IT Tips & Tricks
Cloud Migration: The Road to Hell … And the Alternate Destination
18 January 2023
We’ve often wondered if whoever first said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” worked in IT, but apparently, the proverb is largely attributed to Virgil, an ancient Roman poet who lived B.C. (which obviously stands for “Before Computers”). You probably know that a migration to the Cloud can, indeed, feel like you’re on the road to hell. While we can’t eliminate all your problems, we do offer a solution that can completely eliminate one common problem for you, making your Cloud migration that much smoother.
There is growth in both public and private Cloud adoption rates, and if you’re relatively new to the Cloud, we’ll take a quick look at the difference between the two. In a nutshell, a public Cloud uses shared infrastructure, while a private Cloud uses an organization’s own infrastructure. A public Cloud is like an apartment, while a private Cloud is like a house. Or think of a public Cloud as watching a movie, streamed online, versus a private Cloud, which is like watching videos you own.
Of the two, the greatest growth is in public Cloud adoption, which is borne out by an increase in market value of $490.3 billion in 2022 to a predicted $591.8 billion in 2023. The prediction for private Cloud growth is a market value of $205.4 billion by 2025, less than half of that of the public Cloud. If you’re considering joining the millions of public Cloud devotees worldwide, these are some of the benefits you can look forward to:
If a Cloud migration (or any migration) is potentially the road to hell, how do we arrive at an alternate destination?
- By addressing common IT constraints, such as limited resources and incompatible systems, the Cloud enables digital business, which carries its own benefits, such as global collaborative opportunities, broader visibility, secure remote employment and more.
- The Cloud can help reduce the operational burden of running and maintaining in-house hardware and software.
- The above point helps to free up IT staff, so that they can focus on innovation and potential growth opportunities for the company, adding value to the organization, potentially increasing profits and gaining a competitive advantage in your industry.
Vergil (70 BC to 19 BC) wrote “facilis descensus Averno,” which translates to “the descent to Hell is easy.”
Rushing into migration or thinking that the data transfer is the most important aspect, may well be imprudent. This is one time when you want to think like Linc. Abraham Lincoln, that is. Any man who says, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe,” clearly knows a thing or two about planning, and recognizes its benefits.
How Many Challenges in a Cloud Migration?
Answer: How much time do you have?
Elemi Atigolo, founder and director of award-winning startup platform, Buildily, says, “The first question that needs to be asked is whether your organization has a sound business use case for Cloud migration. Cloud migration should only be considered where clear tangible benefits can be identified for your business.”
Gartner agrees with Mr. Atigolo: “Business impact is the key driver for integrating Cloud services effectively. Executive leaders should consider the culture and business priorities of their organization when justifying Cloud migration.”
Assuming you’ve already established that, next should be an analysis of your current usage. Successful Cloud migrations require that an organization reviews and revises their existing processes. Determine which applications are worth relocating to the Cloud and which, if any, function best on-premises. It’s equally crucial to know what you’re not going to move as to know what you are going to migrate.
Why am I getting error messages? Why can’t I access my data? This new Cloud thing has done something to my files. Sigh. Users.
The number and types of challenges you could run into during a Cloud migration will be largely determined by the size and complexity of your project. You may find that 100 terabytes are, well, no biggie, but a yottabyte? (Anything with 24 zeros after it is scary.)
You’ll most likely need enough Cloud storage to reduce your current infrastructure complexity and increase agility while ensuring compliance requirements. Additionally, one needs to consider the availability of skilled resources and time constraints for implementation. Maybe the quietest time for your organization is between Christmas and New Year, making it the best time for a migration, but if that’s when everyone typically takes their annual leave, you’ve got some figuring out to do. Finally, as always, the potential for incompatibility issues between systems looms on the horizon with all the thrill of canceled annual leave.
That moment when you realize that the backup you need to restore your data is, well, let’s just call it unfeasible.
That incompatibility is largely due to the many different data types or formats in which your data exists. Is it an SQL database, CSV files, XML files, or some other format? A lack of familiarity with different data types can result in a lack of understanding in terms of what needs to happen in order for the migration process to run smoothly. Here are a few tips to help smooth your migration.
To Avoid Disaster, Plan for It
Think about the data you need to migrate to the Cloud, how you’re going to migrate it, and what could possibly go wrong. Don’t underestimate the power of pre-emptive planning on that last point. Anticipating what could go wrong — and having a plan in place to overcome the problem — can save everyone involved from feeling like they’re on the road to hell.
If you’re facing a SharePoint® migration moving from on-premise to the Cloud, this article should prove helpful. This article addresses the advantages of migrating to SharePoint Online, as well as the anticipated headaches and their solutions. We’ve previously discussed Cloud migration problems here, and this article explains how to deal with redundant, obsolete, and trivial data, which helps streamline your Cloud migration. All of these articles contain information that may be helpful when you begin sharpening your axe.
