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What is lift and shift cloud migration?
What's a lift and shift cloud migration? And when does a lift and shift migration strategy make the most sense for you? Learn the basics behind rehosting.
What is lift and shift cloud migration?
Cloud Migration, Fundamentals
May 11, 2021 14 Minute Read
What is a lift and shift cloud migration? Lift and shift (or rehosting) is one way you might consider moving to the cloud. Simply put, lift and shift means moving a copy of an existing application and data to cloud infrastructure with minimal or no redesigning or modification. This often means moving to a public cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Cloud computing is an interesting paradigm shift in technology. On one hand, the decision to move to the cloud is obvious: you only pay for what you use, and you can spend less time managing your backend infrastructure and more time innovating on your unique market differentiator.
But when you look more closely, the decision to migrate to the cloud isn’t what’s saving you time and money. It’s how you do it.
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To get maximum ROI from cloud computing, you have to deeply understand the services available to you, or you’ll just be running the same infrastructure on someone else’s computer. This is lovingly referred to as a ‘lift and shift’ migration — or taking your applications as they run in your data centers and simply replicating them in a cloud environment.
The companies that are seeing the millions saved on compute costs and increases in product innovation are the ones who have used the cloud elegantly through refactoring and decoupling because they have a workforce that thinks and operates with a cloud-first mindset.
It can take years to mature to this level of cloud understanding, so companies are seeing value quickly by taking iterative migration approaches.
What is the lift and shift model, and when does it make sense?
Rehosting is the fancy name for lift and shift. Sometimes with legacy applications, it makes the most sense to simply rehost the existing application in a cloud infrastructure. An example of this is if your existing application is in a virtual environment, you may be able to move it to a cloud environment that very similarly resembles the legacy infrastructure.
In this case, a lift and shift approach can be the fastest way to cost savings. By replicating your application in a cloud environment, you can take advantage of benefits like auto-scaling and pay per consumption.
Many businesses start out with this approach when they don’t have many engineers with the skill-sets to work in a cloud-first environment. Replicating the existing application does not require a great deal of depth of cloud knowledge.
There are also some workloads that simply can’t be refactored, because they’re a third-party software or it’s not a business priority to do a total rewrite. Simply shifting to the cloud is the end of the line for these workloads.
But there are downsides to a lift and shift migration. Often this just shifts the spend from CapEx to OpEx expenditures. Leaders are sometimes left staring dubiously at their cloud bill feeling like they were sold on a dream that isn’t their reality.
What are other ways to approach a cloud migration?
The industry has coined a phrase called “The 6 Rs of Cloud Migration” to cover the different ways when you look at legacy applications and consider moving them to the cloud. This is useful when making a decision for each application in particular, as most companies don’t move everything at once.
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The 6 Rs of Cloud Migration
Rehosting: We already covered rehosting, aka “lift and shift.”Replatforming is when minor changes to the application architecture is necessary to move them to the cloud. Very close to rehosting, just with minor updates to code to function in a cloud environment.Re-purchasing is when feature decay or other logistics such as cost make the migration problematic. In these cases, it may be necessary to procure a third-party solution and acquire a software-as-a-service solution. There are entire ecosystems built cloud-first, and this type of business model has helped small companies grow rapidly.Refactoring (aka Rearchitecting): If new requirements of scale, speed to market, or other considerations apply, it may be advantageous to re-write large parts of an existing application. Refactoring/rearchitecting is the most complex of the 6 Rs, but it also has the highest opportunity for optimization.
Lift and Shift: Business Benefits, Planning and Execution
Workload migration to cloud can change an enterprise’s IT landscape. There are more ways than one. What is a lift and shift migration?
March 17, 2020
Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Cloud Sync, Data Migration, Customer Case Study, Advanced
Workload migration to cloud-based services can change an enterprise’s IT landscape, tapping into the scale and agility of cloud while converting CAPEX to OPEX. But how does one migrate to the cloud? It turns out there is more than one kind of cloud migration strategy.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to migrate an existing workload to the cloud is to take the workload as-is and run it on cloud-native resources: this is known as the “Lift & Shift” approach.
