Migrating Your Cloud? A “Lift and Shift” Could Be Holding You Back

This article is adapted from one that was originally published in Techerati by our CEO, David Safaii. Click here to view the article in its original form.

Millions of companies around the globe are in the process of moving legacy applications and VMs from virtualized infrastructure to the cloud. While the two infrastructures share many similarities, clouds are fundamentally different than on-premises infrastructure (and, in many ways, they are better). Despite this, many IT teams are often adamant that their existing VMs be adjusted to work on the new platform, leading to the adoption of a “lift and shift” migration strategy. More often than not, this backfires. Here’s why.

Multi-Tenancy and Shared Ownership

With cloud environments in place, the accountability aspect of any team is made significantly easier as the architecture distributes a great deal of the day-to-day operations to individuals on their team. This takes a significant amount of responsibility off administrators’ shoulders as they no longer need to worry about individual VMs on a granular level. No need to sweat the small stuff!

However, when it comes to applying this principle from a technological standpoint, VM-driven organizations are often tripped up. A “lift and shift” mentality creeps in.

This is attributed to the fact that they attempt to implement multi-tenancy in the same way they provision administrators for their virtual environment, creating a ‘tenant’ for each department as a result. Cloud tenant environments are designed as user zones, not department-wide workspaces. This is problematic as it results in a disconnect in expectations between teams as they share virtualized resources without understanding the full scope of data and applications within the environment. Even minor changes in a department-wide tenant environment can lead to serious consequences, especially when dealing with policies and compliance.

Configuration Standardization

Unfortunately, there is no direct translation between how VMs are defined in the legacy world as opposed to the cloud.

When administrators create VMs in their on-premises infrastructure, each configuration is custom to that use case, including port assignments, network connections, and more. Cloud VMs require an inverse approach: start with the most general configurations (flavors, networks, and other policies) before you tackle the most specialized use cases.

Companies need to modify or transform their VMs to include cloud configurations. If they simply modify existing production images, they will be crippling their own ability to spin up second, third, or fourth copies in the future — it’s not repeatable and it’s impossible to scale. By contrast, if they duplicate the production images to create a new cloud-ready version of each VM, then they risk bogging down their stack with tons of images that are all consuming storage space. Layer on vendor-specific issues, including the restrictions that come with proprietary data formats, and you have downright data disarray.

From this standpoint, a hybrid cloud strategy seems unappealing and risky.

Enter, Containers

Businesses require much more than raw data; entire workloads need to be portable and immediately implemented throughout the IT infrastructure. Those workloads also need to be backed up and protected, no matter where they reside. This, plus the lack of a fully-integrated hybrid cloud platform, has stimulated the need for cloud-native data formats and given rise to containers.

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Containers make it easy to move workloads across different infrastructure environments by decentralizing application deployment and management. This enables application developers to store data in a central file system rather than in each individual VM.

While containers are rapidly growing in popularity, it is still nearly impossible for a company to go all-in on hybrid clouds. Until cloud-native becomes the norm, companies will continue to deal with  disconnected and dispersed multi-cloud environments.

Instead of “Lift and Shift” — Go Cloud-Native

It is impossible to achieve the efficiency and flexibility promised by cloud without cloud-native and cloud-agnostic platforms. Organizations must be able to spin up any workload on any platform without loss of features or functionality in a timely and efficient manner. Most importantly, they should be able to move and relocate those workloads without the risk of metadata and configuration loss.

Cloud-native formats allow you to bridge the gap between the cloud and on-premises systems without compromising data quality. Cloud-native solutions not only enhance performance but also reduce the time spent on management activities. They’re built for the cloud, and are uniquely able to take advantage of the new features and functionality that are inherent to the platform. This makes data easier to migrate, back up, and maintain — and thus easier to fully restore.

To learn more about a cloud-native approach to migration and data protection, contact us.