5 things you need to know before you move out of your cloud provider

Moving out of cloud image | NTT ICTCloud computing is seen by many as the New Frontier for Enterprise Computing; providing an easy ‘on-ramp’ to infrastructure outsourcing for companies both big and small.

Yet, what happens if you’re looking for the off-ramp? A company hosting their applications and data in the Cloud may want to move their data out again at some point. The reasons for this are varied. For example, a change in a company’s security or data protection requirements, or specialised performance requirements for storage could be reasons that a company needs to migrate away from the Cloud, or at least needs to move to an alternative Cloud provider. When that happens, how do you move out?

  • Plan ahead. Before entering into an agreement to use cloud services, agree on a suitable way to terminate at a later date if you need to. That includes correct and timely recovery of all your data.
  • Allocate the necessary resources. You’ll need disk space, compute power, access, and appropriately trained staff. Migrating your data out of the cloud won’t necessarily be a straightforward or rapid process, even if your provider gives you ready access. Make sure to think everything through before ending your relationship with your current Cloud provider.
  • Move all of your data out. You may have a lot of data to move, what with file versions, archives, backups, and the rest... It may be more practical to ask your provider to transfer everything to portable disk or tape (if they have that capability) and physically ship you the data, rather than dealing with the inherent latency and lack of security that can be found on the Internet. Equally important, you or your new provider will have to be able to cope with whatever physical or logical format your data is presented in. Again, do your homework up front if you will have a large amount of data to extract at the end of a contract.
  • Migrate any IP addresses correctly - if possible, leave both old and new real IP addresses operational for up to a week. Nameserver changes can typically take up to 24 hours to propagate across the Internet, but could take even longer for some of your customers. Dependent upon their individual configuration, they may have to manually update their systems, so be prepared. 
  • Delete old data. Make sure that you know going into an agreement with your Cloud provider where your data will be physically hosted. When all of your services are up and running correctly at your new site and your new IP address is the only one now being served to visitors, have your Cloud provider delete all of your data from any server or storage instance present on their platform. Get them to certify in writing that your data has been deleted.

Finally, the best approach to migrating your data away from your Cloud provider is making sure up-front that you won’t have to. Plan your move to the Cloud carefully; not all Cloud platforms are created equal. Clearly document your requirements for capacity, performance, availability, scalability, security, and compliance before approaching a Cloud provider. Make sure your Cloud provider has a financially secure and stable business, and how much support they’re willing and able to provide you on your journey to the Cloud and beyond. Lastly, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand what’s included, and what is not included. For example, understand your pricing model and your incremental costs; don’t be caught out when your monthly compute resource requirements exceed your expectations.

 

Added 23 July 2014

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