Ankur Mandal

Everything You Should Know About Azure Lift and Shift Migration


Ankur Mandal

5 min read

Azure has been reigning as one of the top cloud service providers in the industry ever since its inception. If you have considered migrating your data to Azure, we suggest the lift and shift migration strategies, although with consideration. 

The lift and shift migration strategy has several benefits. Features like lightning-fast speed, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to prevent bugs and issues make it a top migration strategy. 

This blog explores the intricacies of lift and shift migration, offering insights to expand your options for future data migrations. 

Azure provides organizations with the much-needed tools, technologies, and resources they need to innovate, scale, and succeed in the cloud. However, ultimately, a cloud's success depends on how well the migration process takes place.

A rightly executed workload migration can change an enterprise's IT landscape by tapping into the scalability and agility of the cloud while converting from a CapEx to an Opex model. One of the most efficient cloud migration strategies is lift and shift migration.

What Is Azure Lift And Shift Migration?

Rehosting, or lift-and-shift migration, is a cornerstone strategy within cloud computing. It offers a seamless transition from on-premises or outdated infrastructure to the cloud for current applications and workloads. This approach entails relocating applications to new hosting environments, such as the cloud, with minimal adjustments required in the application's architecture, data flow, or authentication methods.

By embracing the lift-and-shift strategy, organizations can effectively embark on IT modernization journeys. They transition towards more flexible and scalable cloud architectures. This migration method presents several compelling business advantages, including cost savings, enhanced performance, and increased resilience.

A key characteristic that sets lift-and-shift migration apart from other methods, such as refactoring or re-platforming, is the minimal modification of applications before or during the migration process. Unlike these alternatives, lift-and-shift migrations typically refrain from redesigning applications to be cloud-native. This is owing to inherent constraints that limit such endeavors..

Examples Of Azure Lift And Shift Migration

Let's delve into some examples of Azure lift and shift migration to understand how businesses can leverage this strategy to accelerate their cloud adoption journey and realize its benefits.

  • Rehosting On-Premise Servers: Companies have the option to migrate their existing on-premise servers to Azure Virtual Machines (VMs). These servers may include web servers, database servers, or application servers. This process involves replicating server configurations and applications into Azure VMs with minimal architectural changes.
    Tools like Azure Site Recovery can aid in this migration by replicating on-premise servers to Azure.
  • Upgrading Legacy Applications: Legacy applications running on outdated infrastructure can seamlessly transition to Azure App Service. This platform provides a robust hosting solution for web applications and APIs, eliminating the need to manage the underlying infrastructure.
    By migrating to Azure App Service, organizations can modernize their applications. They can also take advantage of features like auto-scaling, continuous deployment, and integrated security.
  • Migrating On-Premise File Servers to Azure Files: Organizations can migrate their on-premise file servers to Azure Files, a comprehensive file-share service managed within Azure. This migration involves transferring files and folders directly from on-premise servers to Azure Files. It aims to preserve file structures and permissions during the transfer process. Azure File Sync can synchronize on-premise servers with Azure Files to streamline this process.

Benefits Of Azure Lift And Shift Migration

Following are the benefits of implementing Azure lift and shift migration strategies:

  • Cost savings: Unlike other migration methods, the lift and shift strategy costs significantly less.
  • Few resource investments: The lift and shift strategy does not require significant investment in time, money, and resources.
  • Preserves data and retains workflow: It seamlessly has large amounts of data from on-premises and minimizes any disruption in service delivery.
  • No application-level changes: The lift and shift migration approach requires no changes since the application is merely being rehosted on the cloud. 
  • Smooth Transition of Identity Services: It allows for a seamless transition of on-premises identity services, such as Active Directory, to the cloud alongside the application. This guarantees uninterrupted access for users as they move to the cloud environment.
  • Streamlined Security and Compliance Oversight: By translating requirements into controls that must be applied to compute, storage, and network resources, organizations can ensure adherence to security standards and compliance regulations throughout the migration process.

