Now that you have finished reading Dave’s blog about when to move to the cloud and Chris’s blog about how to do it, you’ve decided to take the plunge. Whether you choose to ease your way into the cloud or jump right in, you should know that—once again—you have options. To be specific, you have three.
As the Vice President of Strategic Development at Zumasys, I work closely with our project managers to select a customized migration strategy for each customer. During that process, we sit down as a team with our customer to understand their comfort level with migration complexity, clearly identify the cost and end user-impact of migration, and methodically select the best cloud migration strategy for our customer’s business. With help from our engineers, Zumasys has developed three migration strategies that help the project team customize how our customers get to the cloud.
Of the three migration strategies, a forklift migration is the most popular migration strategy executed by our engineers. The forklift migration is usually the least complex and requires the least amount of work, but it also includes the highest amount of risk. With a forklift migration, your equipment, data, or virtual machines are powered off and “forklifted” to our data center. With this option, your public DNS and VPN connections are pointed to the new location, and you keep your current data and server configurations. This strategy typically requires only one downtime window, but it’s a long one.
Some businesses cannot afford to have an extended amount of downtime for all or even some of their data and applications. These businesses may want to consider a phased migration strategy. This approach allows the customer to designate smaller amounts of downtime to specific applications while they are migrated to Zumasys’ hosting platform. With a phased migration, it can take a significant amount of labor hours to configure the migration to the specifications of the customer or end user, but the migration can be tested ahead of time and will create short windows of downtime.
The failover migration is the most complex of the three migration strategies as it involves significant work to prepare the customer’s environment for a near seamless transition from the current production site to Zumasys’ hosting platform. When we at Zumasys perform a failover migration for a customer, we typically implement “swing” equipment—temporary NetApp and Cisco UCS hardware running the latest version of VMware—into the customer’s environment. Then we move the customer’s data to the swing equipment, and once the data is living on the swing equipment, we replicate the data using NetApp SnapMirror technology to Zumasys’ hosting platform. Using VMware’s Site Recovery Manager, our engineers migrate workload and users to the cloud as if your company were “failing over” from the primary site to Zumasys’ hosting platform.
This is a lot of information to process at once, but what’s most important to know is that you have options. Your account manager and the Zumasys Project Management Office will be there for you throughout the decision making process to help you pick the strategy that is best for you.