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Ongoing Cloud Migration Strategy with NetApp Cloud Volumes

The keys to a successful cloud migration strategy are ensuring that the applications dependent on that data face minimal disruption and the migration budget does not get blown out of proportion.

Although there are native services provided by the cloud providers for migrating data, these solutions might require significant restructuring of the application during a “lift-and-shift” operation or they may not be as fast, taking days or months to move the data.

In this article we’ll look at some of the major cloud migration challenges, both in the cloud migration strategy-development stages and for ongoing data migration challenges, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes can provide secure and bandwidth-saving methods to seamlessly migrate your enterprise workload and its data on a rolling basis.

Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy

In this section we’ll look at the three major steps that companies need to take as they develop a cloud adoption strategy and begin and carry out migrating their workloads and data to the cloud: planning, execution, and optimization.

What is Cloud Migration?


A cloud migration is when a company moves some or all of its data center capabilities into the cloud, usually to run on the cloud-based infrastructure provided by a cloud service provider such as AWS and Azure.

Cloud Migration Steps: Planning

One of the first steps to consider before migrating data to the cloud is to determine the use case that the public cloud will serve. Will it be used for disaster recovery? DevOps? Hosting enterprise workloads by completely shifting to the cloud? Or will a hybrid approach work best for your deployment?

In this stage it is important to assess your environment and determine the factors that will govern the migration, such as critical application data, legacy data, and application interoperability. It is also necessary to determine your reliance on data: do you have data that needs to be resynced regularly, data compliance requirements to meet, or non-critical data that can possibly be migrated during the first few passes of the migration?

Determining these things will help you charter a solid plan for the tools you’ll need during migration (such as using Azure AWS migration tools or using other methods), identifying which data needs to be migrated and when, if the data needs any scrubbing, the kind of destination volumes to use, and whether you’ll need encryption of the data both at rest and in transit.

Cloud Data Migration Execution


Once your environment has been assessed and a plan has been mapped out, it’s necessary to execute your migration. The main challenge here is how to carry out your migration with minimal disruption to normal operation, at the lowest cost, and over the shortest period of time. If your data becomes inaccessible to users during a migration, you risk impacting your business operations. The same is true as you continue to sync and update your systems after the initial migration takes place. Every workload element individually migrated should be proven to work in the new environment before migrating another element. You’ll also need to find a way to synchronize changes that are made to the source data while the migration is ongoing. Both AWS and Azure provide built-in tools that aid in AWS cloud migration and in Azure data migration, and later in this article we’ll see how NetApp users benefit from migrating with services and features that come with Cloud Volumes.

After the Migration: Next Steps

Once that data has been migrated to the cloud, it is important to ensure that it is optimized, secure, and easily retrievable moving forward. It also helps to monitor for real-time changes to critical infrastructure and predict workload contentions.

Apart from real-time monitoring, you should also assess the security of the data at rest to ensure that working in your new environment meets regulatory compliance laws such as HIPAA and GDPR.

Another consideration to keep in mind is meeting ongoing performance and availability benchmarks to ensure your RPO and RTO objectives should they change.

Cloud Migration Benefits with NetApp Cloud Volumes


As you can infer from the steps laid out above, cloud migrations can be complex and contain a lot of moving parts. NetApp’s cloud solutions can help simplify the migration process by providing tools that will help you move and sync data easily, quickly and securely. In this section we will discuss some of the benefits of using NetApp’s Cloud Volumes, which comes in two service models: the fully-managed Cloud Volumes Service and the hands-on Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Faster Transfers, Lower Costs


With Cloud Volumes, NetApp provides several tools that help you automate, sync data faster, and secure your data while transitioning to the cloud. NetApp’s SnapMirror data replication technology gives Cloud Volumes ONTAP a way to seamlessly transition data and workloads into the cloud not just during the initial migration, but onwards with continuous synchronization according to the user’s pre-defined schedules. Cloud Volumes ONTAP storage efficiencies also help reduce network bandwidth costs during migrations by reducing storage footprint, which also accelerates data transfers.

For users of on-premises FAS or AFF ONTAP storage systems, SnapMirror enables you to seamlessly move data to or from the cloud as necessary for ongoing hybrid environment syncs. For migrations that are being carried out from systems that are not both ONTAP, Cloud Volumes Service offers Cloud Sync to carry out the migration between any kind of object-based storage repository.

High Availability with Cloud Volumes


This is one of the most important parameters to measure uptime. Some of the biggest cloud migration challenges that can impact your business continuity arise from failing to plan for issues such as drive failures, network misconfigurations, and Availability Zone failures. The Cloud Volumes HA configuration provides an AWS high availability infrastructure by maintaining two storage environments and synchronously writing to them during storage operations. This ensures that, from an application or end-user perspective, there is no downtime as there is a seamless transition to the secondary storage in case the primary storage fails.

In terms of SLA numbers, Cloud Volumes HA can help you achieve a recovery point objective (RPO) of zero and a recovery time objective (RTO) of less than 60 seconds. The Multiple Availability Zone deployment model helps protect against Availability Zone failures. These features ensure that your cloud environment is resilient, safe from service disruptions, and able to host critical workloads as well as data migration processes without requiring expensive HA setup on the application side.

Data Protection

Cloud Volumes allows creation of application-aware snapshots that have no performance impact and consume minimal storage space. These snapshots are created in a matter of seconds irrespective of the size of the volume that is being copied. Instead of copying all the data in the system, NetApp Snapshots only copy the data that was changed by manipulating block pointers.

For ongoing migrations, these snapshots are low cost and highly efficient way to protect your system. And ONTAP snapshot creation can also be entirely automated in order to create backups, which for many users has benefits over using native AWS or Azure services for disk backup.

Cost Optimization

The major benefits of using Cloud Volumes ONTAP come with its storage efficiency features: inline processes, thin provisioning, data tiering, and FlexClone writable clones. The three inline processes— adaptive compression, data deduplication,  compaction—work in tandem to limit the amount of storage you consume and reduce data in transit costs. All together, these benefits can save a company as much as 50% to 70% in storage costs and data transfer costs.

Proven Success with Cloud Volumes

Many enterprises have successfully used Cloud Volumes ONTAP to help migrate their workloads and achieve storage efficiency and cost savings. Let’s take a look at some of those customers.

Monash University, the largest university in Australia, used Cloud Volumes ONTAP to carry out an AWS cloud migration strategy. Monash was able to decommission their data centers and completely migrate their entire repository of student data and educational software to AWS storage using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS. Their cloud migration challenges were to do this without impacting their student, business, and research activities. In the words of Monash’s infrastructure leader, Cloud Volumes ONTAP “allowed us to transition to the cloud seamlessly. It enabled us to easily migrate our data and bring the benefits of our onsite NetApp data management and data protection to AWS.”

Another Cloud Volumes ONTAP success story is a global clothing retailer headquartered in San Francisco. This company maintains five distinct brands of clothing with 3,300 outlets in more than 90 countries worldwide. Their business challenges were adopting a cloud migration strategy to support their brands’ online business which meant finding a way to effectively carry out the cloud migration process and store massive amounts of video and images to the cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure gave them the flexibility their Azure migration strategy required.

If you’re ready to overcome your company’s cloud migration challenges, see what NetApp can do to help: try out a free trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP for 30 days on AWS or or for 30 days on Azure or sign up for the highest performance in managed file service with Cloud Volumes Service for AWS, Azure, or GCP.



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