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December 24, 2009

Data Migration: Challenges of Moving to the Cloud

Filed under: Data Migration — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 8:35 am

Okay, the cloud seems to become a real trend, so now for many enterprises there’s no question whether to adopt the cloud, but how to do it better.  Cloud’s major idea, that attracts many organizations, is the possibility to move their applications out of internal data centers into the cloud, and let cloud providers take care about maintaining the applications. However (and it’s been mentioned not once), application migration and data migration to external clouds are not simple processes.

Not to become overenthusiastic and have a clear view on moving to the cloud, it’s good to know the challenges and questions that data migration raises.

Clouds possess different architectures, and thus require technical personnel to upgrade their skills to fit cloud requirements in terms of implementation and operation. This is the most likely-to-face data migration challenge when moving applications to the cloud.

Data security is also among cloud data migration challenges. In fact, moving data into some third-party provider’s servers, you’ll know about it that it is somewhere in the cloud. This somewhere may be anywhere; there were lots of talks this year about clouds lacking transparency. However, this doesn’t mean that data migration into the cloud is a bad idea. This only means, that what applications (and what data) to move to the cloud should be carefully defined.

As for lowering cost, yes, moving to the cloud is one of the solutions to cut company’s expenses.  But that won’t come immediately. Initially, data migration will demand investment, for either data migration tool will be necessary to perform on-premise-cloud data migration, or the need to pay for data migration service. What matters, is that there won’t be free data migration anywhere. Depending on what tool you will choose, the cost may be higher or lower.  Yes, I’m talking about open source solutions that are available today as widely, as proprietary tools. However, when making a decision about what to choose, you shouldn’t be driven by merely cost cutting ideas, but follow your business goals, and choose the tool providing best opportunities to achieve those goals.

So, moving to the cloud has become a trend, and it’s fair, for the benefits provided of the cloud are real. However, though it seems simple just to move enterprise applications and data to the cloud, data migration must be properly planed and possible challenges analyzed before making the first move.

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