Migrating to the Cloud: Go Cloud Native, Lift & Shift or Refactor?
Migrating existing applications and infrastructures to the cloud has a reputation for being complicated.
This is true, but not completely fair to cloud migrations.
The fact is that migrating ANY existing IT implementation into a new environment—whether it's going from data center to data center, data center to cloud, or even cloud to cloud—inevitably poses unique management and operational issues.
Right now cloud migrations are getting increased scrutiny because more organizations are expanding their cloud strategies and shifting more of their existing IT workloads and legacy apps to the cloud.
Is the right path to:
- Go cloud-native and rework those applications to take full advantage of cloud features like on-demand elasticity?
- Rehost applications in the cloud essentially as-is (aka lift-and-shift)?
- Refactor/replatform your apps to become cloud-ready, making some code changes or architectural adjustments to take advantage of containers or Platform as a Service (PaaS)?
Those three options all have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, time, payoff, required expertise, and more. In a Navisite white paper, Migrating to Azure: Choosing Between Cloud-Native, Cloud Ready and Lift-and-Shift Strategies, we assess these options and also include insights from a major cloud migration Navisite completed for a global insurance brokerage. You can download the white paper here.
As the white paper notes, in the early days of the cloud, many organizations thought that the only way to go was to become completely cloud native: re-architecting their existing applications to exploit the elasticity, geo-redundancy and other benefits of the cloud. But that's generally not what happens: statistically, truly cloud-native applications are in the minority.
Keep in mind that while the cloud itself is new, cloud migration strategies are even newer, so there are no hard and fast rules. New tools and automation are emerging all the time. Best practices are being developed on the fly. Evolving technologies like PaaS, containers and serverless technologies are all playing a role.
An even bigger complication is the need to align the technical and business sides of the house. How you migrate to the cloud is about more than just pinpointing application dependencies and determining whether the OS can be supported. It's a business decision as well, with tactical and strategic impacts.
In the end, there is no single migration strategy that's right for everyone. When you account for varying objectives, the diverse range of legacy applications, and the unique requirements of diﬀerent cloud services, best practices that apply in all situations are hard to come by. That's why the one thing that can be said for certain about cloud migrations is that experience matters.
As a provider of managed cloud services with extensive experience in Azure migrations, Navisite stands ready to provide the critical support needed to make your cloud journey a success. Our extensive experience helping with large and complex cloud migrations is a key reason why Microsoft selected Navisite as one of just 40 providers to be included in its highly prestigious group of Azure Expert Managed Service Providers (MSPs). We are also one of Microsoft's four Centers of Excellence.
Ready to get into the nuts and bolts of your cloud migration? We are too. To learn more about the services offered by Navisite, visit our Azure Cloud Management Services page, contact us, or call us at (888) 298-8222.