Why you should go beyond the lift and shift approach

Why you should go beyond the lift and shift approach

Posted by Geoff Davies on Mar 16, 2021 10:30:00 AM


By the end of 2021, most enterprises will double their acceleration to the cloud.

This is because cloud migration presents plenty of advantages over conventional on-premise systems, from lower operating costs to better compatibility with modern working needs.

But, while the benefits are crystal clear, choosing the best model for your migration is a little less obvious.

A lift and shift strategy can be a fast and easy way to drop existing infrastructure on to the cloud, but that's not always a good thing.

What is lift and shift?

The 'lift-and-shift approach', also known as re-hosting, is the process of directly cloning pre-existing applications or operations onto your chosen cloud platform, with no alterations made to the workload first.

It allows businesses to:

  • Replicate on-premises apps in the cloud whilst managing to avoid a time-consuming re-design.
  • Migrate existing workloads to the cloud while running them on cloud-native resources without the expense of code or configuration changes.
  • Get onto the cloud faster, with a smaller amount of work.

However, while lift and shift has been a popular strategy for cloud migrations in the past, it's rapidly becoming an outdated approach.

Let's dig into the lift and shift approach a little more closely, and explain why it's not always the best way to capture the value that the cloud can unlock.

The limitations of lift and shift

Moving applications to the cloud can be challenging if you're unprepared. In fact, one in three cloud migrations fail due to companies not adopting the cloud as a core part of their business strategy.

There are a number of gaps in the lift and shift approach that can lead to long-term issues. Let's take a look at them:

  • Compatibility. Migrating legacy applications in a lift and shift manner will achieve marginal gains at best – essentially, it’s using the cloud as an alternative data centre. To unlock the benefits of cloud, workloads need to be designed to run in the cloud; they need to be resilient, reliable, scalable, secure and optimised for cost from the beginning. Running them in the cloud without modification results in a sub-optimal deployment.
  • Lack of cost optimisation. Organisations must make sure that their cost modelling is an accurate representation of what their actual usage will look like. Eighty percent of organisations conducting a ‘lift-and-shift’ migration of internal business applications from their own data centres to public cloud IaaS will not achieve meaningful cost savings. Rightsizing at the point of migration can help, but requires an understanding of what the application is and does. Relying solely on performance metrics from 1st generation cloud migration tools is inherently dangerous.
  • Visibility issues. If you simply lift and shift everything, you're not fully assessing and understanding your complete environment - this won't change in the cloud. Lift and shift projects don't develop native-cloud skills. This, in turn, makes it very difficult to extract additional value from a legacy workload and achieve cloud benefits, such as automated performance management and stability.

The lift and shift approach is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Heading into migration without a clear roadmap isn't a good long-term strategy.

But thankfully, many businesses can enjoy the benefits of successful cloud migration by taking the time to understand and transform their IT estates.

Transform your apps the smart way

A cloud migration is a complex endeavour that requires IT leaders to weigh the risks, complexity and potential benefit of each application. While lift and shift is a viable option – and can be a good starting point - it isn’t likely to fit in with the transformative goals of your modern business.

Businesses need visibility into their estates and a science-driven roadmap. That's where our platform comes in.

Using logic-driven decision trees, risk and complexity scoring, and decades' worth of enterprise experience, AppScore dives into your application estate to create tailored cloud migration strategies, based upon the 6Rs model.

It goes beyond the suboptimal 'lift and shift' approach and finds the best route for migration.

If you'd like to chat about the AppScore platform in more depth, get in touch with our team of experts.

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