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Cloud lift and shift
Cloud lift and shift

Cloud lift and shift

Moving business applications to the cloud without modifying them to take full advantage of the cloud.

Cloud lift and shift enables organizations to get out of the capital expense of owning a data center but can incur performance issues and additional costs. Approach with caution.

What is it?

Moving an application to the cloud without modifying it to exploit cloud's potential its flexibility and pay-as-you-use options.

What’s in it for you?

It can eliminate your need for long-term, expensive investments in data centers.

What are the trade-offs?

By not optimizing your applications for the cloud, you’re liable to incur additional costs and suffer performance issues.

How is it being used?

Cloud lift and shift can be helpful where organizations have an urgent need to move applications out of existing data centers.

What is it?

Cloud lift and shift entails moving your business applications to the cloud without optimizing them to run in the cloud. Typically, this means replacing the on-premise computers and networks on which an application runs with similar—but not identical— virtualized cloud services.

A lift and shift strategy does enable an organization to rapidly move to the cloud. And if your data center is approaching its end of life, lift and shift can be useful.

But unless you have a strategy to modernize those applications in the long term, you’ll end up making suboptimal use of the cloud. You may not be able to take advantage of cloud’s flexibility or pay-as-you-use options.

What’s in for you?

If you have an urgent need to move out of your data center or if your legacy application is too complex to rearchitect, lift and shift can help the transition to the cloud.

What are the trade offs?

If your applications aren’t optimized for the cloud, they can use more compute, storage and network resources than necessary — which means you’re wasting money.

You might also encounter a performance hit, when compared to how your applications ran in your data center. Again, that can result in a financial hit for your enterprise.

One of the big risks with cloud lift and shift is that businesses assume they’ll be able to do the necessary rearchitecting work down the line, only to discover that it’s harder and takes longer than they planned for.

You’ll also need to consider the security implications of cloud lift and shift. Traditional applications in your data center would likely have used perimeter-based security through the use of firewalls and zoning. In the cloud, such approaches are obsolete, leaving you with a question of how to secure the applications that you’ve lifted and shifted.

How is it being used?

Sometimes, cloud lift and shift is used carefully, as a stop-gap measure to move out of the data center and with a careful plan to subsequently modernize the applications. 

But too often, lift and shift is done because enterprises are treating the cloud as just another hosting option. Some cloud providers have encouraged companies to move everything to the cloud as fast as possible. This fails to realize the cloud's promises of agility and digital innovation.

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