Successful migration ultimately comes down to time, effort, and cost — discover which strategy offers the best outcomes for your business
If you’ve already weighed the cost of moving to the cloud and are dead-set on migrating, there is no shortage of options. However, choosing the most effective cloud migration strategy is not a decision to be taken lightly, and making the wrong decision can lead to spending more money on infrastructure than it brings in.
During the opening months of the pandemic, many organizations needed to rapidly transform their infrastructure to continue remote operations. As a result, they wasted a lot of money because they simply didn’t have the time to do the research. Now that things have settled down, it’s worth it to take the time to investigate all the options. No one gets extra credit for overspending, so applying an intelligent, research-based approach to determining the most appropriate cloud migration strategy will help you minimize costs while maximizing operational efficiency in the cloud.
We’ll break down the four most common cloud migration strategies, provide the pros and cons of each, and give you our recommended approach. That way, you’ll have the information you need to make smarter, more informed decisions about the cloud-based future of your business.
4 Common Cloud Migration Strategies
Strategy #1: Lift and Shift
A lift and shift strategy is exactly what it sounds like: You are lifting the applications out of your current on-premises data center and shifting them to a public cloud data center.
Lift and shift migrations are fast and cost-efficient — at least at first. Because you’re just moving infrastructure to a new location, it will operate exactly as it did on your old data server. You’re not unlocking the real benefits cloud infrastructure provides, and if it ran poorly before, it will run poorly on the public cloud.
What’s worse is that now you’re effectively paying double for the same outcomes you had before. This is the fallacy of the public cloud — you’re moving applications over just to spend more money without receiving additional value.
Pros: Migration is quick and less expensive than other strategies.
Cons: You won’t see added benefits from the cloud without significant time investment, meaning you’re paying more for the same output.
Strategy #2: Refactoring
Refactoring is the process of taking your current setup and rebuilding it from scratch to take advantage of the unique benefits of the public cloud. It’s a software optimization process — your applications are effectively running on different hardware, so you’re reoptimizing the software to run in this new environment. Refactored public cloud infrastructure is typically far more efficient than those that undergo a lift and shift migration.
This sounds great on paper. The problem with refactoring is that doing it right takes an enormous amount of time to set up and a significant amount of effort to pull off. Many businesses use hundreds of applications to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. IT departments must refactor each of these applications to maximize efficiency within the cloud. No team has the staff or finances available to complete a project of this scope in a reasonable amount of time, and many refactoring projects simply never get finished.
Pros: Allows infrastructure to unlock the full potential of public cloud infrastructure efficiencies.
Cons: Requires excessive time to achieve, and many refactoring projects are never completed.
Strategy #3: Lift and Shift on Bare Metal
A lift and shift approach on bare metal moves your infrastructure onto private compute environments rather than shared ones. Bare metal also provides direct access to the hardware. This allows for far greater control over configuration, potentially making your infrastructure faster and more efficient. Conceptually, it’s no different than paying for your own on-premises infrastructure — you’re merely paying a platform like AWS or Google Cloud for the privilege.
However, building cloud infrastructure on bare metal is far more expensive than running infrastructure on shared servers. On the public cloud, you’re sharing the platform’s infrastructure with other users, where both the cost savings and provider profits come from — choosing a private configuration increases costs significantly. And if you’re not refactoring your infrastructure to take full advantage of the additional compute benefits, you’re better off sticking with on-premises infrastructure. The additional benefits of bare metal won’t outweigh the cost.
Pros: Offers more granular control over leased hardware and is not shared with other public cloud customers.
Cons: More expensive than shared public cloud options.
Strategy #4: Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) on Bare Metal
Hyperconverged infrastructure uses bare metal cloud hardware as its base but places a software layer between the hardware and your applications, allowing you to run your applications as if they were on-premises.
HCI allows your infrastructure to receive both the benefits of bare metal hardware configurations and application refactoring for a fully performance-optimized compute environment without the labor, knowledge, or time required to do so. The software layer essentially does the refactoring for you — so while you’re paying more for the bare metal hardware and software integration, you’re saving both money and time that would typically result from a lengthy migration process.
Pros: Offers significant improvements to infrastructure efficiency with little investment in time or labor.
Cons: Bare metal infrastructure and necessary software are more expensive than other strategies.
Which Cloud Migration Strategy Should You Choose?
Bare metal configuration options are more expensive than shared public cloud infrastructure. But if you can’t get your applications refactored quickly enough, shared infrastructure will increase your costs without adding any benefit. So, what cloud migration strategy should you choose?
If management requires that your business moves its operations to the cloud, we recommend an HCI on bare metal approach, utilizing Nutanix public cloud software — specifically, Nutanix NC2.
Nutanix NC2 provides the efficiency of refactoring for the public cloud without the time and financial expense required to actually refactor your infrastructure. You won’t need to change any configuration, so you can move applications back and forth between the cloud and on-premises infrastructure as required. Your team won’t need any additional knowledge beyond what you’ve already gained by operating on premises, and it won’t need additional staff to manage the extra load. Migration becomes a relative snap compared to other options, and you can quickly satisfy upper management’s requirements by moving operations into the cloud.
Nutanix also eliminates the need for separate servers, storage, and storage network components by putting everything in a single box. Because these components operate much closer to the core, performance will be higher than infrastructure configurations where these components are spread out.
And unlike public cloud costs — which arrive monthly and fluctuate based on unforeseen spikes — Nutanix is paid for up-front, and pricing is based on how many processing cores you need over a specific period.
Ultimately, all the decisions surrounding cloud migration come down to which option will allow you to sell more products more efficiently and with the optimal ratio between expenses and revenue. HCI on bare metal with Nutanix NC2 will help you achieve the added benefits of the public cloud without spending too much time, energy, or resources to get there.
Still Unsure? Let Us Help
If you’re looking for more information about these migration strategies or want to learn more about what a cloud migration with Nutanix NC2 looks like, we can help. At Roundstone, we pride ourselves in being able to help businesses build modern, more efficient IT infrastructure that makes sense for their unique use cases. We’ve spent years connecting organizations with the knowledge they need to make smarter decisions and vendor partners that can make those decisions a reality. Want to get started? Contact us today.
Tim Joyce, Founder, Roundstone Solutions