Cloud migration is hardly a seamless affair, but organizations can effectively leverage the cloud with the right planning and tools.

Carbonite Guest Blogger

December 22, 2020

4 Min Read
Cloud migration
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The shift to remote work, driven by the global health crisis, would not have been possible without the robust cloud infrastructure businesses now have access to. According to one study, more than 88% percent of organizations use the cloud, and 25% say they plan to move all applications to the cloud context in the next year. Much of this cloud migration is no doubt driven by businesses embracing more flexible work routines in light of COVID-19. In fact, the number of days spent telecommuting has risen 49% since the pandemic. But while the pandemic may have triggered the shift, there’s no sign things will be the same as they were once the crisis fades. In a recent survey, 83% of respondents said flexible work policies will remain in the foreseeable future.

The problem, for many organizations, is that migrating to the cloud is hardly a seamless affair. Many organizations struggle with the associated costs, downtime and resource requirements. Successful cloud migration depends on anticipating these hurdles and preparing for them. A few of the more common issues include:

  • Low downtime tolerance

  • Increased time for staff working irregular hours

  • Failing to validate new systems before cutover

These are large and important obstacles, but ones that can be overcome easily with the right planning and the right cloud migration tools.

“Free” Cloud Migration Tools

A lot of cloud vendors offer free tools to get your data into their cloud platform. But free tools are not as straightforward as they seem and are best suited for simple, data-only migrations. If you’re migrating a front-end application attached to a back-end database server, you’ll need to perform the following:

  • Determine when the production server can go offline take snapshots of it.

  • Get snapshots into the cloud to create a new replica.

  • Allocate staff to perform the cutover.

  • Verify the integrity of the data and the functionality of the application.

  • Test the new server to ensure consistency between pre- and post-migration UX.

In this scenario, downtime begins when the application comes offline so the migration tool can perform a final snapshot and sync the data. This time-consuming process has the potential to derail a migration project. With no indication of when the migration will complete, users are on standby waiting for the new system to come online. Once the final sync is finished, it can be several hours before those responsible for verification and testing complete their part in the migration.

Migration Is Not Rocket Science

You don’t have to be a NASA engineer to migrate to the cloud. But you do need proper planning and the right tools that meet the needs of your specific migration. The key to avoiding the downtime in the scenario above–and the way Carbonite Migrate works–is to use real-time replication to create the replica of the production server. This obviates the need for taking the production server offline to take snapshots, and it lets you test the new replica before actually cutting over to it, which helps eliminate downtime. Additionally, since the replica mirrors the source in real time, it significantly reduces the chance of losing data due to discrepancies between a point-in-time snapshot and the live production server. It also eliminates the final sync prior to cutover sine the replica is continuously updating.

Avoiding Migration Pitfalls

Data migration is never a one-and-done affair. It pays to do it well because it gives you more flexibility when considering future IT modernizations. Here are a few more tips on how to avoid common pitfalls:

  • Fully plan out the migration: There may be issues with the new platform that necessitate moving back to the old one. Have a plan for returning to the source without losing new data.

  • Chunk workloads: Break projects down into logical units. Then attack those server groups accordingly.

  • Perform fully functional tests: Fully functional tests are critical for consistently successful migrations.

  • Know when to raise your hand: A service provider with migration expertise can reduce the risk of a failed migration or even get you across the finish line if you’re struggling.

  • Take the long view: Assume that migrations will need to be performed again. Invest in using and learning tools and methodologies that will be useful for future projects as well as the current one.

  • Make the most of migration: Take the opportunity to review your overall business continuity (BC) plan. Consider high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) strategies holistically, where each plays off the other’s strengths, and as part of the larger business continuity strategy.

Learn More

To find out more about how Carbonite Migrate simplifies migration projects, visit our cloud migration page.

Steven Jurczak is a Product Copywriter at Carbonite and Webroot. He blogs about backup and recovery technology, information security and IT industry trends.


This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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