Once an organization has carefully considered all the various factors, requirements and ramifications of a cloud first strategy and has decided to implement it, they need the means to accomplish the migration of their selected data, applications and processes to the cloud in the safest, most efficient manner possible.
In order to accomplish this, organizations need a solid cloud ready platform, meaning it can offer a lifecycle oriented, virtual repository which is able to span on-premises data centers, remote sites, and cloud hosted Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) under a single operations and management solution. As these platforms emerge IT Professionals will be faced with turnkey platforms that include hardware and software, and software only platforms that enable the organization to leverage its existing commodity hardware. The normal pros/cons of turnkey versus software only apply to these platforms decisions but a software only approach seems to fit the modern IT mantra more so than a turnkey platform.
While many vendor solutions offer open cloud integration interfaces to cloud based data, application compute or orchestrated tasks, these are only the first steps in transitioning to the cloud. Additional capabilities are needed in order to efficiently and securely transition data, operations and applications to the cloud in a way that enables the enterprise to extend to the cloud quickly while achieving fast ROIs on new cloud powered solutions.
Addressing the Challenges
Some of the more critical tasks a cloud-ready platform should be able to handle are:
- Using a business aligned data lifecycle policy to manage indexed physical and virtual data instances or versions across snapshot, replication, backup and archive copies.
- Providing a securely encrypted and efficiently deduplicated, direct access extension to cloud storage.
- Ability to call independent sets of cloud provisioning services as part of an orchestration policy, which allows a simpler publication of complete service offers that can create new workloads, monitor and take action, roll out and update packages, protect and secure selective data, share and audit usage, and identify waste as well as automatically retire unused data to avoid escalating usage.
- Creating a lifecycle oriented virtual repository that can span everything from on-premises data centers and remote sites, to cloud-hosted IaaS under a single management and operations solution, which allows organizations to discover and manage data, workloads, indexing and search functions, and flow across different environments based on policy, usage and need. It also can handle the challenges of automating orchestrated data movement, workload creation, lifecycle management, operations and secure sharing within or across managed environments.
- Spanning disparate environments from data centers to mobile devices, while providing extended security services such as automatic locking, encrypting, and erasing managed end-point devices, as well as controlling mobile devices data access in order to prevent data loss.
- Content awareness, meaning it has the ability to assess and categorize data as content, which allow it to provide retention methods that, based on rules defined by the organization, can selectively control data movement and retain data in specific geographic locations to comply with data sovereignty laws and regulations as well as affecting compliance holds on managed data sets for eDiscovery and other purposes.
A viable cloud ready platform should not only provide the above listed critical capabilities, it should also be able to provide workload portability across common environments such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, VMware, and Hyper-V, by performing all the necessary conversions to transform the data to fit the destination workload.
Cloud Ready Platform Advantage
With these features and the ability to virtualize their data sets, organizations would be able to consolidate all of their disparate data silos and efficiently and securely migrate their data, applications and processes, to the cloud. Additionally they would be able to automatically control data movement, based on policy, to ensure that as data ages, it is stored on the most cost effective tier both on premises and in the cloud. This would enable an organization to also control its cloud storage costs.
This type of solution would significantly simplify data management while also enhancing an organization’s ROI and its ability to manage their data securely and cost effectively.
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