1 min read

Lift 'n shift

Remember website maintenance pages? 20 years ago, it seemed like every week your favorite websites would just go offline for a while. It was normal. Now, the most popular websites are up and running 24/7/365. They still perform maintenance, so what changed?

Primarily, it's just better practices. The technology has incrementally improved to enable zero downtime maintenance, but it's mostly processes. Instead of running your app on one server, you have multiple servers. Instead of turning the server off and on, you spin up new servers to accept traffic before turning off the old ones. Instead of deploying the new version of your app in place, you deploy to a new server, test it, and then route traffic to that new server before taking down the old version.

One major maintenance project is the "lift and shift." Typically, companies seek outside help to move all their website/app infrastructure from one cloud provider (like Microsoft) to another (like Amazon). Sometimes it's a move from their own in-house servers to the cloud. Despite the complexity of this kind of operation, customers don't notice any difference if it's performed correctly.

It's not so simple to lift and shift dApps. Because of blockchain gas fees, your users are blockchain users first, dApp users second. If you tried to port your smart contracts from Ethereum to Solana, then change your centralized front-end to talk to the new network, your users would 100% notice. They would need to set up new wallet software and buy new tokens to use the dApp.

Imagine Netflix changed platforms and everything kept working as before, but if your kid wants to watch Cocomelon, you'll have to set up a new account and enter your credit card information again.

Blockchains that remove the need for dApp users to hold their own tokens will allow for seamless lift and shift.


P.S. Koinos handles this with mana sponsorships, but other blockchains could support gas sponsorships. This would require a lot of dedication from the dApp host because they'd be at risk of losing all their money. Regardless, enabling dApp users without tokens is needed for mass adoption of blockchain.