Slow and Steady Toward the Cloud

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

Choosing Your First Cloud Application Initiative

Questions you should ask to help determine which cloud application path you should pursue.

Whenever we talk about the challenges of cloud computing, we're primarily talking about getting systems and data up and running on the cloud.


To be sure, there will be management and security issues once a new resource tier has been added to the mix, but the immediate problem is getting there in the first place.


That massive migration is one of the reasons some experts say cloud computing is not the tidal wave that has been depicted in the trade press, with the eager encouragement of leading service and platform providers. The sheer scope of the problem and the complexities involved in ensuring data and application reliability and security guarantee that the cloud will be a gradual development-disruptive, yes, but not overwhelmingly so.


And it seems that this reality is making itself known in data center circles. A recent survey from SANPulse Technologies indicates that more than a third of larger enterprises plan to migrate to a public or private cloud within the next year, even though the vast majority of managers report a good 40 percent of their current migrations run longer and cost more than budgeted. Add this to the already widespread concerns over data privacy, reliability and security, and it's starting to seem that the cloud juggernaut is already running out of steam.


But while at first blush it might seem that migrating to the cloud will be an even more complicated process than migrating to another local SAN environment, that may not necessarily be the case. As it turns out, the cloud itself might simplify migration. Technologies like the native migration service module in the new 2.4 release of Nasuni's Filer appliance, for instance, taps into cloud resources to handle the largest of data sets while maintaining access control and governance policies, as well comprehensive audit information. It also does away with multiple copy utilities and can be configured to move data from multiple servers simultaneously.


Still, just because technology can speed up the process doesn't mean you should rush in too quickly, according to systems architect Rajagopal Sattaluri. An incremental approach is probably your best bet considering all of the facets involved in a successful migration. Things like gaining a full understanding of the cloud platform itself and ensuring that the applications being ported over are even suitable for cloud operation are crucial to a successful launch.



Without doubt, there will be more data on the cloud by this time next year, and subsequent years after that. But it would be a mistake to think you must be knee-deep in the cloud by 2012. The benefits of cloud computing are indeed compelling, but they can only be attained through a smooth transition from today's physical/virtual infrastructure.


Get the migration right, and the cloud will surely follow.



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