Is Egg a Good Look for You?
Before you do anything else, create a backup! We’ve said this so often we’re in danger of sounding like a stuck record, but we say it because it’s valid — and vitally important. Don’t be complacent about it, either. Once you’ve created the backup, to protect your sanity (and possibly your job), test it. There’s nothing worse than sitting with a failed migration, and proudly announcing that everything’s going to be fine because you’ve got a backup, only to discover that your backup is corrupted or flawed, or unfeasible for some reason. Yikes. Nobody looks good with egg on their face, so how to avoid that? Create that darn backup, that’s how. And test it. Then, to ensure security, store it offline. Just in case.
How about completely eliminating one common migration problem?
This Ain’t Drag and Drop
Inexperienced Cloud-users may think their migration is going to be as simple as dragging an app from their local servers and dropping it into the Cloud. If you’re an inexperienced Cloud user, we hate to break it to you, buddy, but that’s not how it works.
“A lot of companies will jump on the lift and shift approach to migrating because it seems like the easy answer,” says Mike Wood, product manager at AWS Advanced Technology Partner, SentryOne. “Lift and shift has the potential to be quick, but it’s not always the best route to take.”
Walk before you run! Even a migration should start with baby steps in the form of a trial run.
Some existing applications may need to be rebuilt in order to mesh with your Cloud-destination, but rearchitecting isn’t always necessary.
The bottom line is that you will have to evaluate the options for the entire organization to accurately identify which apps need adapting or rebuilding and which don’t. Yes, it’s a big task, but it’s much quicker than attempting to rebuild every application the organization uses.
Before you kick off your Cloud migration journey, be sure to explore all your options and figure out what works best for your particular apps, your timescale and your organization's long-term needs. Your axe may feel pretty sharp at this point, but . . .
The Dress Rehearsal
Once you’ve put your Cloud migration plan together and created the backup, it’s now time to test your plan with a trial run. Migrate a small amount of data and make sure everything goes smoothly. Consider this your dress rehearsal before opening night. If everything goes according to plan, you can go ahead and migrate more data. If not, now is the time to troubleshoot and debug the process, working out fixes to any problems you encounter. Your axe is now perfectly polished and good to go.
Protecting Your Data (and Your Sanity)
So, you’ve had some hellish moments along the way, but you’ve completed your migration relatively smoothly — all things considered — and you’ve heaved your sigh of relief.
Ed Clark, LinkTek COO
And then the complaints start coming in. “Why am I getting error messages?” “Why can’t I access my data?” “This new Cloud thing has done something to my files.” And now the IT department is literally drowning in complaints and service tickets, and you secretly wish you could cattle-prod the next whining complainer. You feel like you’re back in Hell. We get it. We really do. We know what’s happened. And, whether you’ve chosen private or public Cloud, we have a solution.
Part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this article series on links will explain everything you need to know (and then some) to avoid those end-user complaints about missing data. To quote Ed Clark, COO of LinkTek, “Data migrations often involve thousands (sometimes millions) of files. Often, those doing it forget to carefully plan for all the links contained in those files. And here’s the kicker, frequently even files that are, themselves, not part of a data migration are nonetheless impacted by that migration due to that sneaky culprit called ‘broken links.’”
How does this relate to the complaining end-users? Mr. Clark says, “Broken links mean lost data. Broken links can be almost as much trouble for your network as… well… users.” If you could fix the links, you would silence the complainers.
So, if a Cloud migration is potentially the road to hell, how do we arrive at an alternate destination? Well, since data loss due to broken links is a common cause of downtime, complaining end-users and irate bosses, and constitutes a blow to your reputation, addressing this particular issue can put you on a very different path with a distinctly different outcome.
Addressing this particular issue can put you on a very different path with a distinctly different outcome.
Your best option would be to protect your linked data before it’s moved. Alternatively, if your data has already been moved, and you currently have missing data (and the inevitable complaints), you need to repair those broken links to restore that missing data, and obviously, you want it done as fast as possible.
Enter LinkFixer Advanced™. This first-of-its-kind software will ensure that you can both protect links before your data is moved or repair broken links after data is moved. Either way, it’s a win-win for you, and for now, you can quit daydreaming about that cattle prod . . .
To save time (and your sanity), call 737-442-1822 to discuss your particular situation with a Service Consultant or visit LinkTek.com for more information, or to request a no-credit-card required free trial.
The fact that there’s a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers. In terms of a Cloud migration outcome, LinkFixer Advanced can help you avoid the highway and, instead, gracefully usher you up that smooth, safe stairway to the alternate destination. Your choice.
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