How Can Organizations Make Best Use of Lift and Shift Cloud Migration?
Understanding Cloud Migration
With the global workspace undergoing a digital revolution, Cloud has emerged as the priced alternative to on-premise physical servers. Organizations are gravitating towards hosting their applications and services on Cloud for high security, to function in terms of pay-per-use model and flexibility.
Cloud migration is known as moving applications and data from an on-premise server to a cloud infrastructure. This transition from legacy infrastructure to a cloud platform could be either a full transition or partial.
Types of Cloud Migration
- Lift and Shift– This approach is fruitful for migrating apps and the data stored in it to the cloud platform without making any modifications or redesigning the app. Organizations prefer to lift and shift model to sustain and protect their business and process workflows and data present in the on-premises infrastructure. This model helps organizations take steps towards modernizing IT solutions and creating adaptable architecture on Cloud.
- Rebuilding – In this model, an application code needs to be re-written to make it compatible with the cloud environment. However, if the process of making the application compatible with Cloud or cloud-ready is too complicated, then the app is generally built from scratch.
- Replacing – This model comes into play when an application doesn’t comply with the cloud environment and cannot be rebuilt or modified architecturally. In this scenario, SaaS (Software as a Service) offers all the essential features of the application hosted minus the infrastructure overhead costs, development, or management processes.
- Re-platforming – This model is useful when the business application doesn’t comply with the Cloud for architectural reasons entirely or involves opting for the migration to facilitate app innovation and feature upgrades. In this scenario, the applications require few modifications or bare minimum code changes to ensure they make the best use of cloud infrastructure and are compatible.
- Refactoring– This model involves moving applications to the Cloud after the re-architecting process, which involves modifying software and re-writing a major portion of the code. It helps the applications to become flexible and compatible with the cloud environment.
Since this process is complex compared to other cloud migration approaches; there testing is needed to avoid regressions in functionality. This migration offers the highest ROI despite the challenges involved.
Points to consider while choosing the Lift-and-Shift Cloud Migration Strategy
While planning for a cloud migration operation, there are few points to consider before making the transition to Cloud:
- Making the move: The life span of the application and data should be more than 12 months as a shorter period deems it unworthy of a move to the Cloud
- Determine types of access: Finalize the number and types of access required for operating the applications and accessing data. It is also essential to do any additional analysis for knowing how to offer access to data which is present in the code or data transitioned
- Testing the waters: While different cloud hosting providers would offer various automated tools for the migration process, it is crucial to examine the tools beforehand. It helps assess the capability of the tools as it is a great way to run a pilot/test migration and zero upon the architectural issues in the Cloud
- Migration strategy: Since organizations own numerous small applications and a variety of data, it is vital to amalgamate all the information at once for easy refactoring in the Cloud
- The check-list: Before setting up the cloud environment, it is essential to check the applications and data regarding regulatory requirements and compliance. Once migrated, a regular validation testing should be initiated
When to employ the Lift-and-Shift Cloud-Migration Model?
The USP of the Life-and-Shift approach is that on-premises applications can be moved to the Cloud without any redesigning. If you are looking at a tight deadline and have a budget constriction, then Life-and-Shift cloud migration could be the ideal solution. It is also an excellent choice for a first-time migration effort.
By adapting the lift and shift model, Down Jones could lower IT costs by 25%, and GE Oil & Gas could initiate 52% cost-savings.
