What Is the Meaning of “Lift and Shift”?

Picture this:

You are working with a team of people tasked with migrating the supply chain servers and related applications, databases, websites, and more from the datacenter in Atlanta, Georgia, to a Microsoft Azure tenet. There are ten servers in total, and all were built in 2020. They each:

Run Windows Server 2019 Datacenter
Are Dell PowerEdge R820 16-Bay Servers containing four 2.20Ghz E5-4607 Six Core Processors and a total of 64 GB of Memory
Have a local RAID-5 configuration of two sets, each of 3 drives per set of 500MB SSDs for a total of 2 logical drives per server, each having 1TB of logical space

It is determined that we will use the Azure Migrate Tool to move each server to a suitable Azure VM in the new tenet named ‘Supply_Chain_202202.’

The latest information pertaining to this migration is that it will be a ‘lift and shift’ for all ten servers.

So, the grand question is:
What is the meaning of ‘lift and shift’?

Let’s assume for the sake of clarification that you have a portable fireproof safety box (like a SentrySafe 1200 Fireproof Box) which contains twenty 100-USD bills and ten 500-EUR bills. You have to move all the bills (USD and EUR) to a storage facility owned by a national conglomerate.

In the example above, taking the locked SentrySafe 1200 to the storage facility and locking the box with the bills inside the storage facility is ‘lift and shifting’ the dollar bills. The other main methodology is ‘re-homing,’ which is taking the dollar bills out of the SentrySafe 1200 and placing the bills by themselves directly into the storage space.

Essentially, ‘lift and shift’ is moving the server ‘in one whole piece’ to the new location (in this case, Microsoft Azure). In this instance, it can be done using the Azure Migrate Tool process.

To clarify, ‘lift and shift’ moves the complete entity as one piece, while ‘re-homing’ refers to creating a new entity in the new location and just shifting the data and configurations.

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