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By |2022-11-04T12:52:19+00:00November 4th, 2022|

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Cloud Data Migration: Best Practices, Strategy, and Tools

By |2022-10-04T07:15:25+00:00August 10th, 2022|

With an explosion in data, many organizations are reaching a point where they are considering cloud data migration. Take Netflix, for example. According to The Verge, the streaming service has more than 209 million subscribers in over 130 countries and 5800 titles on its platform. Netflix’s success cannot be solely attributed to the type of content it delivers but also to how seamlessly its platform functions. You rarely have to face the dreaded buffering wheel on the streaming site. So, how does Netflix manage that? What goes on behind the scenes? Is cloud migration one of the core reasons behind Netflix’s success?

In 2008, Netflix was reliant on relational databases in its own data center until one of its data centers broke down, halting Netflix’s operations for three days. Now, this was when Netflix was a small organization. However, Netflix had the foresight to see it was growing fast, and it had to come up with a way to deal with exponential growth in data. So, it decided to opt for cloud data migration. The migration has given Netflix the scalability and velocity to add new features and content without worrying about potential technological limitations.

Netflix is one of the many organizations that are increasingly opting for cloud migration. In 2020, Etsy moved 5.5 petabytes of data from about 2,000 servers to Google Cloud. According to Etsy, the migration allowed it to shift 15% of its engineering team from daily infrastructure management to improving customer experience.

Considering moving to the cloud? We have discussed some tips and best practices that you can follow.

What is Cloud Data Migration?

Cloud Data Migration is the process of moving an enterprise’s on-premises infrastructure and data to the cloud environment to leverage better scalability and flexibility. An enterprise may move its services to a private or public cloud, such as Amazon, Azure, or Google. Regardless of the choice, it needs a comprehensive strategy in place if it wants its initiative to be successful. Often companies encounter unexpected costs and exceed project timelines due to poor planning.

Here are some factors that a business should keep in mind while planning to move to the cloud:

  • Identifying the data requirements of the business, including the volume and number of data sources
  • Understanding the type and formats of data that needs to be migrated
  • Determining the total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Choosing the right cloud platform
  • Assessing the resource requirements
  • Selecting the right cloud data migration tool that best fits specific data requirements
  • Determining any compliance requirements

Benefits of Cloud Data Migration

According to 451 research, 90% of the companies have already made the transition, which begs the question, what is pushing these companies to move towards the cloud, and has on-premises storage been rendered obsolete?

Let’s explore some benefits that cloud storage has to offer to modern-day businesses:

  1. Security and Data protection

Deloitte surveyed 500 IT leaders, out of which 58% considered data protection the top driver in moving to the cloud. As hacking attempts get more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to protect data in-house.

Third-party cloud vendors such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure come with extensive security options. Amazon S3, for example, comes with encryption features and lets users block public access with S3 Block Public Access.

  1. Data modernization

Simply put, data modernization is moving data from legacy to modern systems. Since most companies are just moving to the cloud, cloud migration is often used synonymously with data modernization. Why is data modernization important, and why do companies opt for it?

Data modernization allows an organization to process data efficiently. Today, organizations rely heavily on data for making decisions, but this becomes a huge hassle when data is stored in legacy systems and is difficult to retrieve.

  1. Scalability

Growing fast with on-premises storage solutions means incurring costs for adding new hardware, software, and increased computing power. On the other hand, cloud storage makes it easier to scale up or down with a few simple clicks. The flexibility allows an organization to cut down on overhead costs drastically.

  1. Operational efficiency

The beverage giant Coca-Cola has 500 brands in over 207 countries and runs hundreds of promotions yearly. In 2014, the company ran a promotion during Super Bowl in which customers were encouraged to vote online. At that time, the company’s data infrastructure was on-premises, leading to poor user performance and delays.

The incident made the company realize the issue with its on-prem systems, such as its inability to handle high amounts of traffic, high cost, restrictive technical environment, and lack of visibility in environments. The company decided to move to AWS to tackle the issue and realized 40% operational savings.

Determining the Use Case for Cloud Data Migration

While moving to the cloud has multiple benefits, every business has a different objective. Here are some common scenarios when businesses decide to move:

Legacy Modernization Initiatives

Organizations usually undertake modernization initiatives when they struggle to maintain old legacy systems that do not match modern-day security and storage requirements. Plus, the cost of maintaining old legacy systems is way more than keeping modern-day infrastructure.

Hence, cloud scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness make it an ideal contender for legacy modernization initiatives.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

With hackers becoming more notorious, it is imperative for every organization to backup data so that it experiences minimum downtime in case of a cybersecurity issue. On average, downtime can cost a company a whopping $11,600 per minute.