This blog will take a closer look at the lift and shift cloud migration approach, and explore the business benefits, planning, execution, security and other operations aspects of the process, along with how Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help.
Cloud Migration: Business Drivers and Methods
Organizations undergoing digital transformations are looking for avenues to modernize, innovate, and adapt their application landscapes to the latest technology available on the big public cloud platforms, such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The key business drivers that trigger discussions on migrating workloads to cloud are:
Shifting focus from underlying infrastructure and platforms to application innovation.
Unmatched availability, scalability, and agility of cloud resources when compared to on-premises deployments.
On-demand usage pattern and pay-as-you-go cost management offered by cloud, which helps to convert huge CAPEX to smaller chunks of OPEX.
Alternative solutions to replace end-of-life hardware/software.
Need for hybrid architecture to leverage services that are not available on-premises.
Effective compliance and security management.
The process, approach, and tools for migrating workloads to cloud are greatly dependent on the targeted cloud migration models: IaaS, PaaS or SaaS. Let’s take a closer look at each of these migration methods.IaaS (rehost, replatform): Moving applications to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model means moving an existing application or workload from on-prem deployment to a cloud-provider’s infrastructure. With this method there are no significant architecture changes to make. The easiest way to migrate applications to IaaS is rehosting using “lift and shift” or as-is migration approach. We’ll discuss this option further below.PaaS (refactor, rebuild): The Platform-as-a-Service approach uses cloud-provider configured platform to run your application’s code. As such, this method requires applications to be significantly refactored or modernized to fit into the target cloud platform. This migration method will include code rewrites, library updates, deployment pipeline modifications, and more for the workload to fit into the PaaS application framework. In some situations, the application may have to be totally rebuilt from scratch. In either case, the modifications mean spending considerable amounts of time and money before you can be cloud ready.SaaS (replace): Adopting a Software-as-a-Service offering means replacing functionalities or components of your existing workload with a SaaS service provided by another company. It’s faster than a PaaS migration, but it involves all the challenges of adopting a new technology, such as, restructuring parts of the architecture, create new interfaces, educating your teams on its use, and more. Other concerns include the complications of data migration, access management, vendor lock-in, etc.
Of all these options, the easiest and fastest way to get an existing app to the cloud is with a lift and shift, IaaS migration. Let’s take a closer look at what this method offers and why you should consider it for your application.
Lift and Shift Meaning
The lift and shift migration approach is about migrating your application and associated data to the cloud with minimal or no changes. Applications are effectively “lifted” from the existing environments and “shifted” as-is to a new hosting premises; i.e. in the cloud. As such, there are often no significant changes to make in the application architecture, data flow, or authentication mechanisms.
The major considerations in a lift and shift migration are the compute, storage, and network requirements of the application. They should be mapped from what is currently available in source infrastructure to the matching resources in the cloud provider. There is scope for significant cost savings during the migration, where over-provisioned on-prem resources can be analyzed and mapped to optimal resource SKUs in the cloud. As most of the cloud service providers offer on-the-fly upgrades, you can start with a smaller product and then move to a bigger one. This is a minimal-risk approach to get maximum ROI.
Advantages of the Lift and Shift Approach
Let us examine some of the key benefits of using Lift & Shift approach for workload migration to the cloud:
The lift and shift cloud migration approach does not demand any application-level changes as it is merely being rehosted on the cloud.
Workloads that demand specialized hardware, say for example, graphical cards or HPC, can be directly moved to specialized VMs in cloud, which will provide similar capabilities.
Lift and Shift: An Essential Guide
Learn more about lift and shift, a relatively fast and inexpensive way to migrate applications from on premises to cloud
Lift and Shift
By: IBM Cloud Education
10 December 2019 Migration
Lift and Shift
“Lift and shift” is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to migrate applications from on-premises to cloud. Learn about how lift and shift can advance your path to hybrid cloud.
