Cloud Migration – How to get to Cloud 9

A snapshot view of current cloud approaches, reiterating the fundamental values of cloud migration and storage. The article is a beneficially simplified explanation of cloud migration benefits and approaches, for SMEs and others still contemplating the shift.

Much like the divisions between Apple and Windows users, there has come to be a schism between those in the cloud and those not there yet, or at least not interested in getting there. All of the benefits of cloud computing were laid out from the start. Although many businesses wanted to watch the roll-out before joining the migration. That has proven to be a balanced approach, although higher efficiency and a host of other benefits have by now accrued to those who made the leap early on.

Cloud computing touches a nerve, as the very concept of putting your “stuff” elsewhere – as opposed to being on a visible server in the strong room – is sometimes grisly for traditional thinking. Wait-and-seers can relax, however, as the security around cloud computing has lived up to expectations, being no less secure – and indeed, nowadays even tighter – than standard security measures at play in computing. Those who initially hesitated also haven’t lost too much in the interim.

Cloud computing in a nutshell

Indeed, now that cloud computing is mainstream, it’s easier than ever to contract a service provider to help you make the move to the cloud. Computers In The City, an IT support company takes clients to the cloud all the time. Your data is sensitive and precious, and bringing in IT support to manage migration and establishment in the cloud makes the entire process a pleasure. There are DIY solutions to evade associated costs. But, even in a basic space-buying scenario, the benefits and savings of cloud computing typically outweigh its cost to the bottom line.

Businesses also want a professional, secure solution for matters concerning IT. Fragmented DIY solutions aren’t really business solutions. There’s no need to patch things together or second-guess the value of the established cloud.

Migrating to the cloud means moving data and apps and other business components to a cloud computing environment. Various types of migration are possible, but the most common understanding is that data is moved from an onsite data center – in-house tech visible and stored on the business premises – to a remote server or software environment.

The cloud computing environment is one of distributed resources pulling together as one. Sometimes called “federated storage clouds,” the cloud computing solutions at play today are sophisticated and enabling. A standard approach has become to make the shift to the cloud a wholesale one. Thereafter, selected apps, data or other aspects can even be singled out for declouding as seems necessary or beneficial for business, if at all.

What are the benefits of a cloud server?

Because the cloud is almost always a combination of resources, this makes it extremely tolerant of faults. Because of its distributed data construct, cloud usage tends to eliminate different versions of the same file. Providing currency and standardisation for all users accessing specific data is a prime benefit of working in the cloud.

Cloud severs are also more stable, secure and faster than web servers. They escape the typical problematic issues of physical servers, thus alleviating stress on the annual IT budget. Unlike with physical servers, other users can’t overload a cloud server. And software issues are isolated and don’t impact your work environment either. Cloud servers also won’t impact other cloud servers, escaping the potential domino effect of previous server crashes.

Cloud servers provide a faster service, making operations more economical for money spent. Pound for pound, a cloud server will outdo the typical expense of a physical server. Cloud-hosted websites also run faster than their web-hosted counterparts, while scalability is a breeze with cloud servers. Not only is it most often more affordable than other means of upgrading, cloud computing makes a boost in memory quick and easy.

Migrating to the cloud

You might be crystal clear about which aspects of the business you want to move to the cloud – or not. In cloud computing, there’s no downside to a wholesale migration, merely company-specific tweaks that enable greater efficiency. In other words, moving wholesale to the cloud won’t negatively impact productivity. And it’s simply a matter of selecting certain components. If any – that you’d prefer subsequently re-allocated elsewhere for better efficiencies in the company.

Enterprise challenges around migration include interoperability concerns, as well as app and data portability. Issues of data security and integrity also feature high on business’ list of worries. On issues of security, the short answer is: don’t worry. Entering the cloud is no riskier than any other current operational model in place. Indeed, it’s less risky.

As for productivity during migration, that’s best enabled by good forward planning and extensive consultation beforehand. There are no truly inhibiting factors to migration, only the need for planning and professional execution. Business continuity doesn’t need to suffer at all. But migration does ask for effective forward planning and a decisive, forthright approach.

Migrating? Take a taxi, if you like…

Not uncommonly, businesses may even pack up their stuff and physically move it to their cloud provider’s premises. This is usually a matter of uploading data to external storage and then shipping the devices. More commonly, a company will employ the broad internet connection to shift its IP to the cloud. The use of an external storage device results in an offline migration, whereas shifting data electronically makes for an online migration.

An enterprise should always look at the existing IT landscape prior to a lift-and-shift, wholesale “as is” move to the cloud. It’s often going to prove beneficial to mod existing app architecture or even implement a new system that’s been pending prior to migration. Various factors, such as the amount of data to transfer and the allotted time to effect migration, will influence how you migrate to the cloud. However, when well-planned ahead of time, it’s an activity without any inherent bugginess.

Various free and paid-for tools and services are available online to enable migration. It’s best, however, that you have an IT professional do an initial appraisal with all attendant nuances factored in before migrating. Always back everything up to the maximum possible prior to any wholesale transfer. Planned carefully and approached professionally, migration to the cloud can indeed become a journey to Cloud 9.

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