Limitations Of Azure Lift And Shift Migration

Azure lift and shift migration is not without challenges. Below are some of the limitations of Azure lift and shift migration that you must consider. 

  • Challenges Associated with Customized Applications: Migration of custom-built applications tailored to a company's needs can present difficulties. Failure to modify these applications before migration may lead to issues when operating in a cloud environment.
  • Risks of Implementing Without a Solid Plan: Hastily transitioning to a lift and shift migration approach without a carefully crafted implementation plan can result in technical challenges. Implementing the process without proper foresight may create operational hurdles and inefficiencies.
  • The Significance of Testing and Configuration: Applications must undergo comprehensive testing and configuration before migration. Neglecting to do so heightens the possibility of the application malfunctioning post-migration, not because of the migration process itself but due to a deficient implementation plan.
  • Less Rewarding: Utilizing the lift and shift cloud migration strategy may result in not fully realizing the advantages of the cloud, as it does not incorporate cloud-native tools and functionality.
  • Compatibility and performance issues: Certain on-premises applications may encounter compatibility challenges when transitioning to a cloud environment. Moreover, without proper optimization, applications may not operate at peak efficiency in the cloud.

When Should You Use Azure Lift And Shift Migration?

There are a few scenarios where you can leverage the benefits of Azure lift and shift migration. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Ideal for Independent Workloads: Azure Lift and shift migration is best suited for migrating independent workloads with minimal hassles. It facilitates cloud migration without the need for extensive reconstruction of components.
  • Off-the-Shelf Applications: This approach is optimal for migrating off-the-shelf applications that cannot be reconstructed. Lift and shift enables seamless migration of such applications to the cloud without requiring modifications.
  • Budget-Conscious Scalability: Azure Lift and shift is a viable choice for organizations with budget limitations requiring highly scalable backup and recovery processes. It allows the entire on-premise infrastructure to shift to the cloud while ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
  • Cost-Efficient Infrastructure Migration: Consider Azure lift and shift when faced with high on-premise infrastructure setup and maintenance costs. This approach facilitates the migration of applications without the need for extensive reconstruction, reducing hassles and expenses associated with infrastructure maintenance.
  • Resilience and Risk Mitigation: Utilize lift and shift migration to transition to a more resilient platform, mitigating potential future risks. Consider lifting and shifting an existing application before vacating a data center or terminating a lease.
  • Initiating Digital Transformation: Adopting the lift and shift approach for existing workloads can be the initial step in your digital transformation journey. Through careful planning and execution, efficiently rehost your applications with minimal disruptions.
  • Preserving Application Integrity: Decoupling an off-the-shelf application from a third party can present challenges. When refactoring is impractical or risks compromising the application's integrity, opt for a lift and shift migration to maintain its familiar workflows intact.

How To Proceed With Azure Lift And Shift Migration?

Follow the steps below to ensure you move ahead efficiently with Azure lift and shift operations.

  • Create Runbook: Creating a Runbook is essential to ensure the migration is effective, all-inclusive, and seamless. 
  • Look for an automated tool: The lift and shift approach automates many migration tasks, streamlining the process and enhancing efficiency. Further automation assistance can accelerate migration, ensuring precision and accuracy throughout the transition.
    For instance, you can leverage Azure cloud cost management tools like Lucidity, which can automate identifying idle/unused and overprovisioned resources with Luidity Storage Audit.
    Moreover, for comprehensive storage optimization, Lucidity also automates the scaling process with its Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler.
  • Ensure API Validation: When shifting to the cloud, it is crucial to guarantee a smooth integration of your current APIs, ensuring they function as expected without any disruptions.
  • Maintain Compliance Adherence: It is imperative that the cloud migration process complies with strict data security standards and adheres to all compliance policies to protect data while in transit. 
  • Explore the Benefits of Azure Migrate: Access the specialized lift and shift toolset within Azure Migrate to simplify your migration process. This suite offers in-depth analyses of on-cloud applications and their features, creating a centralized database for server and database backups.
    Additionally, Azure Migrate aids in preparing servers, databases, and web applications to ensure a smooth migration experience.
  • Seek out Azure experts: Performing a lift and shift migration may seem simple at first glance, but it involves overcoming various obstacles and complexities specific to Azure and its elements. This process requires a deep comprehension of the platform. By enlisting the help of an experienced professional for Azure cloud migration, you can effectively navigate these challenges and optimize the advantages of transitioning to the cloud.

