Migrating mission-critical business applications to the cloud infrastructure can introduce multiple strategic and economic benefits, but the practicality of doing so often leaves IT managers scratching their heads. Workload migration to cloud-based services can change an enterprise’s IT landscape, tapping into the scale and agility of the cloud while converting CAPEX to OPEX. AWS has identified six main migration strategies that their customers have successfully used to migrate legacy systems and applications to the cloud. Each has its own pros, cons, and recommended use cases.
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 “lift and shift” — or, rehosting — migration strategy involves replicating in-house applications in the cloud without redesigning or re-architecting them. As such, it offers some clear advantages on being fast, highly automated, and easy over other options especially if the migration is large and needs to be accomplished quickly. 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. This is a minimal-risk approach to get maximum ROI. 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 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.
Re-architecting and/or redesigning applications to function optimally in the cloud is certainly an option, although the time and expense involved making it less than viable for many organizations. On the other hand, simply rehosting your applications in the cloud offers a budget-friendly alternative that gets the job done quickly. The lift and shift approach uses the same architecture constructs even after the migration to the cloud takes place. That means there are no significant changes required in terms of the business processes associated with the application as well as monitoring and management interfaces.
One of the key measures of success in any large-scale migration is that how seamless the migration is as far as end-users are concerned. A successful migration ensures that all of the functionality the end-users enjoyed prior to moving to the cloud should be readily available after the migration is complete, and at the same level of consistency, speed, and quality. This is certainly possible with rehosting, but — as with any migrations of mission-critical applications — it requires careful planning and execution. Multiple organizations have found that the expertise of a trusted and experienced cloud migration partner is invaluable in accomplishing this. 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 the cloud, which will provide similar capabilities.
In the case of off-the-shelf third-party applications (such as Atlassian Jira), the “lift and shift” strategy is essentially a no-brainer since re-architecting isn’t an option. So, if your organization relies heavily on third-party apps, this may well be the best option for you even if you have the resources available to invest in redesign prior to migration. A lift and shift allow you to migrate your on-premises identity services components such as Active Directory to the cloud along with the application. Security and compliance management in a lift and shift cloud migration is relatively simple as you can translate the requirements to controls that should be implemented against compute, storage, and network resources
Once the migration is completed, the organization begins enjoying the numerous benefits that come from every successful cloud migration:
Lower infrastructure costs
These benefits can translate to other important gains including:
Greater flexibility to introduce new tools and methodologies
More options for optimization and continuous improvement
Conserved resources that can be invested in growth and development
So, if you’re considering a large-scale migration to a cloud environment, you need to provide a fast, seamless experience for your end-users. If you rely heavily on third-party applications (like the Atlassian tech stack), the “lift and shift” rehosting migration strategy may be the best option for you. We’d like to help you “lift and shift” your applications to AWS. Please reach out to Addteq