Native and Shift Cloud Migrations: What You Need to Know About Cloud Services

Cloud migration

By now, you know the truth: Cloud services are here to stay. Where businesses once had to build and manually scale their own servers and data centers, much of that digital labor can now be outsourced to service providers such as Global IP Networks through cloud migration. 

In this article, we’ll discuss two very different migration strategies — cloud-native (native) and lift-and-shift (shift) — and go over how to decide what’s best for your operation. 

What Is Cloud Migration?

Before we dive into the different strategies, it’s important to understand what cloud migration is within the context of this discussion. Put simply, cloud migration is the process of moving digital assets such as data, applications, or other resources into a cloud computing environment. This often means transitioning from on-premise legacy servers to cloud storage, but it can also mean moving from one cloud service provider to another. 

Why Should You Bother With Cloud Solutions? 

If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it very well can be. We’re going to talk about what steps can be taken during cloud migration shortly, but some organizations go as far as completely rebuilding their suite of resources from scratch in order to optimize cloud usage. 

Companies are willing to go to such great lengths in the name of enterprise cloud solutions, in part, because of the massive financial benefits. Just by dropping all resources as they currently are into a cloud server, many organizations see a 25% reduction in IT operating costs. 

Maintaining an on-premise data center requires not only the large initial capital to purchase all the necessary equipment, but also the significant amount of set up time, the right people knowledgeable enough to maintain it, and upgrades and expansion as the organization scales. 

Utilizing Global IP Networks’ managed services in conjunction with cloud storage not only allows you to solve the physical problems associated with owning and operating the necessary equipment, but it also enables your technical staff to focus on their most important work — rather than splitting time between projects and handling IT concerns for departments that don’t work on the systems directly. 

How Do Native and Shift Migrations Differ? 

Now that we’ve covered the “what” and the “why,” it’s time to get into the “how.”

At their cores, native and shift migrations are opposite one another on the spectrum of approaches to cloud migration. Where cloud-native systems are built from the ground up — often as a complete replacement for existing architecture — using the lift-and-shift method essentially takes everything that is already working (and not working) and shifts it all onto a cloud storage solution. 

The details about exactly what this looks like will depend upon your organization’s needs, but there isn’t much more to it than that on a basic level. The real question is: When should you use one over the other? 

Native or Shift Style: How to Decide

Native or Shift migration

Many executives insist that native is the only way to go because it’s easier. However, other organizations opt for the shift strategy because of the massive cost reduction over time that can come from fully optimizing applications and systems to run on a cloud server. It also puts an organization in a good position to build on a foundation that is well-situated for expansion. 

Still, depending on the age and complexity of an operation’s suite of resources, completely reconstructing the architecture to harmonize with a cloud environment can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. And even if it makes sense to eventually rebuild everything, sometimes there is a pressing need to migrate quickly — such as an approaching deadline or a need to reduce expenses without sacrificing vital personnel. 

Moreover, perhaps there are applications that are ready to run as they are for a long time without much modification. So, rearchitecting them wouldn’t do much good to the bottom line. Others may need resources to scale up and down as business fluctuates, in which case it may make sense to rewrite them to include additional functionality. 

One important thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. As a general rule, native would probably make a good end goal, but there can, and often should be a carefully planned method of procedures to execute native or shift cloud migrations. This is what Global IP Networks specializes in. 

Still Not Sure? 

If all this still seems daunting, that’s OK. There’s a good chance that you came here because you weren’t quite sure where to begin or were looking for an answer to a specific question. While we hope you found what you were seeking by reading this piece, we’d love to answer any questions about how to migrate your organization’s assets to cloud services. 

As a data center and a managed service provider all in one, we are uniquely equipped to help meet your IT needs, so contact us today.  

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