We don’t need to convince anyone to migrate their infrastructure to cloud. The opportunities that it brings are not only a reduction in infrastructure costs, but also the ability to quickly respond to market needs, while ensuring a high level of security and optimization of the environment. Migration to the cloud can be an agile and effective process. If you are facing a challenge that has forced you to implement the immediate adaptation to emerging changes, we will willingly show you how to do it to achieve the best results. The speed and nimbleness of the migration process depends mainly on proper preparation. That is why it is important to identify the resources we have, as well as to analyze and set goals that we want to achieve through migration to the cloud. Also, it’s worth using the Cloud Adoption Framework developed by AWS, which is the basis of the most important and best practices to facilitate this process.
In today’s post we will focus on the fastest option, which is one of 3 variants recommended by AWS. Lift and Shift is one of the most popular methods of migration to the cloud and is often the first step in the cloud adoption process. Remember that this is not the only option you can choose. Depending on your needs – you can create an environment from scratch or thoroughly redesign it. We can also take advantage of the existing on-premise infrastructure, combined with the power of cloud computing in a hybrid solution.
Lift and Shift is a scenario allowing the migration of existing infrastructure to cloud. In practice, this means “lifting and moving” the existing environment from physical servers to the cloud. AWS Cloud provides solutions that provide greater flexibility, performance and scalability, while increasing the level of security.
The challenge may be not only the need to maintain the functionality of the application, but often inclueds huge amounts of data that need to be properly stored and processed. Amazon Web Services is excellent at providing data storage and storage management services that are key to Lift and Shift.
Amazon EFS is a fully managed service that facilitates configuration, scaling and optimization of file storage costs in the AWS cloud. This is a network drive that can be accessed from many servers and computers (using the NFSv4 protocol). The fee is charged only for the size of the reserved network drive expressed in GB.
Amazon EBS is an easy-to-use block storage service designed to be used in conjunction with the Amazon EC2 service, both for heavy workloads and intensive transactions on any scale. It has a wide range of applications – for solutions such as relational and nonrelational databases, corporate applications, containerized applications, analytical engines of large data sets, file systems. Similar to Amazon EFS, the fee is charged for the size of the reserved disk expressed in GB.
The benefits we achieve by using the Lift and Shift scenario:
- No need to change at the application level, because it is rehosting the existing infrastructure, but in the cloud.
- Workloads on equipment such as graphics cards are shifted to specialized virtual machines in the cloud.
- The Lift and Shift approach does not change the architecture structure itself, which allows maintaining existing arrangements for business processes related to the application.
- It is the least onerous method in terms of application compatibility, risk management, performance or HA requirements.
Use cases of the Lift and Shift method
Here are some ways that will reduce management costs and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership – in the context of cloud solutions it is the total cost of acquiring, installing, using, maintaining and possibly expanding tools) by migrating to the cloud using Lift and Shift.
- Automation – at a time when we cannot modify the application, the salvation is to change the way it is implemented using Infrastructure as a code. Services such as Amazon CloudFront or Amazon OpsWorks will allow you to automate this process and manage resources. At the same time, they will allow you to quickly create test environments, with the option of rapid error elimination, during deployment to production.
- Reserved, Spot & On-Demand Instances – choosing the right instance purchase model allows you to reduce costs by up to 75%.
- Amazon EFS – the implementation of a fully managed service to support a variety of workloads ensures high performance and access to storage via NFS. The ESF offers to replace existing NFS implementations. It allows customers to achieve cost reductions by switching to a payment pricing model according to actual consumption, and does not require application modification.
- Amazon MQ – provides an efficient, highly available managed Apache MQ message broker service that is compatible with existing applications. With the help of the Lambda function, you can automate the process of managing communications related to the infrastructure in the cloud. The application manages messages regarding current software updates, security updates or alerts regarding error detection and recovery.
- Amazon S3 for static hosting – a significant part of any web application is static content (such as images, videos or files). Hosting static content through EC2 instances has a high cost. By moving static content to S3, you can significantly reduce the cost of computing power needed to host web applications.
Increased environmental performance is a big advantage of migrating from the on-premise option to the cloud. To take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the cloud, we present several ways to improve the efficiency of the environment.
- Vertical scaling – thanks to the wide availability of instances offered by AWS, depending on the load assumed by the environment, you can choose the type of instance appropriate for the load. On days where high loads are expected, more efficient instances can be used. In addition, the process can be easily automated using the Lambda function.
- EC2 Placement Groups – improve overall application performance, reducing network latency between virtual machines by appropriately spreading EC2 instances in an AWS infrastructure in a single Availability Zone.
- Leverage Tiered Storage – AWS offers a number of services related to data storage. Each has unique performance features. You can use, among others services such as:
Thanks to the right combination of instances, storage services and other AWS services, you can achieve a significant increase in environmental performance.
Moving to the AWS cloud also provides increased security, eliminating many of the risks associated with on-premise implementations. The Lift and Shift approach raises the issue of legacy workloads, in which modern forms of encryption may not apply. Despite emerging obstacles, you can ensure an increase in the level of security of your environment. Here are some suggestions on how to do it:
- Adding TLS using Application Load Balancerów – often older applications use HTTP or other simple protocols and remain vulnerable. The use of Application Load Balancers is a relatively simple solution to ensure SSL protocol offloading. Load balancer decrypts all traffic going to the instance, replacing it with the unencrypted one finally received by the instance.
- Improving security and configuration management with Sidecars – Sidecar works like an encrypted proxy server, providing the old application API to external clients via TLS. Sidecar is a kind of black box for applications.
- Security automation – the first step is the implementation of the DevSecOps, in the spirit of which AWS offers a number of services that help in its implementation, e.g. Amazon GuardDuty, AWS Shield, AWS WAF, AWS Config. It allows early detection of threats and quick response to dangers, providing a high security threshold.
By consciously choosing AWS services to help you ensure a greater level of security, and by making small changes to your existing architecture, you can mitigate the challenges associated with legacy workloads.
By choosing the Lift and Shift approach, you can save time spent on re-designing the solution, together with security and necessary tests, before implementation. It is also worth remembering to follow the best practices contained in the Cloud Adoption Framework, which supports the implementation of the best possible solutions. Thanks to the capabilities offered by the AWS cloud, we can not only minimize the risk of errors (thanks to automation), but also take advantage of such cloud benefits as: flexibility, performance, security and scalability.