Cloud Migration: Accelerate the Transition

By |2022-03-01T13:08:32+00:00November 19th, 2021|

With an explosion in data, many organizations are reaching a point where they are accessing cloud migration and storage options.

Take Netflix, for example. According to The Verge, the entertainment website 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 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 storage the recipe for its 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, but 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 move 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. 

Benefits of Cloud 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% of them considered data protection as 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. 

2. 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.  

3.  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. 

4. Operational efficiency 

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

The incident led the company to 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. To tackle the issue, the company decided to move to AWS and realized 40% operational savings.  

When do Businesses Opt for Cloud Migration?

Now that we have understood different types of cloud storage, let’s explore why organizations may feel the need for cloud migration.

  1. Legacy Modernization Initiatives

Organizations usually undertake modernization initiatives when they are struggling with maintaining 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 are making it an ideal contender for legacy modernization initiatives.

  1. 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, and this 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.

  1. 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 a Suitable Storage Platform

There is no doubt that there are various advantages a company can realize with cloud migration. However, before jumping on the bandwagon, it is important to understand different types of cloud storage, and then select the one that matches the best with particular needs:

1. Object Storage 

Object storage is one of the most common forms that most cloud providers offer. In object storage, data is added to an object with a unique identification number, making it easier to retrieve.  Object storage allows users to store a massive amount of unstructured data without compromising accessibility. 

Improved accessibility can be attributed to metadata, which users can deeply customize. Metadata allows users to create their own rules and policies for data retention, deletion, and preservation. 

Object storage is ideal in situations when a business needs to store large amounts of unstructured data that it accesses periodically. The scalability and flexibility that object storage offers make it a go-to choice for many businesses thinking of transitioning to the cloud. 

Some common object storage examples include Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud storage. 

2. File Storage 

File storage divides data into files. These files are then stored into folders and then subdirectories and directories. Unlike object storage, file storage is a hierarchical storage system, which makes it ideal to name, manipulate and grant access to. However, as data grows hierarchies can become quite complex. File storage is ideal for businesses that want to store structured data with better accessibility. 

3. Block storage 

Block storage breaks down data into blocks, and then these blocks are stored across a system to improve efficiency and retrievability. Each block gets a unique identification number. Whenever a user needs data, these blocks combine again. 

With block storage, data is spread across various environments, creating multiple paths to data, which increases the data retrieval rate. The only disadvantage of block storage is that there is no metadata, which makes it difficult to understand the context of what a particular block of data is for.  Block storage is ideal for databases or applications that require service side processing such as Java, .Net, or PHP.  

AWS Elastic Block Storage, Azure Premium Storage, and Google Persistent Disks are some popular block storages.  

Cloud Migration Challenges

Cloud Migration is a simple concept, but it comes with 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 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 down the cloud migration process

Choosing the Right Tool

The key to successful cloud migration is choosing the right cloud migration tool. There are various cloud storage services in the market, however, an organization should consider its unique requirements before it invests in one. To make the transition easier an ideal tool should be:

  1. Compatible with the cloud storage destination that a company chooses
  2. Support native connectors for popular file formats and databases and can extend connectivity to unconventional sources through APIs
  3. Robust enough to handle large volumes of data without breaking down
  4. Support data quality checks to make sure no data loss occurs during the migration
  5. Easy to use so an organization can start the process without spending a lot of time on training

Accelerate Data Migration with Astera Centerprise

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

Astera Centerprise’s features that simplify cloud migration:

  • Built-in connectors: Built-in 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 data from 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 comes with 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.