The telltale signs you are being set up for a ‘lift and shift’ cloud migration

ct4 lift and shift

The telltale signs you are being set up for a ‘lift and shift’ cloud migration

“Have you moved to the cloud yet?” This question, along with an almost wide-eyed anxiety, is dominating the business world right now. The unconsidered response is either: “Yes of course, everything is in the cloud” or “No, but we’re going to move everything”.

This kind of ‘lift and shift’ of everything approach is fraught with unnecessary risk, stress and cost. There is another way to respond to this question. And quite frankly it’s the only response that makes any sense in terms of cost, operations and transition. It’s ”Yes, but we’re trying to right-size and optimise in preparation’. In this article we tease out what the ‘lift and shift’ looks like, why it’s never the right answer and how to implement a much better option.


Signs you are in ‘lift and shift’ mode

‘Lift and shift’ is just what it sounds like. It’s when you, or an IT provider who you are paying as an expert, simply takes your on-premise solution and replicates it in the cloud. This is often done with little or no review. It’s seen as easy and low-risk. It’s the ‘same old’ approach. And it can lead to serious problems which we will get to soon.

Here are a few questions that might help you determine if you’re about to do some ‘lifting and shifting’, a good reason to pause and reconsider your transition planning:

• How much ground work has your IT team or systems integrator done? What systems are currently in use and how will they be impacted by the shift? What does the business need and how will this be maintained or improved by the shift to the cloud? We find that most businesses have only a 70% understanding of their current setup and some have a lot less.

• Do you have a clear plan on how much this will cost both before and after the migration? It’s staggering how few businesses understand what the ongoing costs of their cloud environment are. Cost blow-outs are the number one ‘cloud killer’. If the job is being done properly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have these future costs in front of you right now.

• Does it feel like ground hog day? If there is nothing particularly new in the feel of this migration and the potential benefits have not been clearly articulated let alone realised, then what’s the point of making the shift? Unfortunately, most conversations begin with ‘We want to move to the cloud ‘rather than ‘we’d like to understand if it would benefit us to move to the cloud’ The first question should always be about the needs of the business.


Problems with ‘lift and shift’ don’t end with migration

It’s like moving to a new house. You don’t just get a forklift, shovel up all of your belongings, dump them in the new place and say: job done. You have to sort, pack, discard, organise, make sure everything gets delivered to the right place at the right time, connect all your utilities, check out the local area.

The same with cloud migration. The ‘lift and shift’ approach is crude and not only leaves detail in its wake but can cause potential damage.

Firstly, performance usually goes to pot. To get the same level of performance in the cloud for the exact replica of your on-premise environment you need to increase resource allocation and this can lead to spend going haywire.

Secondly, your team suddenly needs new skills but with no material gain. It’s not like a new business line or income stream. All you’ve done is shift a workload from one spot to another. But you either need to upskill your workforce to be expert in the new environment or be totally dependent on a managed services provider – leading to more costs and lack of control.

But if you have already ‘lifted and shifted’ and are established in the cloud, everything should be fine, right? But in fact, all you’ve done is change your spend from capital to subscription, bills have gone up, performance is down and your IT crew now need re-training.


The serious issue of cloud bill-shock

The cloud is sometimes misconstrued as an instant cure-all and companies throw money at transitions because they believe they have to – wasting up to 45% of these costs as estimated by the. RightScale 2017 ‘State of the Cloud’ report.

The primary causes of cloud blow out costs – and the bill shocks that come with it – are when companies:

• don’t understand their on-premise IT cost before they make the cloud transition

• take the ‘lift and shift’ approach rather than right size their on-premise workloads and scale the move appropriately

• have a ‘set and forget’ mind-set after transition and don’t continuously manage, monitor and review their workloads to make sure that they only pay for what they use


Optimisation is a better, safer, more cost-efficient approach Don’t start with the lift. Start with analysis. Get a good handle on what you are running before you begin the journey. Map your workloads and understand what’s important and what’s not. Not everything will be cost effective in the cloud. Hybrid deployments are a better solution in most cases and will be for quite some time.

The optimisation approach requires three primary actions:

• Understand what you are actually running. This sounds obvious but we constantly find companies don’t have the full picture here.

• Understand your current spend and your appetite for spending, or rather your CFO’s. The old ‘it’s an Opex model’ doesn’t fly anymore if costs are going to skyrocket.

• Prioritise workloads and move by workload set rather than randomly shifting or doing everything at once.


Work with an IT provider that favours this approach

The optimisation approach requires a little more time, planning and attention. But it is well worth it. It’s the difference between a broad sweep that will rack up serious costs; and a tailored, integrated, cost efficient transition that can also deliver significant business improvements along the way.

Make sure your IT partner has loads of expertise in the different ways to manage transitions. To really achieve cost savings you need to get smart on how you move the apps and understand the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model.

You’ll have heard the term ‘elastic’ when it comes to transitioning from a server approach to server-less. The right IT partner can help you implement this concept of flexibility, dialling up and down resource consumption, translating to better performance and cost savings.

At CT4 we provide clients with a Cloud Physics assessment. This proven process analyses client workloads, categorises application sets and provides a step by step journey with cost planning all the way through.

If you’d like to know more we invite you get in touch to start the conversation. Or take our 3 minute self-assessment as the first step in the right cloud migration process.