Cloud Migration Wars

Cloud Migration Wars

Written by
Peter Shand
Chief Technology Officer, Americas


In a review of the Hybrid Cloud and its challenges a few months ago, we reflected on the steps needed for a successful cloud strategy to be developed and executed. Since then, there have been quite a few interesting developments in the public cloud computing space. The most compelling ones seem to be geared towards simplifying the process of migrating to the cloud or building hybrid environments. These developments leverage and extend the same on-premise management tools on which many organizations have built their private cloud and virtualization strategies.

How much will it Cost?

It is always useful to get an experienced partner involved with estimating the costs of a cloud migration, however, free tools exists that can help provide a very basic analysis of potential costs. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) all have calculators that help estimate the costs of migrating virtual machines to the cloud. These estimation tools can support some level of importing lists of workloads via comma separated lists or spreadsheets, however, the process can be tedious if done manually.

Microsoft has recently launched an Azure Migrate service that discovers on-premise infrastructures and provides costing as well as migration guidelines based on compute, storage, networking and application dependency data gathered from the Migrate services.

There are also many third-party tools that can do similar analyses but in most cases, there is a cost associated with using these tools.

Migration Services

After analyzing the total cost of ownership of a cloud migration, and once it is decided that the move to the cloud is in the best interest of the business, then the actual migration takes place.

Google has a very innovative migration product via its partner CloudEndure, AWS and Azure have their own offerings, and there are several third party options as well.

AWS has a Migration Hub service that leverages its Server Migration, Database Migration and Application Discovery services. AWS also leverages temporary on-premise storage and compute services built on the AWS Snowball appliance that allows for large datasets to be securely copied on-premise and shipped to an AWS datacenter for staging.

The Azure Site Recovery service doubles as a disaster recovery and backup solution but also serves as the migration platform to get data from on-premise environments to the cloud. A similar appliance to the AWS Snowball is now in preview called Azure DataBox. Prior to this, Azure offered the Azure Import\Export Service which allowed customers to send their own removable hard disks to an Azure datacenter for staging.

VMware in Cloud

The undefeated and reigning champion of on-premise virtualization is VMware. The VMware software defined datacenter strategy, and its ability for public cloud solutions to integrate with it, helps drives public cloud adoption.

VMware and AWS have partnered together to provide VMware Cloud on AWS. This solution allows businesses to run the VMware Software defined datacenter (SDDC) stack on Bare-Metal hardware in and AWS datacenter. The solution also allows for a truly hybrid environment where tools and processes that are familiar, and tested on-premise, can be leveraged in the public cloud. The solution is fully supported by VMware. Microsoft has announced a similar service very recently but VMware has denied any association to the solution, and as such, will not be supporting the solution as of the publishing of the article.

Cloud on-Premise

Microsoft released its Azure Stack solution in the middle of the year along with its hardware and integration partner HPE, Dell, and Lenovo. Cisco has recently released its iteration of this platform. The platform essentially allows business to run an Azure environment within their premises. The solution integrates with the public version of Azure and allows for the local “Marketplace” to be populated by the public Azure Marketplace. The solution also allows deployment of some of Azure’s App Services which are platform as a service (PaaS) offerings allowing for very rapid time to value for digital transformation since the platform is already deployed and only coding is required.

A lot has changed since our last discussion about the cloud and it continues to evolve at an accelerated pace. It is challenging to keep abreast of all the developments, but the improvements in cloud solutions can really benefit businesses that are ready to embrace a complete digital transformation.

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