Lift and Shift

What is lift and shift?

A migration from private cloud to public cloud that does not involve re-architecting a client-server application to be rewritten to be optimized for a modern cloud-based environment, you don’t have to stop to redesign the app or operations workflow. Often, the complexity of an application or operation is a key factor in deciding whether something should be lifted and shifted or re-architected from scratch as a new native cloud app or operation.  In the early days of cloud computing, the lift-and-shift approach was a common option for replicating on-premises apps in the cloud while avoiding costly, time-consuming re-design. However, many legacy colocation applications that were lifted and shifted to the cloud were not able to take full advantage of the cost-efficiencies of native cloud features, including autoscaling. While commercial, off-the-shelf applications with easily defined patterns were often good candidates for lifting and shifting, re-architecting was often a better option for resource-intensive apps, such as those used for big data analysis and image rendering.  A common approach to lift and shift is to move an application to the cloud in order to reduce on-premises infrastructure costs in the short term, but then refactoring the app once it’s in the cloud.

Lift and shift is generally a quick and easy way to eliminate the expensive overhead costs of maintaining on-premises servers. By simply rehosting applications in a cloud environment, organizations can continue to operate with minimal service interruption and avoid the high potential costs of rebuilding or redesigning their systems. Lift and shift makes it possible to make necessary changes over time without compromising crucial business operations. Once everything is in the public cloud, it’s a simple matter of making minor adjustments as needed, avoiding the problem of maintaining two separate infrastructures and putting off migration until everything is “just right.”

Lift and shift is often implemented as rehosting through an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider.

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