Published: 30 March 2021

Reading time: About 3 minutes

When organisations want a relatively straight-forward way to move to the Cloud, they often employ what is known as a “lift and shift” approach.

It does what it says on the tin – the data is lifted and simply moved to the new Cloud environment without any change to the data or the Cloud architecture.

There are many reasons why people might opt for this approach – it’s seen as an easier, cheaper, less disruptive way than other Cloud migration processes. But, like everything, it has its downsides.

And that’s because you are just moving all the data over without any consideration of what it contains, whether this is data you don’t need or data you shouldn’t be storing.

So, how can you ensure that you’re not simply bringing all the mess and risk over with you?

Well, here’s why we think you need to SIFT and LIFT!

According to the Oxford Dictionary, there are two meanings of the word SIFT.

  • examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important, i.e., “until we sift the evidence ourselves, we can’t comment objectively”
  • put (a fine or loose substance) through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles, i.e., “sift the flour into a large bowl”

And in a way, that’s exactly what we mean when we say ‘intelligent migrations’:

  • You need to examine your data thoroughly so as to isolate the information which is most important. This is about understanding what is business-critical, has value and needs to be migrated. It’s also about understanding your risk exposure including knowing exactly what you’re holding, why you’re holding it and where it is stored.
  • And then you need to remove the data you don’t need – the lumps. This is about getting rid of all the information you have gathered over the years which is no longer relevant, is outdated or even unimportant. It’s about removing the background noise which is costing you money and causing clutter for your users.

So, sticking with a baking analogy, while you can just throw everything into a baking tin and hope for the best, it’s only when you measure out and sift your ingredients, do you bake the best cakes! I’m sure there’s a better analogy in there….

If you want to know more about Cloud migrations, or the “sift and lift” approach, contact us at


Written by: Sarah McCurdy