Data Migration Becomes Major Cloud Computing Issue

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Cloud Computing Fear Factor

Despite hesitancy toward cloud computing, it's having an impact on the roles of IT executives.

It was really only a matter of time before data migration in the cloud became a major issue following the shutting down of the cloud service run by Iron Mountain and the well-publicized Amazon outages .

With many customers now either looking for alternatives to these providers or simply exploring contingency plans, the subject of data migration across divergent public clouds is now a major IT issue. Of course, the problem that many IT organizations are often going to discover when studying their options is that in a fair number of these cloud computing platforms, their data will be stored inside a proprietary file system that will hinder any migration effort.

Nevertheless, we are seeing cloud computing providers get more aggressive about this issue. For example, Nirvanix today announced a Cloud Sideloader offering that makes it easier for IT organizations to migrate files from another cloud service provider directly into Nirvanix's data centers. In addition to waiving the network fees associated with such transfers, Steve Zivanic, Nirvanix vice president of marketing, says Nirvanix is committed to making sure that its tools can be used bi-directionally in case any customer is unhappy with its service.

Zivanic says the issue that many IT organizations don't yet appreciate about cloud computing services is the varied levels of control they get over their own data. In the case of Nirvanix, customers can dictate where data is stored anywhere in the globe in a way that pretty much mirrors how traditional enterprise data centers operate.

In general, there's a lot of work that still needs to be done in terms of interoperability in the cloud. In the meantime, IT organizations would be well-advised to shy away from services that either employ cutting-edge technologies that lock you into that service, or insist on a level of control that effectively puts limits on how you manage your data.

Of course, not all data is of equal value, so you may want to starting thinking about creating tiers of cloud computing service providers with mission-critical application workloads being reserved for the providers that operate as a true extension of your environment, versus trying to build walls between you and your data as part of an effort to lower their costs, but not necessarily their pricing.

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