Lift and Shift: What It Is and How to Do It
Tips on moving workloads or applications to the cloud
Lift and shift is the process of moving workloads or applications from on-premises systems to the cloud. It can be seen as a way to "lift" current infrastructure into the cloud, or it can be seen as a "shift" of applications and data to the cloud. In this blog post, you'll learn what the lift and shift migration strategy is. Next, we'll look into the pros and cons of this migration strategy and when it's appropriate to use it. Finally, we'll discuss some best practices for successfully transitioning to the cloud and avoiding pitfalls while migrating your applications using the lift and shift approach.
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At its core, lift and shift is a migration strategy that involves moving an existing application to the cloud without changing its original architecture or design. Organizations commonly use it to quickly and easily take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing and to save time and resources and avoid rebuilding their applications from scratch.
However, moving existing applications to the cloud using this approach may only partially take advantage of cloud architecture and platforms. It would help if you were careful with your cloud infrastructure design. Otherwise, it may be difficult to maintain performance and reliability as the number of users or data increases. In addition, if you choose a cloud provider that's not well suited to your needs or lacks adequate security features, you may be vulnerable to data breaches or security threats.
Lifting and shifting has many benefits, including faster time to market, lower costs, and greater flexibility. It can be a quick and relatively low-cost way to move an application to the cloud. It also allows organizations to quickly reap the benefits of cloud computing, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. Let's now discuss each of them in detail.
One of the most important reasons for doing a lift and shift is to save money. The cost savings can be significant, especially when moving workloads off expensive on-premises hardware or software licenses. Cloud providers typically charge only for the resources used, which can lead to significant cost savings compared to traditional architecture.
Cloud platforms and infrastructure offer much greater scalability than traditional hosting environments, allowing you to quickly scale your resources up or down as needed. The cloud can easily accommodate you if you need to add computing power, storage space, or bandwidth.
You have more options when choosing resources, platforms, and tools. The cloud allows you to be more agile when responding to changing market conditions and requirements, giving you greater flexibility in running your business.
While there are many advantages to lift and shift migration, this approach also has some potential drawbacks and risks. Let's now discuss each of them.
If your existing applications and services are complex and interconnected, moving them to the cloud using the lift and shift migration may require additional work, such as rearchitecting or refactoring. It can add further complexity.
Moving existing applications and services to the cloud might take more time and planning, depending on your needs, than building a new application from scratch. You will also need to carefully consider different infrastructures, tools, and platforms for your applications.
In some cases, lifting and shifting may require significant resources to migrate workloads. It can increase costs and make a lift and shift migration more challenging. For example, you may need additional hardware or software licenses.
You may need additional technical expertise or tools to lift and shift your applications. You should provide additional training and support to existing employees when migrating. Upskilling existing employees is a time-consuming process that takes investment and planning.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when to lift and shift as this will depend on your organization's unique needs and goals. As we already mentioned, lift and shift may only sometimes make sense. For example, suppose your organization has a complex web of dependencies between applications, services, and resources. In that case, moving all these systems may be challenging using the lift and shift method alone. However, some common situations where lift and shift may be a good option include the following:
When considering lift and shift for your organization, you should evaluate the risks and benefits involved. Some key considerations include the following:
Ultimately, whether or not lift and shift is the right migration strategy for your organization will depend on several factors specific to your needs and goals.
If you're considering lift and shift as a migration strategy, there are some best practices to keep in mind.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that lift and shift is the right fit for your organization and will help you take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.
Lift and shift is a migration strategy that can help organizations quickly move applications and services to the cloud. While there are some potential drawbacks and risks associated with it, there are also many benefits, including scalability, cost-effectiveness, and more streamlined operations. Essential best practices include assessing your applications and services to determine if they're good candidates, identifying the resources, and planning necessary training or support needs. Lastly, consider an internal developer portal like configure8 to help with the migration process and monitor and test your cloud environment after migration as well as potentially accelerate your move via self-serve actions. With these tips, you can successfully and effectively lift and shift your organization to the cloud.
This post was written by Tarun Telang. Tarun is a software engineering leader with over 16 years of experience in the software industry with some of the world’s most renowned software development firms like Microsoft, Oracle, BlackBerry, and SAP. His areas of expertise include Java, web, mobile, and cloud. He’s also experienced in managing software projects using Agile and Test Driven Development methodologies.