Lift & Shift vs Re-architecting: What’s better for Cloud Migrations?

16 February 2023

Cloud migrations have become crucial components of digital transformation for organisations of all sizes. With so many options available, choosing the right approach can be overwhelming. In this blog, we'll explore two popular cloud migration strategies - Lift & Shift and Re-architecting, to help you understand the benefits, risks, and key factors to consider when deciding between the two.

Understanding the Approaches - Lift & Shift and Re-architecting

Lift & Shift and Re-architecting represent two common approaches to performing a cloud migration. Lift & Shift transfers existing systems and applications to the cloud without significant changes, making it quicker and less complex, but may result in higher costs due to a lack of full cloud optimisation. Re-architecting involves a complete overhaul of systems and applications to optimise and scale them for the cloud, requiring more time and resources, but resulting in a more efficient solution by the end.

Advantages & Risks of Lift & Shift & Re-architecting

When choosing between Lift & Shift or Re-architecting, it is crucial to consider the advantages and risks of each approach. Lift & Shift is faster and less complex, making it ideal for organisations with limited resources. However, it may lead to higher costs in the long run. Re-architecting provides a comprehensive solution but requires more time and resources, making it a challenging option for organisations with limited budgets and manpower.

When to Choose Lift & Shift or Re-architecting

The choice between Lift & Shift and Re-architecting will depend on an organisation's specific needs and goals. For instance, Lift & Shift may be appropriate for organisations with legacy systems that are difficult to overhaul. At the same time, Re-architecting may be better for organisations looking to optimise for the cloud. In general, Lift & Shift is a good option for organisations with time and budget constraints, and Re-architecting for organisations looking to leverage the benefits of the cloud fully.

Key Factors to Consider

When deciding between Lift & Shift and Re-architecting, consider factors such as your existing infrastructure, resources, and long-term goals. A systematic evaluation of these factors will help inform your decision. For instance, organisations with limited resources may find Lift & Shift to be more attractive, but those looking to optimise for the cloud may find Re-architecting to be the better option.

Additionally, re-platforming should also be taken into account when making your decision. Re-platforming involves migrating to a cloud-native equivalent, such as SQL PaaS or cloud-based load balancing, which can enhance the cloud optimisation of your systems and applications. It's worth noting that even when adopting a Lift & Shift approach, some level of re-platforming may still be necessary. Therefore, determining the extent of re-platforming required and the resources needed should be factored into the decision between Lift & Shift and Re-architecting.

Best Practices for a Successful Cloud Migration

Regardless of the approach chosen, there are several best practices for planning and executing a successful cloud migration. These include:

  • Clearly defining migration goals and objectives
  • Conducting a thorough assessment of existing systems and applications
  • Evaluating the resources and expertise required for each approach
  • Considering the potential impact on business operations and employees
  • Establishing clear timelines and budgets


Choosing the right approach for cloud migration can be challenging, but understanding the benefits and risks of Lift & Shift and Re-architecting and taking into account specific needs and goals will help ensure success. Having a clear plan in place and working with a trusted partner will make the migration smooth and successful, unlocking the full potential of the cloud and enabling the organisation to thrive in the digital age.