Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

For that quick win, lift-and-shift – moving a system from its current, non-Cloud location to a Cloud provider with essentially no change to its design – can be ideal. It can show a business department that IT is highly responsive to requests, and keep functionality in place to which users are accustomed. Moving quickly to the Cloud can also help reduce the costs of physical infrastructures, and the cost and time that goes into replatforming is not to be underestimated.

However: there are other reasons to be in the Cloud, and applications that were developed for physical infrastructures and moved to the Cloud without replatforming are not going to be able to take full advantage of these capabilities. They will generally be less agile, scalable and cost effective than their purpose-built counterparts, often negating much of the reason for the move, especially over time.

In addition, the more resource-intensive an application, like a big data analytics application, the more necessary it is to replatform, or else the move to the Cloud will very likely result in performance and latency problems.

So, when is lift-and-shift is the right thing to do?

  • For that quick win, or to shift costs speedily from a too-expensive data center
  • For basic Cloud disaster recovery systems that simply need to work should the worst come to pass
  • For applications with easily defined patterns, like those for risk analytics
  • For off-the-shelf / commercial applications, as only the vendor can truly adapt these systems well

All of this is contingent on IT conducting an enterprise-wide audit and working with the business to determine: (a) what is still needed, (b) knowing what to replatform and (c) what to lift and- shift. Having a prioritized list of what to move, when and how, will be a godsend to the IT roadmap and empirically qualify projects and budgets to the business.

A replatforming strategy that includes lift-and-shift

Lift-and-shift is fast and effective but does not assess current operational and maintenance practices. The reality of what to next – after lift-and-shift – is sobering because these are decisions that will impact personnel, platforms, architecture, integrations, and IT’s role in the enterprise.

Some organizations choose to manage the lift-and-shift work themselves while assigning the replatforming work to a vendor staffed with the appropriate skill sets, so that the work can be done in parallel.

Understanding when to leverage which strategy helps reinforce IT’s credibility to create value more, quickly and gets the business back on its Cloud applications rapidly and safely.

Originally authored by Kerry Raminiak

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