A great many people want to get their data moved to the cloud. More than a few want to retrieve their data from the cloud. And increasingly, plenty of people want to move data from one cloud to another. Whatever the direction, the subject of cloud migration has become a hot topic.
The cloud migration market is being driven by many factors. Primary among them is the desire for organizations to offload storage from on-premises storage to the cloud. Half of all corporate data is now stored in the cloud, up from 30 percent in 2015, according to Statista. Further drivers include disaster recovery needs — having data on multiple, geographically dispersed clouds for redundancy. There has also been a reversal in some areas. Companies that found the cloud to be more expensive than envisioned. This has led some to decide to migrate data from the cloud back in-house.
Cloud Migration Approaches and Use Cases
There are several ways to migrate on-premises data to the cloud. It depends on the type of data and its volume. Huge amounts of data can be imported to AWS, for example, using services such as AWS Snowflake or AWS Snowmobile. But there are other ways to go about getting data into the cloud.
“If the amount of data is moderate to small, and the internet channel is good enough, services like AWS Storage Gateway or AWS DataSync can be used,” said Pavel Pragin, CEO of ClearScale.
“Some organizations can just copy data over to the cloud using AWS S3. Database data can be migrated using S3 and/or AWS Database Migration Service or native database replication.”
Another use case is to move virtual machines to the cloud. This is a lot easier than moving terabytes or even petabytes of mission-critical data. Thus, applications and VMs are heading to the cloud — these days, faster than actual data, which is often retained on-premises.
Additionally, replication technologies can be used to make continuously updated copies of LUNs to another disk array that resides with a cloud provider. This, however, requires enough bandwidth but maintains consistency and allows the organization to test the new setup for the new world of hybrid cloud.
Yet another use case for cloud migration is to save money and fulfill archiving and compliance mandates. This can be achieved by migrating data onto tape storage in the cloud. Many providers now offer a low-cost cold tier for this purpose. While they don’t tend to publicize that this data resides on tape, that is the only place where it can be stored economically. So migration to cloud tape storage for large volumes of inactive data is a growing trend.
Cloud Migration Speed
Options for cloud-to-cloud migration are largely the same as for on-premises to cloud. But for large volumes, factors like egress bandwidth throttling should be considered, so multiple parallel migration sessions are often utilized.
“Migration to the cloud is usually combined with at least migration to a managed service,” Pragin said. “This process is usually driven by business and supporting applications transformation, so data migration becomes just one of the steps for businesses in their cloud journey.”
But just as business pace often determines competitive advantage, most companies want their migrations to happen fast. Accordingly, Vcinity has designed solutions to move data faster and in a deterministic manner. For every 1 Gbps of networking bandwidth to be moved (regardless of distance), 11 TB of data can be transferred in under 24 hours.
“This predictability creates improved SLAs and minimizes risks that normally occur with regard to time allocation,” said Steve Wallo, Vcinity CTO.
“Since data and applications don’t need to be geographically co-located, you can launch applications in the cloud but keep the data the application needs on-prem. This removes the time, cost, and risk of moving data and applications together to the cloud.”
He cautioned organizations about moving everything to the cloud without thinking it through. If the decision is made to move that data back on-premises, it can be a costly business. That’s why there is a growing trend of only migrating data into the cloud that will not need to be used again.
Wallo also noted that businesses are migrating workloads away from the public cloud into private clouds.
“Private clouds are offering more tailored services and are seen as less risky and more performance than public,” he said.
Cloud migration providers
There are many companies offering cloud migration services. The breadth of these services varies widely from one provider to another.
Some are focused on backup and disaster recovery, with cloud migration being an added part of their services. Others are based solely on getting data to the big cloud providers, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. These companies offer their own migration tools and are also served by an ecosystem of others that specialize in migrating data to and from the major cloud offerings as well as providing additional services.
Beyond the majors, here are some of the top providers of cloud migration services:
- Micro Focus
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