Moving Beyond a Lift and Shift Migration Strategy

 In Cloud Migration and Planning

It is not ground breaking news that organization are migrating to the cloud to make things easier and more cost effective for their business. The cloud simplifies scalability so you can easily scale your resources to meet fluctuating workload needs. It reduces complexity, simplifying the roles of your IT personnel, eliminating the necessity to support and maintain hardware and on-prem resources. Additionally, the cloud offers additional tools that augment and simplify management. Simplification yields large benefits. It is no wonder why so many companies like the cloud. Gartner forecasts By 2023, cloud spending will account for 56% of total enterprise application spending, up from 44% in 2018.

The move to cloud creates new roadblocks and challenges for IT, like moving your on-premises applications and associated data in a cloud environment. When it comes to this process, we  also want it to be as easy as possible. We tend to move the easy stuff first. When people move to a new house and handle the moving process themselves, they tend to move the easy stuff first, putting off those heavy or complex items as long as possible.

What is Lift and Shift?

A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Lift and shift is the straight line to get your application migrated to the cloud. As the name infers, you simply lift the code out of its current environment and shift it to another. It gets to the cloud in the shortest time with the least amount of effort. The faster you get to the cloud, the faster you can abandon rigid outdated hardware and begin capitalizing on the greater agility, scalability and cost savings that the cloud offers.

Not All Apps can be Lift and Shift Candidates

Because a lift and shift migration strategy requires minimal rearchitecting it requires less time and resources. Some applications are suited for this type of migration. The closer the data and applications are in proximity to one another, the easier it is to collectively move them. The newer the application the more likely it can qualify for lift and shift. This is because the people who installed the application are still available and there is ample documentation on it. Off the shelf applications are also far easier to move than customized business applications.

If everything could only be as easy as lift and shift. Unfortunately, it cannot. Enterprise applications are not condensed and delivered into a convenient package like a desktop application and some were installed so long ago that their history is a complete mystery. Then there are some applications that are simply not compatible with the cloud due to legacy protocol dependency. Think about the endeavor of moving your household furnishings. You simply cannot just move your family room belongings as is into your new home. The walls and layout may be different. The windows are in a different place. You find yourself having to redesign things, leaving some things behind because they simply do not fit.

This is the case for enterprises as well. The environment hosting some of your applications on-prem may be vastly different than the proposed cloud environment. Consider some of these typical complications and questions internal IT must face:

  • Older legacy applications often reside on older operating systems, some which may not be supported as well. For environments that utilize thousands of servers, internal IT may not even be sure what these operating systems are. Can the new applications be ported for a new OS?
  • Some applications may be dependent on virtualization HA features for redundancy. Are these features supported in the new cloud environment?
  • How many servers does the application utilize? If application servers and the database must be moved in different phases over time, can the application withstand the latency of traffic moving between cloud and on-premises?
  • In a CAPEX on-premises world, the over-provisioning of applications wasn’t detrimental to your bottom line. In the OPEX world of the cloud, it is essential to carefully match the required resources for your applications.
  • Complex applications that are widely dispersed across your on-premises infrastructure usually rely on an intricate web of mappings for dependent services and resources. Unless these mappings are extremely well documented, any thoughts of lift and shift are nearly impossible.

The Right Tool for the Job

As anyone who has undertaken a do-it-yourself home project can assert, the right tool makes all the difference. It can turn a daunting task into a far easier endeavor. The same is true for cloud migrations. Those remaining applications that cannot simply be lifted and shifted can still be moved. All you need is a strategy. In order to have a strategy you need to know everything about them. iQCloud is a fully automated workload discovery and assessment solution that gives you the necessary service-centric view of your entire IT estate. With the data and insights into application dependencies, infrastructure, and cloud cost comparisons you can plan your migration strategy for simple or complex workloads. If you are like most companies, you have already completed the easy lift and shift projects. But the remaining projects can be much easier than you first thought with iQCloud.

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