Things To Consider When Migrating Using Azure Lift And Shift Migration Strategy

When considering migration using Azure lift and shift migration strategy, keep the following pointers in mind.

  • Compatibility: Check whether or not your existing system and application are compatible with the Azure services. Additionally, check for interdependencies between different components and ensure they can be seamlessly transferred to the Azure services.
  • Scalability and Performance Assessment: Evaluate the scalability needs of your applications and confirm that Azure resources can support future expansion. Also, performance considerations and fine-tuning configurations of Azure infrastructure should be considered to uphold or enhance performance.
  • Security and Compliance: Ensure the implementation of solid security measures to safeguard data throughout migration and within the Azure environment. Maintain adherence to industry regulations and standards by adjusting security configurations as needed.

Another crucial factor we wanted to elaborate on is checking the Azure resources to ensure their performance and health, especially storage resources, are well-optimized.

Why specifically storage, you ask?

Because how storage is used or wasted can lead to high cloud bills. The storage cost is a critical factor in the overall expenses associated with cloud services, as highlighted in Virtana's research report "State of Hybrid Cloud Storage in 2023".

The study revealed that 94% of respondents saw an increase in their cloud costs, with 54% noting that storage-related expenses escalated faster than other components of their bills.

We conducted a detailed independent analysis on over 100 enterprises utilizing major cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP to explore the impact of storage resources on cloud spending. The key findings include:

  • Approximately 40% of cloud expenses were attributed to storage-related costs, underscoring the significant financial influence of storage provisioning and management.
  • Block storage solutions such as Azure Managed Disk substantially drove overall cloud costs, necessitating a thorough examination and optimization of these solutions.
  • Despite the importance of block storage, our research unveiled surprisingly low disk utilization rates in various scenarios, including root volumes, application disks, and self-hosted databases. This inefficiency presents opportunities for rightsizing and optimization to minimize waste and boost cost-effectiveness.
  • Organizations were overestimating growth and overprovisioning storage resources. Despite this, they were still experiencing at least one downtime per quarter.

The reasons above stem from organizations choosing to overprovision resources rather than optimize storage. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the rationale behind this strategic decision, as it includes factors such as

  • Optimizing storage necessitates commitment and time investment: It involves selecting the appropriate storage class, establishing data lifecycle management policies, and regularly monitoring and adjusting storage to meet specific requirements.

DevOps teams must assess their current storage needs to cater to application demands effectively, analyze data access patterns, and align storage resources accordingly.

Thorough planning and continuous maintenance are essential for implementing cost-effective storage solutions, eliminating data redundancy, and ensuring efficient data retrieval.

Furthermore, DevOps teams must stay informed about the latest advancements and enhancements cloud providers offer. These innovations have the potential to enhance storage efficiency by leveraging new features. While these tasks may divert time and effort from primary responsibilities, they are crucial for enhancing productivity.

  • Bespoke Tool Development: The absence of advanced features in Cloud Service Providers (CSP) necessitates the creation of a custom storage optimization solution. However, crafting a personalized tool demands significant DevOps resources and time commitment.
  • High Costs: Implementing storage optimization strategies often entails investing in specialized tools, technologies, and expertise, which can be expensive. This initial financial investment may challenge many organizations, particularly those with tight budgets or focusing on immediate cost reductions.
    Furthermore, setting up monitoring tools across the entire cloud infrastructure can incur high costs, prompting organizations to deploy them solely in the production environment, resulting in limited visibility.
  • Challenges with CSP Tools: Relying on CSP-provided tools can result in inefficient, time-consuming, and resource-intensive processes. The daily execution of such tasks becomes unmanageable due to the manpower required.
  • Lack of Live Shrinkage in CSP Tools: Major CSPs provide easy expansion of storage resources but do not support live shrinking of Managed Disks. A manual workaround exists, but it involves complex steps such as stopping the instance, taking snapshots, and mounting new volumes, increasing the risk of errors, downtime, and misconfigurations.

