Migrating to the cloud can be a complex process, and choosing the right method is essential for a successful transition. That’s where the six Rs of cloud migration come in; re-host, re-platform, re-purchase, re-factor, retire and retain.
These Rs provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating and addressing the various aspects of cloud migration.
Depending on the nature of your business, it can be beneficial to choose one, or multiple, migration methods. Whilst the Rs provide a structure for your business to move information, workloads, and software to the Cloud, they can be performed in tandem with each other.
Whether you’ve already chosen your new cloud platform or are still deciding between a public or private cloud, this blog will guide you through the 6 Rs and how they can ensure a seamless, successful migration for your business.
In order to understand which combination of R’s is right for your business, you need to assess your business. But what assessment strategy should you use? Take our ‘Cloud Migration Assessment Quiz’ to find out.
What are the 6 Rs of Cloud Migration?
Re-host (Lift and Shift)
Re-hosting, also referred to as ‘lift and shift’, involves moving existing applications or workloads from an on-premise or other hosting platform to a cloud environment, without making any substantial changes to the application or workload.
The main objective of this migration strategy is to quickly take advantage of the cost-effectiveness, scalability, and flexibility of the Cloud without the need for significant changes or modifications to the existing application or workload. This makes re-host the perfect option for businesses that have little to move.
This strategy is typically used to meet:
- Short-term needs: If a business has a short-term need for additional resources or capacity, a lift and shift migration can be a quick and easy way to get those resources in place without making any major changes to the existing application or workload
- Legacy systems: Many businesses have legacy systems that are critical to their operations, but aren’t easily adaptable to a cloud environment. A lift and shift migration can be an effective way to move these systems to the Cloud without having to re-architect or re-platform them
- Compliance regulations: Some businesses may be subject to compliance regulations that make it difficult to make significant changes to their applications or workloads. A lift and shift migration can be an effective way to move these systems to the Cloud without having to make changes that could put compliance at risk
- Budget constraints: A lift and shift migration can be a cost-effective way to move applications or workloads to the Cloud, especially when a business is operating on a tight budget and cannot afford to invest in expensive re-architecture or re-platforming projects
- Time constraint: Sometimes businesses face tight deadlines and need to move their applications or workloads to the Cloud quickly. Rehost migration is a good option because it doesn’t require significant changes to the existing application or workload, and it can be completed in a relatively short amount of timeDue to the nature of a lift and shift, in order to make some applications work in another cloud environment, some workflows are likely to be lifted and tweaked.
Re-platform (Lift and Tweak)
The ‘lift and tweak’, or re-platform, method of cloud migration involves taking an existing application and moving it to a different platform or infrastructure with minimal changes. This approach typically involves making small adjustments to the application, such as configuring it to work with the new platform, but not making any significant changes to the application’s code or architecture.
This method is often used when the goal is to take advantage of the benefits of the new platform without incurring the costs and risks of a complete re-architecture of the application. Similarly, it’s often used for businesses that have grown significantly in a short period of time and are looking to optimise their storage for the Cloud.
The main benefit of the ‘lift and tweak’ method is that it allows organisations to move their existing applications to the Cloud with minimal disruption and development costs. This method can be less complex and less time-consuming compared to a full re-architecture of the application, which can be a significant undertaking.
It can also enable organisations to take advantage of the scalability, cost savings, and other benefits of the Cloud platform, such as automation and self-service capabilities, without having to completely overhaul their existing application.
This method is also useful when the organisation has limited resources or the application is critical and can’t afford to be down for a long time.
Repurchase (Drop and Shop)
The ‘drop and shop’ method of cloud migration involves taking an existing application and replacing it with a pre-built, cloud-native application or SaaS solution that provides similar functionality.
When compared with the six Rs of cloud migration, this approach typically involves selecting a third-party application or service that is already available in the Cloud, rather than building a new application from scratch or modifying an existing one.
The goal of the repurchase method is to quickly and easily take advantage of the benefits of the Cloud, such as scalability and cost savings. This allows your business to instantly take advantage of the latest features and capabilities of the Cloud platform, such as automation, without having to invest in the development of a new application or the modification of an existing one.
However, this method may require additional initial costs for licences, additional features and support, and may also involve extra work on data migration and testing.
