Cloud Vendor Migration Issues

cloud vendor migrationCloud computing solutions are known for the flexibilities in term of upgrading or downgrading service plans, but issues may arise when you migrate from one cloud vendor to another. How complicated is the migration?

I found an informative Q-and-A from Focus.com on the topic, and reading through the answer helps me to understand better about cloud vendor migration, and would like to sum them all up for you in this brief blog post – along with my own thoughts about the cloud migration issues.

First of all, if there is a problem with cloud computing, that would be its simplicity in accessing the on-demand services. Simplicity is, indeed, one of the strengths of cloud computing; unfortunately, it is also one of cloud computing weaknesses.

Signing up with a cloud vendor, a member can easily upgrade and downgrade plans without service interruption. However, a problem arise when he/she is planning to move everything to another cloud vendor for some reasons, typically more suitable solutions or better pricing plan.

One more problem: Cloud vendors are typically offering their service without any contracts, meaning you can sign up and bail out later easily. This presents another issue of “cloud vendor hopping” – trying one solution to another, presenting potential compatibility issues in the process.

For personal uses, the complexity is relatively minimal and moving from one cloud vendor to another can be done painlessly – you can even ask the new cloud vendor to help you out. However, when you integrate your business to the cloud, the migration can be a major headache – and resource-consuming.

The complexity of the migration depends on the cloud computing platform you use. If you are using IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service,) such as Amazon EC2 and want to switch to another cloud vendor, such as GoGrid or RackSpace Cloud, the migration is pretty straightforward because they use the same approach. Problems arise when your current cloud vendor use different system with the new one – you do need cloud computing experts to help you out, especially if your business operations are heavily integrated in the cloud.

Alas, there is no such thing as push-button migration, yet. Thus, cloud vendor migration can be expensive. So, to recap: Cloud vendor migration is resource-intensive, and you might want to think twice before deciding to have a go.

Indeed, compatibility issue is one lingering problem cloud vendors are trying to solve. A progress has been made, such as the Eucalyptus for migration to Amazon AWS and the arising open source cloud platform, such as RackSpace OpenStack – both promote better compatibility for migration, but all in all problem-free migration will only be available in the future, not today.

It’s probably better to really consider your options before you make a decision regarding which cloud vendor to choose.

Image: Garcya.us

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  • Spot on observations and highlights to this topic. I would also add that other areas of complexity that are often overlooked when migrating businesses to the cloud would be printing, scanning documents, key systems that require communications to devices such as bar code readers, access control, video feeds etc.

    Totally migrating a business to the cloud is like saying that your office is going paperless. You may use less paper but most like it won’t be 100% paperless because your business processes won’t allow it. The same will be true for most offices wanting to migrate to the cloud. Great idea – much harder to implement. However, if after weighing all of the factors properly and carefully and thoughtfully testing your migration you could be one of the companies that take advantage of the bottom line values the cloud has to offer.

    Vince Arden

    • Ivan

      Vince,

      Indeed – to me, migration to the cloud seems like a concept – and ideal world of how the cloud can change companies do business. Just like what you have said, it’s just like the go paperless campaign. In the end, hybrid cloud is the way to go as it’s difficult to get everybody in a company NOT to, say, use any non-cloud services and solutions.

      Starting afresh, a startup might be able to do it well, but an established comapany? It takes more than tech transformation – the change of mindset is far more difficult, I think.