Cloud Migration Services: Application Modernization vs. Lift-and-Shift
There are many cloud migration strategies and deployment models for you to choose from in today’s cloud landscape. It can be difficult to balance the cost and the desired results. The planning stage of cloud migration alone may have you second guessing your choice to migrate.
One thing we do know is that the time to migrate is right now. Companies are afraid of falling behind, thus even the largest organizations are migrating. However, it’s not just as simple as migrating or not migrating. The question you must ask is, “Do we modernize our applications or do we simply lift-and-shift to the cloud?”
Lift and Shift on the Rise
Boutique technology-enabled service cloud migration solution providers, like Racemi, have offered lift-and-shift cloud migration services for years. Large global system integrators (GSI’s), like Accenture, have offered application modernization services for equally as long. As often as companies would like to modernize everything and migrate completely to the cloud, this is not always an option, nor the most value.
Balancing the needs of your business and understanding which applications need transformation and which simply need to be migrated directly will optimize the cost and effectiveness of your organization’s cloud migration. Determining which option best suits your needs will govern the timeliness of the migration and the benefits you will receive. If you’re nervous about how cloud migration will affect the development of your business operations, you can ease your worries.
Enterprises are Split on What’s Most Important
Forrester Research surveyed 594 North American and European infrastructure technology decision makers whose firms (all over 1,000 employees) are planning to implement, have implemented, or are expanding cloud. One question stood out:
“In regard to modernizing your existing business application portfolio, which of the following action(s) will your firm take?
- 68% of organizations will “migrate existing applications to the cloud”.
- 59% of organizations will “evolve our application portfolio to promote agility and innovation”.
As you can see, the majority of decision makers decided they will both migrate their existing applications (i.e. lift-and-shift) AND evolve and transform their current application portfolio to make their business more agile and innovative. Therefore, a balance of application modernization and direct cloud migration is VERY important, especially in large organizations. There are benefits to both methods and striking the right balance can greatly benefit your organization.
If you’re still second guessing whether migration is right for your business, you’ll definitely want to take a look at Why Some Enterprises Lead in Cloud Adoption – and others lag behind.
Models to Assess for your Company
The importance of a balance between direct migration and application modernization is clear, but getting started is never easy. Here are four simple migration models to get you on the right track:
- Direct Migration (Lift-and-Shift). Direct migration is by the far the fastest method. You are basically copying the current application portfolio and moving it to the cloud with little to no changes. Direct migration is a cost-effective, quick way of migrating to the cloud but provides very little customization and application optimization.
- Lift-and-Extend (Optimize). The lift-and-extend method, used by Racemi, offers increased ability to customize and enhance applications. Essentially, an organization’s applications will be re-hosted in the public cloud and can be adjusted while hosted on a PaaS layer. This method makes it so an organization can simultaneously migrate its workload to the cloud while also making steps to modernize its applications. Many successful Enterprise organizations have used this method – many others will follow.
- Hybrid Extension. Hybrid extension is similar to lift-and-extend, except instead of changing much of an application itself, you leave the bulk of an application’s functionality untouched, and kept in a private cloud, on-site, or a managed hosting provider instead of on the public cloud. That way, a GSI (or other service provider) can build out additional capabilities in the public cloud first.
- Full Rebuild. The full rebuild method is true to its name. Applications can be completely rebuilt in their new destination architecture. Larger, more experienced GSI’s are best suited for this type of work as it is very time intensive, expensive and requires deep expertise. Organizations should utilize this method only for a small number of highly important workloads.
Bringing It All Together
The time to migrate is right now. However, it’s not just as simple as migrating to the cloud or not migrating. When planning your organization’s cloud migration, evaluating a combination of the above options – and avoiding the cloud migration “gotchas” – will optimize your chance of cloud migration success.
(All facts and information from March 2017, Forrester Research article titled, “Vendor Landscape: Cloud Migration Services”.)