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Micro Focus 2018 Predictions: Cloud Hopping Goes Mainstream in 2018

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Travis Greene, Director of Strategy, IT Operations at Micro Focus

Cloud Hopping Goes Mainstream in 2018

We have reached a point where application workloads just want to be free from the artificial boundaries of the computing infrastructure they were born in. While that has been true for years for apps birthed in the data center, it is also now true for apps delivered in the public cloud.

Fortunately, technology has matured to enable "cloud hopping" not only from private to public clouds, but between public clouds as well, and we will see this activity take off in 2018. Like international travelers, though, workloads can't get there on their own. They need safe and efficient transportation and an understanding of the local language, customs and regulations when they arrive.

Multi-cloud environments supported by multiple providers (on purpose) are becoming the norm, as multiple development teams choose what is best for their application, and IT Operations gains competencies around managing workloads deployed in the public cloud. Migrations have been a part of the data center scene for years, but hopping between clouds is a relatively new development. So what do successful IT operations managers consider before supporting cloud hopping for their workloads? Here are three considerations to avoid a travel catastrophe and prepare for the onset of cloud hopping in the coming year.

Plan to avoid business disruptions

Suppose your business inks a deal with Microsoft and you get some great pricing on Azure instances. You're getting pressure to migrate workloads from another cloud service provider to save money. But it isn't as easy as running some scripts and failing over.

Sure, if you have a single workload to migrate, you can manually perform the work and schedule the cutover for a low-impact time. But what if you have dozens or hundreds of workloads, each with their own unique security, network, storage, CPU and memory configurations? What if you don't even have a catalog of all of the workloads that need to be migrated?

This is where cloud migration planning tools can really help. Look for capabilities like auto-discovery of workloads, cost and timeline tracking, and progress tracking. While it may seem like a spreadsheet could accomplish the same thing, time is money and accelerating this project has its own benefits. And consider that in today's multi-cloud and cloud hopping world, you're likely going to revisit this project again.

Test the migrations first

What you don't know can hurt you. And sometimes the only way to learn is the hard way. While it's tempting to cut out testing when cloud hopping to accelerate the timeline, you're placing your business at risk by doing so.

The challenge is how to test accurately and avoid turning into a project bottleneck. Look for cloud migration tools that are capable of running migrations in the background without shutting down source servers, and ideally tests 100% of every migration. And remember to test not only the performance of individual workloads but the business services that depend on them.

Execute the cutover as seamlessly as possible

Ideally, you can cutover during a planned maintenance window. But many services today run 24x7, so if you have workloads supporting mission critical services that can't be taken down, you're going to need some ability to make a live transfer of the service without taking the source servers offline.

This will require that the target cloud workload is updated via automatic scheduled incremental replications, once it has been built and tested, right up to the moment of cutover. You can perform a final and quick incremental replication before cutting over to avoid data loss.

Whether you're migrating from AWS to Azure or Google Cloud, expect that shifting business priorities, developer preferences, pricing and capabilities are going to make cloud hopping more common in 2018. IT Operations has a critical role to play in seeing that the migrations come in for a smooth landing so carefully reviewing the various elements of migrations will need to be a point on next year's agenda.

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About the Author

Travis Greene 

Travis Greene, Director of Strategy, IT Operations at Micro Focus, leverages his unique blend of IT operations and security experience to help customers simplify management of complex IT platforms. Travis also engages with industry analysts and partners to understand current infrastructure and operational challenges. After a 10-year career as a U.S. Naval Officer, he started in IT as a Data Center Manager for a hosting company. In early 2002, Travis joined a Managed Service Provider as the leader of the service level and continuous improvement team. Travis is Expert Certified in ITIL and holds a BS in Computer Science from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Published Tuesday, January 16, 2018 7:14 AM by David Marshall
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