Perhaps a few years ago your business migrated data and applications to a private cloud…but now you’ve discovered the need to move yet again. Sometimes the first Cloud situation doesn’t meet expectations in terms of cost and performance. Maybe there have been total outages causing too much disruption for staff and customers. Over time some businesses find that switching to a different Cloud provider will provide a much better match in terms of the services and service-level agreements (SLAs). Sometimes the mismatch between goals and actual performance is holding the business back.
As the business owner or CFO, you rely on in-house staff or an outsourced provider to plan and implement moving between Cloud providers. This is an important business decision so below is some helpful information about the process.
Moving between Cloud providers is not impossible but neither is it a simple procedure. Knowing the key steps to take can make this process as painless as possible.
The most important success factor: choosing an experienced Cloud Integrator to guide the efforts.
Moving data from one service to another can be nerve wracking. The goal is to not lose information and not have any interruption in service. The good news is that done right, a Cloud-to-Cloud migration can be quite safe, smooth and convenient.
The first step in the process is to choose a Cloud Integrator that has all of the tools and experience to get the job done correctly for the right cost. They need to be knowledgeable and experienced about security protocols, Cloud access techniques as well as how to preserve high uptime and tuning for optimal performance. They also need a solid backup method because the first step is to make a verified backup as a fallback–and for peace of mind. A good Cloud Integrator makes connections between existing Cloud providers and the new one to smooth the transition process.
Assess differences between cloud provider infrastructures
Underlying cloud platforms can differ. This drives how to migrate the applications. If a Cloud provider’s platform is proprietary, it can be more difficult, but not impossible to move. A migration between Cloud providers that operate using the same platforms offers a better chance at migrating without modifications to the new environment.
Decide whether to move or recreate applications
After researching the differences between the old and new Cloud services and reviewing the options to move applications and data, the next consideration is whether to move the applications or recreate them from scratch. While moving the application may be faster, incompatibilities and licensing constraints can occur. This is the time to make changes to how the applications operate in the Cloud. One example of this would be to move to the next generation of virtualization that is based on standard containers to improve Cloud compatibility and reduce administration costs.
Evaluate data migration options
Cloud providers are making it easier to move data in and out by providing specialized tools such as Amazon’s Snowball. Businesses are also implementing a multi-cloud management platform to create compatibilities with multiple Cloud networks to provide more uniformity between environments.
Prepare the new Cloud home
The new Cloud provider will provide documentation on the needed preparations to receive all migrated apps and data. This will require some technical work such as creating IP subnets, selecting policies, preparing disaster recovery options and more. Many times the Cloud deployment and management tools provided by Cloud providers operate differently but use the same concepts. It is essential to build and thoroughly test the new environment to make sure it works correctly prior to the move.
Schedule and execute the transfer
It is important to choose a transfer time for the process to begin. A quick calculation will indicate if the transfer will complete in the expected window. Depending on the amount of data, this can take minutes or hours. During the process, files will not be accessible. For this reason, transfers are typically performed at night or on a weekend.
Test the new environment prior to moving into production
Once the migration is completed there is one last important step. Fully test the new cloud platform to make sure it can handle the apps and anticipated user loads. The backup files on the existing cloud space of the former service provider should not be deleted until there is proof that the new environment is working well. This deletion should only proceed when there are enough onsite copies of your backup to fulfill the retention policy.
Migrating data from one cloud service provider to another involves planning, budgeting and attention to detail. Contact NPI Technology Management to learn more about Cloud migrations. You may also want to read these additional articles from NPI: Don’t use half-measures with Cloud backup and Creating a coherent Cloud strategy.