Lift and Shift

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What Does Lift and Shift Mean?

“Lift and shift” is a particular technique in software migration where an application or code base is simply taken out of one environment and placed in another environment, without significant underlying design change.

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Techopedia Explains Lift and Shift

The lift and shift approach has been popular for many legacy migration projects. However, it has to be contrasted with various alternatives. One alternative is re-architecting, where the application or code base in question gets fundamentally redesigned in order to work in a different environment. Another alternative is re-factoring, where an application is changed when it reaches the new environment, i.e., the cloud.

In evaluating lift and shift versus re-factoring, engineers and developers have to consider various pros and cons. Lift and shift does not require as much effort in migration, and migration can take place more quickly, but the application may not be able to take advantage of all of the benefits of the new environment — again, usually the cloud (versus legacy on-premises).

Re-factoring allows for more cloud benefits, but requires more effort and cost in migration.

Some companies may lift and shift and then pursue re-factoring or re-architecting as necessary.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.