What is lift and shift?
“Lift and shift,” also known as “rehosting,” is the process of migrating an exact copy of an application or workload (and its data store and OS) from IT one environment to another—usually from on-premises to public or private cloud.
Because it involves no change to application architecture and little or no change to application code, the lift and shift strategy enables a faster, less labor-intensive and (initially) less-costly migration compared to other processes. It’s also the fastest and least-expensive way for an organization to begin shifting IT dollars from capital expense (CapEx) to operational expense (OpEx) in order to initiate a hybrid cloud strategy and begin leveraging the more economical and extensible computing power, storage, and networking infrastructure of the cloud.
In the earlier days of cloud computing, lift and shift migration was worth considering for all but the oldest, most complex and most tightly coupled on-premises applications. But as cloud architectures have evolved—and enabled improved developer productivity and ever more favorable cloud pricing models—the long-term value of migrating an application ‘as-is’ that cannot leverage the cloud environment has diminished dramatically.
Today, lift and shift is considered primarily as an option for migrating workloads that are cloud-ready to some degree (e.g., VMware workloads, containerized applications, apps built on microservices architecture) or as a first step in the process of rearchitecting a monolithic application for the cloud, on the cloud.
Lift and shift benefits
Compared to continuing to run an application on-premises, lift and shift migration can offer several compelling benefits:A fast, cost-effective, minimally disruptive migration: Lift and shift lets you migrate quickly, without dedicating a large team to the task. The on-premises application can remain in place during the migration so that there’s no interruption of service, and the application experience remains identical to users.Potential for improved performance: Lift and shift offers the opportunity to run applications on updated, better-performing hardware, without having to purchase the hardware yourself.Expanded capacity while consolidating on-premises: Add compute capacity, storage, and additional network bandwidth from the cloud on a pay-by-use basis while consolidating your on-premises data center infrastructure and costs at the same time.Scalability on demand: Lift and shift can enable your organization to scale an application without purchasing and physically installing new computing capacity. You also won’t have to overprovision hardware to account for peak traffic periods.Cost-saving elasticity: Some applications may also take advantage of cloud elasticity—the ability to automatically spin-up and spin-down resources to precisely match demand. The greater your cloud’s elasticity and the more your application can leverage it, the more you stand to save by using only exactly the resources you need at any given time.Enhanced security: Once migrated, even legacy applications may be able to take advantage of cloud security services such as role-based access control, multifactor authentication, and unified hybrid security processes.Reduced on-premises data center costs and headaches: The more applications you can migrate to the cloud, the faster you can scale down your on-premises infrastructure and the costs of managing and maintaining it.A simple first step toward a hybrid cloud: Lift and shift is an easy way to move the applications most ready and best suited to a private or public cloud while you continue to host other applications workloads on-premises. With the proper management tools, you can manage the platforms together as a single, optimized infrastructure.
Again, lift and shift will not produce these benefits for all applications. An application that’s only partially optimized for the cloud environment may never realize the potential savings of cloud and may actually cost more to run on the cloud in the long run. If an application runs slowly or inefficiently on-premises, it is unlikely to run any better on the cloud without modification. Licensing costs and restrictions may make lift and shift migration prohibitively expensive or even legally impossible.
Lift and shift VMware workloads
VMware virtualization technology is ubiquitous in the enterprise. VMware represents 80% of the virtualization market, and 100% of the Fortune 100 use VMware to virtualize their on-premises data centers. Not surprisingly, most cloud providers offer VMware infrastructure for hosting applications, and some offer specialized tools and services for lift and shift VMware migrations to their clouds.
To lift and shift an existing VMware workload, the on-premises data center and the target cloud data center should share the same underlying VMware ESXi hypervisor and a common set of VMware- and vSphere API-compatible management tools and scripts. The cloud provider should have an operations team with the skills and experience to manage the VMware software stack.