Which cloud path is right for you: Rehost, Replatform or Refactor?

The popularity of cloud applications and infrastructure in recent years has led to a critical question: which path to the cloud is right for my business? Choosing the right approach is fundamental in ensuring long-term success. While some favor a rehost or "lift-and-shift" model, others see more significant benefit in re-platforming or even a refactoring path. However, there is no single "golden bullet" to success. Instead, IT leaders should formulate their cloud migration strategy, preferably with their trusted IT vendor, to ensure an informed point of view, supports any decision taken. 

Generally speaking, organizations looking to migrate workloads to the cloud will choose between three main cloud migration approaches: (1) rehost (frequently called "lift and shift", (2) re-platform and, (3) refactor.

We will discuss the pros and cons of each option below to give you a broad sense of which path may be right for your business. 


Option 1: Rehost 'Lift and Shift' 

Rehosting is the most common migration approach taken by organizations. Put simply, a "lift and shift" transfers on-premises applications directly to the cloud with limited or no modifications. The objective is to migrate the application 'as-is' with as little change as possible. Using this approach, workloads are migrated directly to a dedicated VM in the cloud with similar capabilities. This approach offers a rapid, less resource-intensive, and therefore, cost-effective cloud migration. However, it does not leverage many native advantages of the cloud including, most notably, elasticity. For this reason, it may be more expensive simply migrating existing processes to the cloud than if you were to refactor or re-platform. This is caused by 'over-provisioning' in which migrated workloads have excessive computing and storage capacity. In fact, according to Bain & Company study that analyzed 60,000 workloads, 84% of cloud workloads are over-provisioned, and compared to remaining on-premises can be 10-15% more expensive.


Option 2: Re-platform

Re-platforming is a middle ground cloud migration approach that sits between rehosting and refactoring. This involves some up-versioning which may take the form of adopting a managed database or leveraging a dynamic auto-scaling functionality. Although this migration strategy will take longer than lift-and-shift, it enables your organization to capitalize on some of the benefits of cloud infrastructure. For example, using auto-scaling for backend workloads can reduce DevOps load for adding and reducing instances manually. Moreover, you can reduce infrastructure costs with dynamic on-demand scaling of instances instead of pre-provisioning instances for peak demand. In this sense, re-platforming provides a degree of cost-effectiveness, functionality, and time-savings without the significant resource requirements of refactoring.


Option 3: Refactoring 

Refactoring is the most resource-intensive cloud migration option. This is a disciplined process of reviewing, rearchitecting, and recoding components of an existing application before migrating to the cloud. This approach is adopted to fully leverage native features of the cloud and the extra flexibility that it enables. Despite its upfront cost and resource commitment, refactoring is more likely to produce a superior return on investment in the long run. Also, because your application is cloud-native, it exploits the continuous innovation model of the cloud which provides improvements in functionality, operations, security, resilience, and responsiveness.


How Qubix can help: 

If your organization is considering moving to the cloud, explore our Cloud Migration service. By looking at the totality of your IT system, our experts can evaluate the best approach for your organization. This may include a rapid 'lift and shift' of your current processes or taking a step back and transforming your broader infrastructure and workloads as part of your cloud migration. Our cloud migration accelerators are underpinned by 30+ years of experience across a variety of solutions, technologies, and industries. We bring proven expertise curated from 1,000+ engagements globally, innovative delivery tools, and unique IP, such as Qubix Cloudbridge.

Leverage pre-defined deployment models for rapid, predictable results. Or, follow a customized roadmap that includes defined outcomes, timelines, change management, training, and support for any application or workload you need to migrate.

Explore Qubix Cloud Migration service.

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