Several years ago, Ed Anderson of Gartner estimated that organizations that failed to focus on cost-optimization processes would overspend by about 40% on cloud initiatives. In a world where it’s expected that, by 2024, upwards of 45% of IT spending will shift from traditional solutions with businesses making a cloud migration, failure to manage costs can really add up.
What is Lift and Shift?
In a previous article, we defined lift and shift as the strategy for moving workloads from one IT environment to another without redesigning applications or operations. Today, the Cloud is the intended destination for most of those relocated elements. With the array of environments, infrastructure, and applications inherent in legacy environments, lift and shift initiatives can range from simple to enhanced (meaning that there’s been some retooling of the environment in the move).
The benefits of lift and shift (also known as rehosting) includes cost savings. It also provides a way for companies to protect their investments in business workflow, logic, and free data from on-premises hardware.
Lift and shift is not the only path to the Cloud. Here again, Gartner is instrumental in identifying at least four other paths:
- Refactor – running applications on a cloud provider’s infrastructure
- Revise – modifying existing code to support legacy requirements and then shift to the Cloud. Some might refer to this as an “enhanced” lift and shift.
- Rebuild – discard old code and re-architect it in a cloud environment
- Replace – discard an existing application and replace it with off-the-shelf software delivered as a service.
“Choosing the optimal application-migration option is a decision that cannot be made in isolation,” said Richard Watson, research director at Gartner. “Any cloud-migration decision is, in essence, an application or infrastructure modernization decision and needs to be approached in the broader context of related application portfolio management and infrastructure portfolio management programs.”
Optimal Application Migrations
Will lift and shift, or an enhanced form of it, always be the right solution? The answer is an unequivocal “no”. However, the advantages of these approaches, which enable teams to migrate systems quickly without modifying their architecture, can create new opportunities for businesses. Next-generation IT solutions will rely on cloud-based models for successfully competing in and adjusting to the rapidly changing business environment.
One example of a successful shift to the cloud is Nasdaq. During the coronavirus pandemic, the company saw an unprecedented surge in demand for orders, quotes, trades, and other market data as a torrent of newly-minted day traders took to the markets. Fortunately, Nasdaq had previously moved its data warehouse to the Cloud and easily scaled to meet user’s needs. In the past, a surge like the one that occurred during 2020 would have meant ramping-up IT resources to manually install, configure and monitor additional capacity.
It took Netflix nearly a decade to shift its entire environment to the Cloud. Now, the company boasts that it can spin-up resources by the thousands, if needed, to meet customer demand.
Other opportunities for optimizing IT environments through the power of the Cloud manifest in different ways. Freeing up IT staff to work on core company projects is one. Now, instead of using valuable headcount in a stand-by capacity, in case something goes wrong, those resources can be working on projects that drive additional revenue. Cloud disaster recovery is another way of optimizing IT with a lift and shift to the Cloud. Moving data to a cloud location gives firms the security of a secondary, or even tertiary, high availability location for its data. Typically a cloud disaster recovery plan also has the benefit of cost savings.
Is Lift and Shift Right for Your Organization
Strategizing a move to the Cloud is going to vary from business to business. It may even vary from department to department within an organization. It’s important to ask what your business may look like down the road when considering a move. Will the applications and processes you’re using now still be relevant? Understanding the longer view of how your business will grow is an important first step. While that plan may change over time, it’s important to pick a direction. Think about what can continue to be handled on-premises and what applications are ripe for a move. Also, think about what that move may look like. Sometimes using out-of-the-box software as a service can provide a better solution than building an application yourself.
Guidance for cloud strategy and cloud-computing policies is available from experts. WALT Labs prides itself on helping thousands of companies make a move to the Cloud each year. Contact one of our experts today for a no-charge, no-obligation consultation.