The cloud is fast becoming an indispensable component of modern data infrastructure, and many organizations are working feverishly to unite their public and private clouds into a unified hybrid entity.
But it is becoming clear that while building clouds is challenge enough, the complexity really kicks into high gear during the migration process. Not only do you have to move large volumes of data back and forth, but you must maintain consistent management and policy enforcement across disparate infrastructures and provide this in such a way that business users, not IT, can oversee the process. This is not as easy as it sounds given that applications behave differently on internal and external infrastructure, even if they are based on the same cloud platform.
This is what makes migration so stressful and frustrating, says Bill Carolan, of New Jersey-based systems integrator SHI International. The assessment and planning stages alone are enough to slow a cloud program to a crawl, as these steps require a thorough review of local infrastructure, particularly networking, followed by tests, trial runs, the inevitable re-evaluation of the migration process, then more tests… And even after a successful launch, migration must be continually monitored and adjusted to meet changing workload requirements and business objectives. All the while, there is constant user and admin training and retraining, plus a host of considerations when it comes to the disposal of unnecessary hardware.
Many cloud providers are looking to reduce some of these burdens through Migration as a Service (MaaS) offerings – essentially leveraging the cloud to improve their clients’ cloud performance. Cloudbase Solutions recently released the Coriolis migration service that streamlines the transition of legacy Microsoft and Linux workloads from the data center to leading public clouds like Azure, OpenStack, AWS and Google Cloud. The company says it can provide seamless and automated migration of multiple workloads, virtual machines, templates and network and storage configurations from existing vSphere and Microsoft System Center architectures to a hybrid footing with high fault tolerance and support for advanced microservices.
Meanwhile, BitTitan has launched a new migration platform aimed at cloud service providers looking to draw Office 365 applications into their clouds without specialized expertise or toolsets. The initial release focuses on email archive applications like Veritas Enterprise Vault and EMC SourceOne, which are usually very difficult to migrate due to their large amounts of unstructured data and the ease with which aging files become corrupted. The service provides full “stub” management and rehydration for seamless migration, as well as detailed chain of custody and exception reporting to reduce risk of data loss. As well, BitTitan provides best practices consultation to tackle configuration, migration and user-experience issues.
At the same time, FalconStor Software is blending migration, continuity, backup, recovery and a host of other functions into an integrated services portfolio that gives providers the opportunity to lift all these burdens from the enterprise’s shoulders. The FreeStor platform provides a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined data and services platform that oversees internal IT, co-located and managed services simultaneously. In this way, MSPs can simplify management of the wide range of applications, operating systems, hypervisors and storage platforms that clients are looking to migrate, which in turn allows them to offer simplified pricing structure, multi-tenant reporting and billing, and a wide range of capacity requirements.
Migration will continue to be a top challenge in the hybrid cloud, but this only serves to draw increased development activity aimed at making cloud adoption less burdensome for the enterprise. After all, cloud providers are eager to draw workloads, and you can’t do that if the process is so confusing and expensive that potential clients feel it just isn’t worth the bother.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.