Smooth Migration: One Way to Build Trust in the Cloud

Arthur Cole
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Make the Financial Case for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

The good news is that cloud migrations are getting simpler, and new tools are hitting the channel to both speed up the process and tighten security. The bad news is that many CEOs still do not fully trust the cloud and are starting to have doubts over its viability as a solution to their most pressing data problems.

That bit of caution comes from a recent survey of 3700 CEOs and CFOs around the world by Symantec, which found that while virtualization has gained widespread acceptance and has largely lived up to its initial expectations, the cloud still faces a significant credibility gap even though many of the security, availability and performance issues prove to be unfounded in actual practice.

The company recommends IT executives pay special heed to C-level concerns when presenting the front office with virtual/cloud expansion plans, but at the same time set realistic expectations of what these and other new technologies can and cannot do.

One of the ways to do that is through an aggressive monitoring regime - not just of the new virtual/cloud infrastructure but of the existing plant as well, according to migration and consolidation specialist SANpulse. Tools like a non-intrusive discovery engine can be crucial in mapping configuration and relationship patterns that will arise as both the old and new infrastructure become increasingly dynamic and unpredictable. This will go a long way toward alleviating implementation issues that spark doubts of the cloud's overall efficacy.

Already, a number of cloud-ready migration platforms have hit the channel, promising to take the sting out of the process. Racemi, for instance, offers the DynaCenter image-based system, which automates the transfer of physical and/or virtual server images without changing existing workloads. The system automatically compares source and destination configurations and then reworks the required network, storage and VM resources, plus all the required drivers, to ensure a working environment is available no matter which hardware or hypervisor is in play.

Once a migration platform is selected, however, be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the actual migration, according to Gartner. The research group has identified five general approaches to the task, including rehosting/redeployment of applications onto new hardware, complete refactoring onto host infrastructure and modification of existing code to support modernization requirements. Still, variances in data/application environments plus a wide range of business and IT goals can produce countless decision points throughout the course of a migration.

"It's the journey, not the destination" may be an apt catchphrase when it comes to road trips and mountain climbing, but when it comes to IT, both aspects require careful consideration. The migration must go as smoothly as possible - certainly no worse than a standard physical migration - but the final implementation must also produce tangible benefits that can be quantified and presented to the front office. After all, they are the ones who stand to gain, or lose, the most from the cloud.

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