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Tips for a smooth cloud migration

Migrating to the cloud may be a top mandate for CIOs, but it is no easy feat. In fact, cloud migrations “are notoriously difficult” and about 80% of them fail, Mark Broghammer, director of solutions engineering at iLand, a cloud provider, said during a webinar about cloud migrations.

So how can you migrate to the cloud and mitigate risk?

Here are some suggestions Broghammer has for CIOs and companies to think about as they plot their cloud migration strategies.

Load testing

Long term analysis, the method often used to try to gauge whether an application will work, doesn’t always help you predict whether an application or server will work well with the cloud service you are planning to migrate over to. “The fact is, you don’t know how an application’s going to work in the cloud,” Broghammer said.

This is where load testing, or performance testing, is helpful, Broghammer said. With load testing, a cloud testing provider can test an application or applications against the actual number of users expected. Based on the results of the test, a CIO or company can then gain better insight into how that cloud service will work for them and what the performance of their applications will look like when they actually migrate over to that cloud service.

Migrating physical vs. virtual workloads

We live in a hybrid IT world and companies aren’t uniform across the board when it comes to the type of technologies they’re using. Some companies have a mixture of legacy systems, on-premises, and off-premises services.

“The point is, how can you be cost efficient if you’re running many types of projects on systems being handled by different teams both internally and externally?” Broghammer said.

Different providers often have different systems in place and different processes. Therefore if you have a hybrid environment of different projects on different systems it can be difficult to coordinate everything. That’s why it’s important to make sure your providers have a single approach for the physical and virtual workloads that you are planning to migrate to the cloud, Broghammer said.

He added that now that there are multiple hypervisor program options out there, companies also need to make sure the same processes and systems are in place when choosing a hypervisor program to help them with their migration.

“When migrating, again, make sure the models of migrating different platforms follow the same technology set, or stack, that you’re using for those particular workloads,” he said.

Methods of sending data to the provider

There are several methods for getting your data over to your cloud provider, but the typical ways include physically shipping a drive with your data and/or replicating data.

When it comes to physically shipping a drive, it’s important to ask yourself: are you 100% comfortable with this method? Sure, you can send an encrypted drive, Broghammer said, but the fact is that that the drive and the data on it will pass through the hands of many people. “And the potential loss of that data could set you back in your timeframes,” Broghammer warned.

His suggestion?  “I would tend to favor an over the wire approach” because the data would pass through fewer hands and there is added protection with service sockets layer (SSL) business process management (BPM).

Another option is replicating and colocating data.

“Where the data becomes a bit more stagnant (in other words, data that is just sort of sitting there and not much is being done with it) you need to have a multi-site or multi-location strategy with that,” Broghammer said. Even though you may be migrating certain pieces of your architecture into a cloud environment, Broghammer advises that you still may need to colocate and replicate the data.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Kristen Lee, features writer, or find her on Twitter @Kristen_Lee_34.