Sometimes, organizations maintain data backups for compliance purposes, which can translate into petabytes of data, which can become difficult to maintain and secure. The Pay-as-you-go model, high durability, availability, and scalability are some factors that make it easier to store and retrieve large amounts of data on cloud storage.

Building Data Lakes

A data lake is a centralized repository that allows users to store massive amounts of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data in its raw form. A data lake is different from a data warehouse because it stores non-relational data from unconventional sources such as IoT and social media without defining any hierarchy or schema at write.

Sysco, a global food supplying company, realized 40 percent cost savings by building a centralized data lake on Amazon S3.

Object storage such as Amazon S3 is perfect for data lakes because of its unlimited scalability, allowing users to go from gigabytes to petabytes and pay as they go. Moreover, metadata allows users to conduct selective extraction and analysis.

Choosing the Right Cloud Data Platform

Once a business is done with planning and determining why it wants to move to the cloud, it has to decide on the right platform. The debate between public and private clouds has been going on for a long time. Businesses used to prefer the private cloud due to security and privacy issues. However, the public cloud has evolved and matured considerably and has managed to mitigate security fears. Alternatively, some businesses are opting for a hybrid approach.

Public Cloud: It is owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and shared across multiple users. It is sometimes known as a ‘multi-tenant infrastructure.’ Public cloud vendors provide shared storage and servers across companies or ‘tenants,’ while providing the option to manage a business’s services using a web browser.

This infrastructure offers cost savings as it follows a pay-as-per-use costing model without hardware or software costs. Moreover, public cloud vendors manage maintenance which provides additional ease to businesses.

Private Cloud: A private cloud is owned and controlled by the organization’s private server. Since the private cloud offers a dedicated remote server instead of a shared server, businesses can experience enhanced security and performance. Private cloud services can be tailor-made according to the needs of the businesses and hence can offer greater flexibility than the public cloud.

When choosing a private cloud, businesses must decide if they want their cloud managed by a hosting company or a third party. When opting for a private cloud, businesses have to choose between tier-I providers (AWS, Google, and Microsoft) or tier-II providers (IBM, Oracle, and Cisco Systems).

Hybrid Cloud: This type of infrastructure provides the functionalities of both public and private cloud infrastructures. Organizations can utilize private clouds for sensitive data that require an added layer of security while migrating the remaining data assets to a shared cloud.

Cloud Data Migration Challenges

While cloud data migration may seem like a simple concept, when it comes to execution it has its own set of challenges:

  1. Time-consuming data movement: Extracting and transferring data from on-premises to the cloud or between clouds can be time-consuming. The migration process can sometimes become quite complex with a high dependency on IT teams.
  2. Lack of standardization: Each cloud storage provider has a different protocol, making it difficult to incorporate them in data pipelines.
  3. ETL might become complex: Before data can be extracted from on-premises data centers and loaded into a destination, it needs to undergo certain transformations to convert it into a desirable format. Extracting data from diverse sources can become difficult and slow cloud migration.

Choosing the Right Cloud Data Migration Tool

The key to successful cloud migration is choosing the right cloud data migration tool. There are various options in the market. However, an organization should consider its unique requirements before investing in one. A cloud data migration tool should typically be:

  • Compatible with the cloud platform chosen by the company
  • Support native connectors for popular file formats and databases and can extend connectivity to unconventional sources through APIs
  • Robust enough to handle large volumes of data without breaking down
  • Support data quality checks to make sure no data loss occurs during the migration
  • Easy to use so an organization can start the process without spending a lot of time on training

Accelerate Cloud Data Migration with Astera Centerprise

Astera Centerprise is a code-free tool that expedites migration projects and makes data available to business users without high dependency on IT teams. It simplifies cloud data migration projects by automating most tasks.

Here is why you should consider migrating data with Astera Centerprise:

  • Built-in connectors: Cloud connectors for sources and destinations eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel and make it easier for users to upload data to cloud storage or extract data from cloud storage and integrate it with other sources.
  • Code-free environment: Astera Centerprise’s intuitive interface makes it easier for users to move data from on-premises to the cloud and between two clouds within no time.
  • Easy configuration: Astera Centerprise has a standardized configuration for all cloud storage connectors, making it easier for business users to connect to any cloud storage without relying on the IT team.
  • Quick access to data files: Astera Centerprise makes it easier to view and access data stored in a cloud.
  • Automation: Automated data pipelines to eliminate repetition from the migration process.
  • Data Quality: Data Quality rules to ensure only qualified data.

Move to the cloud today with Astera Centerprise. Download it today and try it for free for 14 days.