all organization-wide initiatives and bringing business efficiencies through his expertise in project management methodologies of Agile, Scrum, Waterfall and delivery technicalities of Onsite, Offsite and Offshore model coupled with excellent hands-on experience in developing and executing complex and large projects.