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Lift and Shift Migration Vs Rearchitecting When Moving to the Cloud

When looking at making the move to the cloud, one of the first decisions to be made is how you are going to go about it. There is no one right answer. It is understanding the benefits and drawbacks of different routes that will enable you to choose the right option for your organisation. In this blog, we take a look at lift and shift versus rearchitecting.

Lift and Shift the Cloud

Let’s take a look at the lift and shift migration strategy, what it is, its benefits, drawbacks and how it compares to other migration strategies.

What is Lift and Shift to the Cloud?

As the name suggests, lift and shift migration is when the application and its data are migrated to the cloud server with very minimal architectural changes or code refactoring. The idea is to migrate the application with little or no changes, therefore getting access to cloud benefits in the cheapest and fastest way.

Lift and Shift is the most common approach to system migration from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure. It is also called re-hosting.

There are tools offered by cloud service providers to ease the migration process such as Azure Migrate and AWS Application Migration Service. These are one-stop solutions to migrate from any environment to the cloud.

Azure Migrate - Hub for Datacentre Migration

We wrote a blog particularly looking at one of these tools in the integration sphere if you are curious: The BizTalk Migrator/Azure Integration Migrator.

Benefits of Lift and Shift to the Cloud

  • This route is the fastest time to production, it is a quick path to the cloud.
  • You can use existing knowledge of managing on-premises infrastructure while upskilling as you continue to work every day. This is often optimal for SMBs.
  • It is a relatively inexpensive option and provides immediate cost benefits.

Drawbacks of Lift and Shift to the Cloud

  • The ongoing operational costs can be expensive because you’re not leveraging cloud efficiencies.
  • Applications will run without optimisation due to no re-architecting.

When to Use Lift and Shift to the Cloud?

Every case is different but most organisations will find the right time to look at this type of migration is when on-premises infrastructure costs are too high and you want to bring it down rapidly. Or fast migration is required due to data centre lease expiration or end of support for older non-cloud products.

Application Rearchitecting

Let’s take a look at the re-factoring strategy, what it is, its benefits, drawbacks and how it compares to other migration strategies.

What is Rearchitecting?

Rearchitecting involves revamping the old legacy applications into modern architecture. This may involve modifying the application, adding new features, removing unwanted features and possibly re-writing the majority of the code.

Though this is not the most common approach, many mid-scale and large-scale companies re-architect their core products and services before migrating to the cloud. This makes the most of the cloud-native features and as requirements for business function change from time to time, a chance is made for new/amended features.

Benefits of Rearchitecting

  • Having optimised your application you can fully make use of all cloud features
  • Enjoy a fully optimised and modern application built for the cloud and the current business needs
  • Save money in the long-term by optimising the application for the cloud

Drawbacks of Rearchitecting

  • Longer journey to the cloud as the application needs to be modernised before migration
  • More expensive option due to the development work required in modernisation

When to Rearchitect before Migration?

For larger businesses with more complex software, it can often make the most sense in the long-term to rearchitect and then migrate. Your legacy software continues in use meaning there is no downtime while your software gets the facelift it needs for the cloud. If you have the money and time to invest in this strategy, the long-term rewards can be great.

Rearchitect before cloud migration – A case study

One of the best examples of this is Netflix. It took almost seven years for Netflix to migrate to the cloud and close all of its data centres. This was not merely a lift and shift but involved re-architecting their entire product. A business like Netflix could afford the time and money this involved while also allowing the product to evolve rapidly.

Over seven years, their viewing membership has increased 10 times. Not to forget their ever-increasing target platforms and devices. Netflix’s approach to migration came at the right time. Supporting such rapid growth in viewership and the devices would have been extremely difficult if it were not for the cloud migration.

Soon after they migrated to the cloud, they also went global and expanded their service to 130 countries, making use of the cloud regions around the world i.e. expanding their global infrastructure capacity.

Strangler Pattern Approach

An additional method worth mentioning is the strangler pattern. The strangler pattern approach to migration is one some organisations adopt in which the older legacy system is put behind an intermediary façade. Then over time, the newer system will replace the legacy system.

However, if things go wrong, the rollback plan for each refactored instance is going to be huge. So this is not the best approach for a company short of resources.

Rearchitect or Lift and Shift: which one is right for you?

In the end, it really depends on the IT budget of the organization, and your application’s existing architecture and design pattern, but we hope this blog has helped in your decision making.

For an example of lift and shift to the cloud, check out this case study:

For examples of application rearchitecting, take a look at any of these case studies:

As part of the Transparity Group, we are primed to help you migrate to the cloud in whichever way suits you best. Get in touch or call us on 01342 410223.

Post Terms: Cloud Migration | Lift and shift | Migrating to Azure | Rearchitecting

About the Author

Our technical team contribute with blogs from their respective specialities, be that Azure, SQL, BizTalk, SharePoint, Xamarin and more. From the lead architect to developers and testers, each person provides content straight from their experience.

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