The ‘re-factor’ or ‘re-architect’ method of cloud migration involves making significant changes to an existing application in order to optimise it for a cloud environment. This can include changes to the application’s architecture, code, and infrastructure.
Re-factoring can be the most complex and time-consuming of all the 6 Rs as it requires a significant investment in development and testing. However, it also offers the greatest potential for improvements in performance, scalability, and cost savings.
Additionally, by re-architecting the application, organisations can take advantage of the latest cloud-native technologies and best practices. This method is also useful when the organisation wants to take advantage of the services provided by cloud providers that can’t be replicated on-premise, or when the organisation wants to improve the security, compliance, and governance of the application.
Is re-architecting right for your business? In order to help you identify which Rs will be appropriate for your business’ cloud migration, take our ‘Cloud Migration Assessment Quiz’ now to understand your needs and receive an exclusive fact sheet.
The ‘retire’ method of cloud migration involves decommissioning an application and discontinuing its use, rather than migrating it to the Cloud. This is then replaced by a newer application. Retire is usually not used in isolation, but with one of the other 5 Rs, such as re-architect or re-platform.
The method allows organisations to eliminate unnecessary and costly applications and free up resources, such as hardware and staff time, that can be better used elsewhere. This method can also reduce complexity and improve security by eliminating old, unsupported applications that may be vulnerable to security threats. Additionally, it can help organisations reduce costs by eliminating the need to maintain and support applications that are no longer needed.
However, this method also has some disadvantages, including:
- Loss of critical data and functionality: If the application is not replaced by another one, the organisation may lose data and functionality that is important to its operations
- Difficulty in preserving and migrating historical data: Retiring an application can make it difficult to preserve and migrate historical data that is stored in the application
- Dependencies on the retiring application: Dependencies on the retiring application may not be immediately obvious, and can cause disruptions if not identified and addressed before the application is retired
- Need to re-create functionality: If the retiring application is not replaced by another one, the organisation may need to spend time and resources recreating the functionality that the retiring application provided
The ‘retire’ method should be used with caution when used in isolation, and only when there is no other option. It’s also vital to ensure that the data stored in the retiring application is properly backed up and archived, and that any dependencies on the retiring application are identified and addressed.
Retain is the 6th R of cloud migration, and is sometimes more commonly known as the ‘hybrid’ method. This migration tactic involves keeping certain applications on-premise instead of migrating them to the Cloud. A retain approach allows organisations to keep control over certain critical workloads and sensitive data, while still taking advantage of the benefits of the Cloud for other workloads.
Businesses in certain sectors, such as the public sector, might choose this strategy when an application is critical to their day to day operations or contains sensitive data that cannot be moved to the Cloud. For example, a business may choose to retain an application on-premise if it contains sensitive customer data that is required to be kept in-house for regulatory compliance reasons.
Another example is when an application has high performance requirements, and the business wants to retain it on-premises for latency reasons.
The benefits of this strategy include:
- Maintaining business continuity and keeping control over critical workloads and confidential data
- Reducing costs by eliminating the need to migrate and maintain certain applications in the Cloud
- Migrating to the Cloud using a phased approach, which can help to minimise the risk of disruption to their operations
It’s worth noting that this method is useful when the organisation doesn’t have a clear view of the Cloud adoption strategy or when the organisation wants to test the Cloud before making a big commitment.
Which of the 6 Rs of cloud migration should I choose?
In conclusion, the 6 Rs of cloud migration: re-host, re-platform, re-purchase, re-factor, retire, and retain – provide a comprehensive framework for assessing and addressing the various aspects of a cloud migration.
By understanding the pros and cons of each deployment method and their ideal use cases, you can start to make an informed decision on which approach is best for your business.
In some instances, depending on your business model, these may be used in tandem with each other. For example, while re-hosting, you may also retire some legacy applications.
In order to fully understand which of the six Rs of cloud migration are applicable to your business, and when to use them, you’ll need to review your internal infrastructure. Depending on the complexity of your business, this review will either be a Migration Assessment or a Well Architected Review. A Migration Assessment determines which applications can be moved to the cloud and which deployment models are best for your business, whereas a Well Architected Review evaluates how well your company’s cloud-based infrastructure aligns with industry best practices and provides guidance for improvement.
Remember: It’s important to take the time to assess your unique needs and requirements, and to work with experienced professionals to ensure a seamless transition. With the right approach, your business can reap the many rewards of the Cloud.