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What is lift and shift?

Lift and shift is a strategy for migrating legacy applications to the cloud, taking them offline first before uploading them to the cloud. Once uploaded, a lift and shift approach can make use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS).

Benefits of lift and shift

Lift and shift is a cost-effective way of migrating an application from onsite servers to cloud servers as lift and shift doesn't require the modification of the applications being migrated.

With a lift-and-shift approach, data first needs to be uploaded into cloud storage before it can be used by developers running future features for their new cloud-based application. By uploading the data in this way, it is possible to carry out operations on cloud-based data without using an internet connection, meaning the application can be used by a wider range of businesses with slower internet speeds. Once everything has been uploaded, a lift-and-shift approach can then be used again to add new features for users.

One of lift and shift's most appealing features is that it allows companies to implement cloud storage without giving up access to their current on-premises data. Although this seems like a great way to boost efficiency, a lift-and-shift cloud migration comes with its own set of challenges for IT teams who are not experienced in migrating services.

Companies who decide to use a lift-and-shift strategy should work with a cloud provider that makes the integration and migration seamless.

The lift-and-shift process

The lift-and-shift process is often used as an alternative to a full-scale cloud migration and can be a very effective proof of concept. The lift-and-shift process is used to migrate select pieces of data and application databases, which are left on-premises while the cloud storage is set up for future use. A good example is Oracle Database.

The first step in the lift-and-shift process is to prepare both your on-premises and cloud environments. You should set up the cloud platform with a test environment before moving any applications or data. Oracle Databases need to be prepared in order for them to take advantage of the cloud's elasticity, so you will need time before data is migrated.

Once your on-premises and cloud infrastructure has been set up and tested, you can start the lift-and-shift process. The lift-and-shift process should be done in a phased approach, otherwise it could cause conflicts with your on-premises applications. Select only certain pieces of data to move at first to more quickly and efficiently deliver them to the cloud.

Once you have completed a successful lift-and-shift process, you can continue to move more data pieces. When your cloud-based infrastructure is running smoothly with all data migrated over you can begin migrating your applications.

When to choose lift and shift as an option

Now, let’s look at some of the key considerations and risks to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to shift data into the cloud.

First, you need to be aware that there is a difference between data “shifting” and data “transferring.” Data can be shifted from your system to the cloud for storage, but it may require some work, such as reengineering, before it can be used again.

In some cases, the data being stored in the cloud may not be compatible with your original system and may need to be transformed before it can be used. For example, you might choose to store your Oracle data in a cloud-based Microsoft SQL Server removals solution.

Only move or transfer data that will definitely be used again when you migrate to the cloud. If your data isn't useful after it has been shifted, there is little point in storing it in the cloud and paying for the service.

Second, ensure that you understand exactly where your data will be stored when using a cloud storage solution. Data might be processed or moved through several different locations before it finally reaches the cloud, so be sure that you know where your data is stored at all times, especially if you're storing sensitive information.

Finally, there are several security concerns to keep in mind when moving data into or out of the cloud. Data can be vulnerable during transit between servers and while it's being processed, so make sure that you are aware of any potential security issues.

Bear all these factors in mind before considering shifting your data into the cloud to ensure that it is stored securely, completely, and for a minimal cost.

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