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Arthur Cole
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Five Ways to Migrate Applications to the Cloud

Migration strategies organizations should consider when moving to the cloud.

In IT circles, the expectation is that the cloud will very quickly evolve from today's primary role as a storage and backup service to a full-scale application layer.


That's going to require tweaks to much of today's current network infrastructure, which is primarily geared toward optimizing data tiers rather than application performance. Indeed, as channelbuzz.ca's Chris Talbot noted this week, the biggest hurdle is putting cloud-based applications on a performance parity with in-house services. As you might expect, WAN optimization will play a key role in this effort.


A quick scan of some of the more recent optimization and acceleration releases shows that some of the pieces are already falling into place. Cisco, for example, just refreshed its Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) portfolio, offering a five-fold increase in throughput, plus a specialized data redundancy software module aimed at doubling application and network optimization without hampering the user experience. Cisco expects the number of network-based applications to hit 1 million by the end of the decade.


The increasing focus on network application performance is producing a number of innovations on the part of small optimization developers. Exinda, for example, is beta testing a virtual version of its Unified Performance Management appliance designed to allow greater deployment flexibility in cloud environments. The system offers the same functionality as the hardware platform, including application visibility and monitoring, as well as policy-based application classification and prioritization.


Network providers are also taking steps to ensure their platforms are application-friendly. Level 3 just added a new WAN optimization component to its services portfolio that includes benefits like dedicated Internet access (DIA), increased application visibility and streamlined access through network-based firewalls. The company says its goal is to provide an optimized network environment that can be entrusted with the highest level business-critical apps.


Building up that level of trust may take some time, however. At this stage in the game, most organizations are probably content to stick with the mainstream SaaS applications like CRM and project management functions.



Still, the trend lines are pointed in the direction of increased network application operations. As comfort with the technology grows, enterprises shouldn't be surprised to one day find themselves just as dependent on their wide area infrastructure as their LAN.



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