Businesses are starting to look towards moving their on-premises applications and programs to cloud platforms for various reasons, including security and affordability. If you need to move your company’s physical and online data to the cloud, the best solution would be to use the lift and shift data migration technique. The concept of lift and shift migration, also known as rehosting, is the process of moving applications and operations to the cloud. Lift and shift migration allows companies to migrate applications from a physical on-premises presence to a cloud system. This is done without redesigning or changing the workload.

Cloud systems are not just the new norm, but an integral part of the infrastructure at tech companies. A study by Gartner predicts that the overall cloud system expenditures of businesses will reach $81 billion by 2022. These systems not only enhance existing data centers, but can replace them as well.

How to lift and shift

Most tech solutions are developed for businesses with advanced tech capabilities. However, almost 84% of companies are at the beginner or intermediate stage of being digitally equipped, according to research by Forrester. All is not lost, though, because migration technology like lift and shift can speed up the digitization process for companies looking to scale up.

While considering lift and shift data center migration, one of the key aspects to consider is carrying out extensive research and a plan for executing the migration. Not all data needs to be moved to the cloud. Technology and software that replace certain existing modes may prove beneficial instead.

  • Hire experts

An important aspect of the migration process is to get experts on board. Leave lift and shift migration to the experts in cloud technology. However, in a bid to let the experts handle it, do not outsource everything. Keep your implementation strategy in-house, because you know best your company’s applications and processes.

  • Automate processes

Automation is everything. Build and organize across teams to make the migration a collaborative effort so that no process falls through the cracks. By adopting automation, you ensure your teams spend less time executing and editing workloads when you have templates ready to go. 

What’s good about lift and shift?

Lift and shift migration boasts a host of benefits, including being a quick and affordable way to migrate data.

  1. In lift and shift, the speed factor can be noted by the amount of time and money saved in deployment and migration. This minimizes the downtime involved in data transfer from on-premises to the cloud.
  2. Without the need for coding and making changes to the system, you aren’t paying for extraneous processes. This translates to cost savings in terms of data center migration.
  3. Compared to other migration models, lift and shift offers the benefit of reduced planning needed for application moving. Plans for migration can average around a year, unlike older strategies that would span several years.
  4. There is a lower risk associated with migration, because apps do not need to be reconfigured.
  5. It has never been easier to optimize on the cloud than with moving data to the cloud. This allows for a greater degree of optimization that cuts back on costs and workload effort.
  6. Data is transferred as-is to the cloud, so valuable time and resources are not spent on reconfiguring them. No change to application and process structures is a defining feature. 

Lift and shift drawbacks

The benefits of lift and shift cloud migration eclipse the cons. What few drawbacks this migration model has are mostly attributed to errors in processing, and are not problems with the migration itself. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges you may face in the process: 

  1. Cloud environments do not provide all the advantages of a full featured native platform. This does not mean they perform at a lower capacity, but that they are not designed primarily for this function.
  2. Custom-made applications for companies are harder to migrate, as they are specifically designed for a company’s unique needs. Unless these programs are modified before migration, they may glitch when expected to run in a cloud environment.
  3. Companies that jump headfirst into lift and shift migration without an implementation plan often deploy the process with little to no foresight. This results in technical issues due to no plan or strategy.
  4. If applications have not been tested and configured before migration, they run the risk of failing to run after migration. This is not an error with migration, but with a flawed implementation plan.

Take it forward

The benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to lift and shift migration. A fully researched plan before choosing to migrate with lift and shift will minimize any risks associated with it. Not all processes need to be uploaded to the cloud. Look for alternatives for the ones you plan to retain.

Ready to move your office to the cloud? Find out how Aspire Systems can facilitate the lift and shift data migration process for your business.


Lift and shift data center migration is the process of moving applications and operations to a cloud system. This technique proves to be extremely helpful for companies looking to cut out extraneous vendor involvement, or to better automate their company’s processes. What’s more, lift and shift migration offers companies the ability to save big on expenditures that come with data storage and management.

We explore the lift and shift technique, while listing out the many benefits. The drawbacks are few, and unrelated to the process of migration.

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