Lift-and-Shift or Refactor: Which Migration Methodology is Right for You?
Jun 21, 2022
By Anthony Loss, Sr. Solutions Architect, ClearScale
More and more organizations are migrating workloads to the cloud every day. In fact, 70% of European companies consider it to be a top priority right now. According to Mordor Intelligence, the value of the cloud migration services market will reach nearly $450B by 2026, representing a 29% CAGR going back to 2021. In other words, companies are adopting the cloud in droves, and they need help. What’s driving this growth?
The cloud offers immense computing power without the need to manage IT infrastructure on-premises. IT teams can scale, innovate, and automate easily on the cloud. With Amazon Web Services (AWS), especially, engineers have access to powerful tools and cloud solutions that make maintaining IT infrastructure easier than ever. However, many companies still haven’t made the transition.
One key reason is that leaders don’t know where to start when it comes to the migration process. Executives know there is value in adopting the cloud or moving to one of today’s leading platforms, but they don’t know how to get there. In this post, we’ll explain what it means to migrate IT infrastructure to the cloud. We’ll also dive into two popular migration methodologies executives should consider going forward: the lift-and-shift migration approach and the refactor approach.
What is a Cloud Migration?
Migrating to the cloud refers to the process of moving applications, data, and other IT elements to a cloud computing ecosystem. Some of the leading cloud computing ecosystems right now include AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. These providers enable users to tap into vast cloud computing infrastructure and tools on an as-needed basis.
There are multiple ways to think about the cloud migration process. Cloud providers typically talk about 6 migration methodologies:
These methodologies can generally be grouped into two categories. It’s helpful to think about migrations in terms of lift-and-shift projects versus refactoring projects when considering a migration.
The Lift-and-Shift Approach
The lift-and-shift migration approach is the most straightforward and quickest way to get on the cloud. This approach involves taking copies of existing server disks that are on-premises, in another cloud, or at a colocation site and deploying them in another cloud platform.
The downside of the lift-and-shift approach is that it doesn’t leverage the benefits of the new cloud environment. So, moving on-premises IT to AWS with the lift-and-shift approach, for instance, wouldn’t take full advantage of everything AWS has to offer. At the same time, lift-and-shift engagements are faster and less risky overall.
The Refactoring Approach
The refactoring migration approach, also known as the migration-as-code or pipeline-driven migration approach, involves taking a central application code repository and deploying it to new cloud infrastructure that will support the application.
This approach has several benefits:
- It utilizes the native tools of the cloud platform
- It enables right-sizing and auto-scaling
- It allows for the use of certain code factors, like Lambda functions and NoSQL databases
- It opens the door for decoupled, or microservices, architecture
The refactoring approach takes more time and is more complicated than the lift-and-shift approach. Companies have to set up pipelines to be able to deploy their code to designated cloud endpoints. Without these pipelines, the refactoring methodology isn’t possible. But doing so is often necessary to unlock the true value of the cloud.
Migrate to AWS with ClearScale
After completing hundreds of migrations to the AWS Cloud, ClearScale has deep experience in both of the migration methodologies described here. Over the years, our team has earned 100+ AWS technical certifications, as well as the AWS Migration competency. We help companies decide which approach is best for their needs and goals.
Our engineers lead clients through an in-depth discovery process to see what cloud capabilities they have already. We also make sure that clients have a robust AWS Landing Zone, or we create one for them so they have the foundation they need to grow in AWS over time.
After deciding on a methodology, we execute the migration following an agile approach, ensuring minimal downtime and data loss. As an AWS Premier Tier Services partner, we also have access to special funding opportunities and support from AWS. We don’t force clients into a specific type of migration, and we are flexible enough to adapt within projects as we learn more about our clients’ needs. These benefits help maximize the ROI and effectiveness of our migration projects.
Major organizations like Acoustic, Boingo, and The Sierra Club have trusted us to move mission-critical infrastructure to the cloud while modernizing essential resources. To learn more about how we could lead you through a successful, large-scale migration, download the eBook Prepare and Plan for Your AWS Migration. Then, schedule a call with us. We’re happy to discuss what’s possible once you are up and running on AWS.
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