Cloud Myth: ‘Lift and Shift’ Is a Cloud Migration

Early in the process of adopting the cloud, many companies consider moving applications to the cloud by simply taking the application off of servers running in their own data center and move them to servers they’ve created in the cloud.

This type of migration is often called a simple “lift and shift.”

Lift and shift is a valid way to very quickly get your application out of your data center and into a cloud-based data center. But while this approach is quick and easy, it isn’t typically very effective. This is because it doesn’t do anything to make your application “friendly” to the cloud.

Pros and cons of lift and shift

There are some benefits to this approach, such as the ability to use cloud regions as a method of expanding your data center reach. That’s usually where the benefits of this approach stop, however. In fact, the cloud can actually be inferior at basic application hosting such as this when compared with your own data center. This is true in one big area in particular: cost.

The cloud can and does provide significant cost benefits for users that take advantage of the dynamic allocation capabilities of cloud resources.

But when it comes to the static hosting of a fixed-size application, the cloud typically can’t compare in cost to the basic, static infrastructure provided by a non-cloud data center. When you use the dynamic capabilities of the cloud, you can save money. If you simply lift and shift, you typically don’t save money. The economics of how the cloud works tend to work against you, and you often spend more and your overall bill is higher in the cloud for these types of applications.

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