What to Consider Before a Lift and Shift Migration

Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

There are many pathways to the cloud, and one of the major types of pathways is called a lift and shift migration, also known as rehosting. For many organizations, a lift and shift cloud migration can be the perfect way to migrate environments to the cloud. 

Lift and shift migrations are one of the easiest migrations to perform due to their nature of rehosting instead of completely changing the original environment. This strategy instead features moving workloads from a source environment to a target environment with minor or no modifications or refactoring. The starting point for organizations looking to migrate includes an on-premises environment, a private hosting environment, or another public cloud environment.

And while lift and shift migrations may be the “easiest” to accomplish, that doesn’t mean careful considerations and planning don’t need to happen beforehand. And organizations aren’t alone. In fact, there are solution experts like Pandera that outline the entire cloud migration process, from planning and strategizing to the execution itself.

Here are a few areas to consider before a lift and shift migration.

POC and Experimenting with Lift and Shift Migration Solutions

A proof of concept (POC) is used to verify that some concept or theory has practical potential. Essentially, an effective POC outlines the bridge between expectation and reality. 

POCs will allow organizations to prove that the migration from a source system to a target system is possible, and takes into account the possible downtime window. Additionally, the POC will outline a plan to prove requirements before the migration as well as map out issues, and identify bottlenecks that may arise. 

This assessment period where POC and experiments are utilized is crucial. Choosing a proof of concept and implementing it, or experimenting with products, helps to validate use cases or any areas of uncertainty.

Defined Success Criteria

As part of a POC for a lift and shift migration, a major consideration should be defined success criteria. Every business is different in terms of goals. And outlining specific metrics and criteria of success will help pinpoint possible bottlenecks or issues that may arise. 

Some questions that help to define success criteria include:

  • What’s the real value we are hoping to achieve?
  • What are we comparing this to?
  • Are we testing a specific business process?
  • Do we need to do this immediately?

Outlining defined success criteria is important, not only for the business as a whole but also to measure exactly what are the expected outcomes. As part of the POC, defined success criteria are a necessary consideration for any cloud migration strategy.

Timeline and Scope

Another important area to consider before a lift and shift migration is the timeline for the migration. In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to migrate an application or workloads retiring within the next 12 months. 

The timeline for a cloud migration showcases the impact of cost. A longer timeline for the migration may allow for more modernization, but that can become costly. 

Scope comes into play when considering the timeline of a lift and shift migration. Outline which workloads to migrate first. This can be done based on risk and priority. For example, if an application is critical to business, should it be the first moved? Or will that prove to be a high-risk situation because business is so critically dependent on it?

Analyze Workloads and Network Environments

With the scope of a lift and shift cloud migration, making a comprehensive inventory of applications and workloads can help to provide the best migration path. Gathering fine-grained details around the existing server environment showcase the server affinities and dependencies. 

Additionally, consider outlining network diagrams and high-level system architectures to gain a better understanding of the original environment. Diagrams should include information such as:

  • CDNs
  • VPNs
  • DNS records
  • Switches
  • Routers
  • Load balancers
  • Firewalls
  • Servers
  • Domain controllers

This information is essential to map out the best route of a lift and shift migration to the cloud. 

Compliance, Licensing, and Security

Before migrating from any environment, especially a private on-premises one,  to a private or public cloud, consider evaluating your migration plan and the cloud provider’s infrastructure. This will ensure all compliance requirements will be met during and after the migration. 

There are certain applications and software that are licensed, and oftentimes these licenses are transferable. However, organizations need to note that some licenses do not transfer to the cloud, which can create issues during migration and lead to costly waiting periods. To be ahead of the curve, take clear consideration into what licenses are currently in use and which can be migrated.

Security is another essential consideration to plan for. Of course, organizations have business-critical workloads and sensitive data. And in the cloud, protection of these requires crafting a cloud-specific security strategy. Performing a security assessment to implement in a cloud environment provides a view into the requirements of the migrated data and workloads that are the most crucial to business and outlines security needs.

Why a Lift and Shift Migration?

As mentioned above, there are other types of cloud migration. The other two major types are “move and improve” and “rip and replace.” 

A big challenge for organizations can be the downtime that comes with other types of cloud migration. A lift and shift allow for teams to continue to use the same set of tools and skills that they were using before. Every business is different, however. So it comes down to the needs of the business what the success criteria are for the business.

For organizations such as PwC, a lift and shift strategy fit their needs, as their former static infrastructure utilizing AWS presented issues such as high hosting and upgrade process costs.

In the end, PwC was able to migrate to Google Cloud, which resulted in a more secure and stable environment while also delivering exponential savings in hosting and maintenance costs.

So why a lift and shift migration instead of other types? Essentially, this cloud migration strategy offers numerous benefits, such as reduced operational costs, infrastructure flexibility, and getting to the cloud now.

An easy consideration before any cloud migration is who will provide flexible solutions depending on your business needs.

As a Google Cloud Premier Partner, Pandera is there to help you with an end-to-end approach. Whether you need to exit or reduce on-premises data centers, migrate workloads as is, modernize apps, or leave another cloud, we’ll work together to craft the right cloud migration solutions for you and your business. 

Learn more about how Pandera can help accelerate your cloud modernization efforts today!

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