Organizations are forced to allocate excessive storage resources to ensure the smooth operation of applications, affecting daily business activities. Overprovisioning in cloud services leads to resource inefficiency and unnecessary costs, as users pay for unused resources.

It is vital to address and reduce hidden cloud costs associated with overprovisioning.

Among the many Azure cost optimization strategies, automating the scaling of storage resources through cloud cost automation is a highly effective solution.

Lucidity offers automated storage audit and scaling solutions to help reduce unnecessary expenses.

Lucidity Storage Audit

The Lucidity Storage Audit tool streamlines the identification of excess and inactive storage resources via automation. Automating this task is essential, as solely depending on manual discovery methods or monitoring tools has limitations.

DevOps tasks can be time-consuming, and the expenses involved in implementation are significant. The growing intricacy of storage environments renders manual discovery and monitoring tools insufficient for efficient storage resource management.

Lucidity's Storage Audit solution revolutionizes storage resource management, providing invaluable assistance in optimizing efficiency with just a click. Here's what Lucidity brings to the table:

  • Comprehensive Cost Insights: Lucidity breaks down your current expenditure and compares it to an optimized bill to help you gain clarity on your overall disk spend. Uncover potential savings of up to 70% on storage costs, ensuring every dollar is spent wisely.
  • Efficient Disk Utilization: Identify and tackle idle/unused and overprovisioned disk space effortlessly. Lucidity's automated identification solutions optimize usage and minimize waste, maximizing the value of your storage resources.
  • Proactive Downtime Prevention: Stay ahead of potential downtime risks with Lucidity. By proactively assessing the possibility of downtime, you can take preemptive measures to mitigate risks, safeguarding your finances and reputation.

Lucidity Storage Audit offers a plethora of benefits tailored to streamline your storage management:

  • Streamlined Process: Simplify your auditing endeavors with Lucidity Storage Audit. Automating tasks and removing reliance on manual efforts or intricate monitoring tools makes the process efficient and hassle-free.
  • Comprehensive Insights: Dive deep into your disk health and utilization metrics with Lucidity Storage Audit. From understanding spending patterns to preemptively identifying potential downtime risks, this tool offers invaluable insights, providing a holistic view of your storage environment.
  • Optimized Utilization: With Lucidity Audit, optimize your storage resources like never before. By analyzing storage utilization percentages and disk sizes, you're equipped with the data needed for informed decision-making, ensuring resources are allocated efficiently and effectively.

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler

To further optimize storage usage in Azure and complete the holistic lift and shift migration process, Lucidit offers a Block Storage Auto-Scaler.

Automating storage scaling has become crucial, as traditional methods can lead to inefficient resource allocation and performance bottlenecks. The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler tackles these issues with a cutting-edge cloud storage solution that transforms conventional scaling methods.

Features of the Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler

Following are the features of Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler that make it stand out.

  • Effortless Deployment: Deploying the Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler is quick and easy - only three clicks are required. Witness a transformative enhancement in your storage management process upon implementation.
  • Storage Optimization: The Block Storage Auto-Scaler intelligently optimizes storage capacity to maintain a utilization rate between 70-80%, resulting in significant cost savings.
  • Highly Responsive: In response to sudden spikes in traffic or workload, the Block Storage Auto-Scaler swiftly provides additional storage capacity. With expansion capabilities taking just one minute, you can efficiently manage unexpected surges with minimal disruption, ensuring you always have the resources needed to meet high demands effectively. Moreover, it also reduces resources during periods of low activity.
  • Optimal Performance: The Lucidity solution has been carefully designed to minimize utilizing your instance's resources, specifically CPU and RAM, during onboarding. Our efficient Lucidity agent is engineered to consume only a few resources, consistently operating below 2% CPU and RAM usage. This intentional design choice ensures that your tasks within the instance are unaffected, enabling you to stay focused without disruptions.

