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Google Cloud Migration: Why and How to Make the Move

Google is one of the giants of the Internet today, and while it is still in third place when it comes to cloud hosting services, Google Cloud offers numerous advantages for individuals and enterprises alike. Cloud migration can be a difficult undertaking, so it is important to understand the benefits (and potential drawbacks) of each cloud environment before you attempt to make the move.

In this post, we’ll examine the advantages of Google Cloud and discuss the process of migrating to Google from an on-premise data center. We’ll provide some tips to help you build your migration strategy and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help you implement it.

In this article, you will learn:

What Is Google Cloud?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is Google’s public cloud service, which competes with Amazon Web Services and Azure (see our articles about Google Cloud vs AWS and Azure vs Google Cloud). GCP supports virtual machines like its competitors, but has a special focus on modern, containerized workloads and the ability to efficiently run machines learning models.

While Google is a smaller player in the cloud services market, it is rapidly catching up, and is perceived to have several important advantages:

  • Pricing—Google prices services by the second, with discounts for long-running instances with no upfront commitment. Also, instance prices can be up to 40-50% lower than other options.
  • Private global network—GCP leverages Google’s private global fiber optic network, which offers very fast direct interconnectivity between their data centers.
  • Live migration—GCP is able to migrate workloads seamlessly from one virtual machine to another with no downtime.
  • Security—GCP offers the same security measures used for Google’s own global-scale services like Gmail, Google Search and Google Docs.

Google Cloud Migration: A 5-Step Strategy

When planning your migration strategy to GCP, Google advises you follow these five steps.


A sequential approach to cloud migrationSource: Google Cloud

1. Assess

Evaluate applications and workloads’ suitability to the Google Cloud. Primary considerations include:

  • Hardware and performance
  • Number of users and licensing issues
  • Compliance
  • Dependencies between applications

Divide your apps into three categories:

  • Easy to move
  • Hard to move
  • Can’t move

2. Pilot

Take one or two applications, preferably from the “easy to move” bucket, and migrate them. Run the apps in production for a while and measure performance. Understand the licensing requirements if you scale up your Google Cloud workloads or add more applications, and always plan for a rollback to on-premise or another cloud in case migration fails.

3. Move Data

Google advises moving all your data to the cloud first, then moving the rest of your applications. Consider the storage tiers offered by Google Cloud Storage (Standard, NearLine Storage and ColdLine Storage), SSDs vs. regular hard disks, and database services like Google Cloud SQL, Datastore and Bigtable. Plan how you’ll physically move the data—data transfer, sending an offline disk to the Google data center, streaming to persistent disks, etc.

4. Move Applications

If you can, perform a direct “lift and shift” of your applications to Google Cloud. For example, by creating a local virtual machine representing your workload and importing it as a Google VM, or backing up your app to GCP and thus automatically creating a cloud copy. If a simple option is not possible, consider rebuilding applications in the cloud with a combination of custom VMs and GCP infrastructure services.

5. Optimize

Now that applications are running in the cloud, consider ways to make them better:

  • Make your apps redundant across GCP availability zones
  • Plan for disaster recovery using Google Cloud Backup
  • Set up elasticity with autoscaling groups
  • Set up monitoring for your workloads with Google Stackdriver
  • Move static assets to cold storage
  • Use Google’s Deployment Manager to launch and scale new instances

Automatic Migration from an On-Premises Data Center to Google Cloud

While there are many paths for migrating to Google Cloud, a common path is to take local VMs managed by VMware vSphere and move them as-is to GCP. This path is fully automated by Google Cloud Migrate for Compute Engine.

Here are the general steps for moving your vSphere workloads automatically into Google Cloud Platform:

  1. Configure your GCP organization including account, organization, project, networking, roles and service accounts (see full instructions).
  2. Create a secure communication channel between your on-premise data center and GCP, using either Google Cloud VPN (which uses an IPsec VPN connection) or Cloud Interconnect (a highly available, low-latency connection).
  3. Configure matching firewall rules on your on-premises data center and in GCP.
  4. GCP provides a management UI called Velostrata Manager, which lets you control the migration. You need to deploy the Velostrata Manager via Google Marketplace and configure it for your migration.
  5. GCP provides an on-premises virtual appliance that manages the migration from within your on-premise data center. In VMware vSphere, create a role, and see these instructions to configure the Velostrata On-Premises Backend.
  6. Now create Cloud Extensions for your migration—these are a means to transfer VM storage between your on-premise environment and GCP. Learn how to do this in vSphere vCenter Web Client.
  7. If you have Linux VMs, see how to prepare them for migration.
  8. You can now run any VM in the cloud in the vSphere Console.

Google Cloud Migration with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including data protection, storage efficiencies, cloud automation, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP assists with cloud migration. NetApp’s data replication tools SnapMirror® and Cloud Sync service will get your data to the cloud.

Learn More About Google Cloud Migration

Google Cloud migration is a complex endeavour. Before you start your migration, you will need to compare options provided by other cloud vendors, and understand comparative pricing, to validate your migration strategy. During the migration project, you should familiarize yourself with technical issues like transferring data from on-premises or other clouds to Google Cloud. Read more about these topics in our articles below.

Google Cloud vs AWS
If you’re considering either Google Cloud or AWS for your cloud workloads, get a quick review of the differences between the platforms. Learn about storage and compute services provided by the two cloud providers, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they compare on pricing.

Read more in: Google Cloud vs AWS: Comparing Price and Capabilities

Azure vs Google Cloud
Before selecting Azure or Google Cloud for your deployment, learn about the differences between Google and Microsoft’s public cloud offering. Understand the storage and compute options offered by each of these clouds, pricing, and pros and cons.

Read more in:  Azure vs Google Cloud: How They Compare

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud
If you’re planning to select one of the big three public cloud providers, get a review of all three offerings, the comparative services provided by each, and where the advantages lie. Each of the three clouds could be an excellent choice, depending on the specific needs of your architecture.

Read more in: AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Choosing the Best Cloud Provider for You

Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service: How to Move Data to Google Cloud Storage
Migrating workloads to Google Cloud? A central part of the effort will be transferring your data to Google Cloud Storage. Learn considerations and best practices that can help you reduce costs and minimize errors.

Read more in: Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service: How to Move Data to Google Cloud Storage

Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.

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