Here are some instances where employing lift and shift would prove to be beneficial:
- If your organization is spending a fortune over on-premise infrastructure costs but not in a position to rearchitect applications, then this model is a great choice. In such a scenario, the lift and shift model will give you a window to host the applications on the Cloud while preparing to rebuild or considering a transition
- If you are planning to migrate off-the-shelf applications, then the lift and shift is your best bet because they can’t be restructured and have to be moved as-is onto the Cloud
- If you need to opt for inexpensive and scalable backup and recovery, then transferring backups from on-premises hardware to the Cloud makes it a great option
Challenges of a Lift and Shift Strategy
If you are contemplating adopting lift and shift strategy for your data or applications, then here are few points to consider:
- Takes more than a quick-fix: While lift and shift migration might come across as a quick fix method to eliminate the expensive costs for running on-premise hardware. By hosting Cloud applications, organizations can enjoy interruption-free services and avoid the costs incurred, usually in rebuilding their applications or systems. However, this also implies that applications would not be optimized to avail the benefits offered in a cloud environment
- Tweaks required: At some point, assets lifted and shifted into the cloud environment need rework for full advantage to attain cost-efficiency. While the apps need not be built from scratch, it needs tweaks for performing to its full extent. The advantage that the lift and shift model offers is that these changes can be made over some time without hindering regular business operations and eventually being able to reap all the benefits offered by Cloud
- Customized applications need that extra push: Though lift and shift of commercial apps to the Cloud are considered easy, it is no mean feat to move complex custom-built programs and cater to a specific requirement. These apps/programs might need multi-cloud deployment for complete operational efficiency and re-architecting as well
- Avoiding the Copy-and-Paste approach: The lift and shift model can be easily confused with a mere copy and paste job, leading to disastrous consequences. Instead, it needs an effort towards proper planning and migration testing before going live with the transition to Cloud
Advantages of the Lift and Shift Approach
Here’s what makes the lift and shift approach a favorite among organizations planning to move to the Cloud for the first time:
- It is touted as the fastest way to shift work systems and applications on the public cloud because there isn’t a need for code tweaks or optimization right away
- Considered the most cost-effective model, the lift and shift help save migration costs as there isn’t any need for configuration or code tweaks. In the long run, these savings could give away to extra spends if workload costs are not optimized
- With minimal planning required, the lift and shift model needs the least amount of resources and strategy
- Posing the least risk, lift and shift model is a safe option as compared to refactoring applications especially in the scenario where you don’t have code updating resources
Selecting the right Tools for lift and shift Migration
While creating a strategy for migration, it is essential to create a checklist of activities and a fair assessment of the tools and technologies employed for the process. It is crucial for a hassle-free lift and shift migration of applications to maintain bare minimum downtime, back up replication, and snapshot technologies.
All the leading cloud service providers offer cloud-native tools like Azure Database Migration and AWS Database Migration Service. Choosing the right tool would do more than lift and shift to the Cloud, ranging from data management capabilities like automated sync and data protection.
Reasons not to lift and shift to the Cloud
While lift and shift might work well in many instances, it is also essential to understand when this model does not make sense:
1) Avoiding changes on applications
Since on-premise software architecture differs from cloud architecture, shifting legacy applications could prove cumbersome. If you are looking at lifting and shifting a legacy application directly into the Cloud without program rearchitecture, there are bound to be numerous problems. The program might become slug and unresponsive and run inefficiently while pulling additional resources to increase costs.
2) Not up for restructuring the IT department
Making the transition from legacy applications to a cloud environment is an ideal opportunity to rethink or define the IT personnel’s role in an organization. Traditional IT teams work in silos with few involved in the development aspect while others work on day-to-day operations.
Through organizational cloud migration, these barriers can be broken down. But, these changes would not amount to anything if the lift and shift strategy does not tap into Cloud’s potential. If the IT teams are trained to implement hybrid Cloud or complex cloud-based solutions but end only moving legacy applications to Cloud, there could be a disappointment.
Hence, an organization should make a move to Cloud only when it is prepared to rethink its approach to IT practices.
Steps involved in a smooth transition to Cloud
Here are some steps to consider while making the transition to cloud via lift and shift strategy:
- Choose the platform meant for migration
- Assess all the applications and the data stored
- In case of more than one application lift and shift, multiple migrations need to be considered
- Opt for containerization to recreate current software configurations which help to test the Cloud before going live
- Create a back-up of various databases from the current systems and file
- Test the application post-migration process
- Run a check to ensure various data compliance and regulatory measures are met in the new cloud environment
- Refrain from introducing new features while migrating as it could lead to hours of additional testing
- Once testing is done, stop the old system
At Veritis, we offer Cloud migration services in the Northern American region and help our clients enable the right decision-making and maximize their ROI despite the changing digital landscape.