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler Benefits

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler provides the following advantages:

  • Automated Expansion and Shrinking: Our Auto-Scaler effortlessly automates the adjustment of storage resources, ensuring efficient disk scaling within a concise 90-second timeframe. This simplifies the management of large data volumes with ease.
  • Enhanced Performance: Overcoming the limitations of traditional block storage volumes, our Auto-Scaler can handle sudden data surges smoothly without exceeding the block storage throughput limit. Traditional block storage volumes typically max out around 8GB per minute (equivalent to 125MB/sec) with Standard block storage.
  • Efficient Management: With our Auto-Scaler, you can easily manage and optimize your storage resources to meet your evolving needs.
  • Save up to 70% on storage costs: You can greatly reduce your expenses by avoiding over-provisioning. Cloud providers only bill you for the resources you use, leading to potential savings of up to 70% on storage-related expenses.
  • Calculate your savings using our ROI Calculator: By selecting your cloud provider (Azure or AWS) and providing details about your monthly or annual spending, disk utilization, and growth rate, you can receive a personalized estimate.
  • Zero downtime: The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler ensures zero downtime by swiftly adapting to changing storage requirements. Users can create customized policies to address specific scenarios like buffers or loading times. This feature allows the Auto-Scaler to seamlessly expand storage resources based on the defined policies, eliminating any potential downtime typically associated with manual provisioning processes.

We Helped Royal Sundaram Find Wastage On Azure Disk Utilization!

Royal Sundaram, a prominent player in the general insurance industry, was harnessing the power 

of Azure cloud services. Despite their ambitious strides, they encountered a significant challenge: soaring cloud storage expenses. 

The culprit? 

A lack of clear visibility into their cloud usage hinders their ability to streamline costs effectively.

Realizing that unlocking cloud cost optimization hinged on deciphering storage metrics, Royal Sundaram faced a daunting dilemma. Manual exploration of utilization metrics promised to be a laborious endeavor, while investing in monitoring tools presented a financial hurdle they were reluctant to surmount. Faced with this impasse, Royal Sundaram turned to Lucidity for a solution.

Lucidity Storage Audit

With just a click of a button, Lucidity's agentless audit seamlessly onboarded within a mere 25 minutes, swiftly uncovering crucial insights for Royal Sundaram.

The audit revealed a staggering 71% of overall cloud storage wastage, with a whopping 90% attributed to overprovisioned resources, leading to a meager 12% disk utilization. Additionally, 7% of resources lay idle or unused, either detached from a VM or linked to a stopped VM.

Leveraging Lucidity Audit's robust capabilities, Royal Sundaram gained granular visibility into their Azure disks. Through meticulous analysis, they pinpointed three resources teetering on the brink of extreme downtime risks due to overutilization. 

Acting decisively, Royal Sundaram promptly addressed these issues, preempting any potential calls for Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and safeguarding uninterrupted service availability.

Lucidity Auto-Scaler

After their comprehensive storage audit, Royal Sundaram's adoption of Lucidity Auto Scaler resulted in a remarkable 45% reduction in storage costs. Empowered by Lucidity's cutting-edge technology, they seamlessly transitioned to downtime-free operations, effectively sidestepping the need for extensive DevOps interventions and realizing the coveted "NoOps" paradigm.

Ensure Maximum Value Out Of  Cloud With Lift And Shift Migration!

After reading this blog, we hope you have a fair understanding of Azure lift and shift migration and how to proceed with it to ensure maximum benefit.

It is important to remember that to gain holistic benefits out of life and shift migration, identification of idle/used and overprovisioned storage resources along with storage optimization is necessary.

To know how to do this, you can contact us at Lucidity for a demo, and we will help you learn how automation can make your Azure system efficient.

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