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Moving Data to the Cloud Can Be the Hardest Part of Your Migration

If you've decided to make the move to the cloud, you need to help your applications and your data to get there. Moving servers and applications is relatively straightforward: make a copy of your virtual machine and load it onto your cloud infrastructure. Moving data is more complex and more vulnerable to failures. 

The Challenges of Moving Data to the Cloud

There are many factors that make moving data to the cloud tricky: 

  1. Data volume. The first challenge with data is that there's simply so much of it. Sending the vast quantities of big data across the network uses up bandwidth and can take longer than you can wait.
  1. Impact on operations. In order to keep data complete and consistent, you need to either migrate it while the applications that use it are down or find a way to synchronize it after the initial data set is loaded.
  1. Maintaining data security. Migrating data to the cloud requires migrating all its associated data protection. That means fully understanding how the cloud affects security and the controls your cloud provider offers. 
  1. Incompatible data formats. Data often needs to be converted for use in the cloud. Formats can be especially challenging if you aren't migrating to the same database. 
  1. Things just go wrong. Murphy's Law holds in the cloud just as it does in your data center. No matter how solid your migration plan, things just don't always go smoothly. The tools you use to monitor and manage the transition may not give you the warning you need to keep things on track.

Overcoming the Challenges of Migrating Data to the Cloud

You can develop a homegrown solution to migrate your data to the cloud. That has the advantage that it's tailored specifically to your needs. But it has some disadvantages, too: your team may not have the skills or cloud expertise needed to create a truly robust tool that handles all possible scenarios, and it takes time and costs money. It's usually best to use an existing tool designed for cloud data migrations that comes with vendor support. 

Fortunately there's a wide range of options you can use off-the-shelf that offer robust, cost-effective data transfer to the cloud. If your cloud is Amazon Web Services, you have several data migration choices offered directly from Amazon. Your choices range from direct file uploads via FTP for small files to loading data onto drives and transporting them via a flatbed truck for data volumes in the terabytes. 

Third parties also offer products to get your data into the cloud, such as Cloud Sync from NetApp. This tool offers an efficient, secure method to transfer data to the cloud, and can be used to replicate and sync data on an ongoing basis, allowing it to support cloud backup as well as a cloud migration. It includes features you may not be able to easily incorporate into a homegrown solution, including parallel processing, scheduled data syncs, and logging and reporting that makes monitoring, managing, and auditing data transfers straightforward. Because it handles multiple platforms, its single interface lets you oversee all your data movements.

Choose the Right Data Transfer Choice

Because getting data to the cloud successfully is a vital component of any cloud project, it's important to choose the right mechanism for your data. dcVAST offers Managed NetApp and Managed Amazon Web Services to provide complete support for your cloud projects, from migration through maintenance. Contact us to learn more about your options for moving data to the cloud.