Moving Virtual Machines to the Cloud: 10 Important Factors to Consider

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-02-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Whether you are a CIO, IT director or test lab manager, you are probably already aware of the advantages that are attainable by using on-demand resources available in the cloud. However, like anything else, there are checkpoints you may or may not already know about that need to be considered before signing up with a cloud service. One important consideration that is not always discussed by cloud providers but that you may have discovered is that on-premises virtual machines (VM) are in no way identical to new cloud instances. Learn it on the job or learn it here, but not all cloud platforms support all enterprise facilities. You may not be able to transfer some components of your on-premises implementation to a specific cloud provider—or perhaps any provider. You also need to plan what resources your cloud implementation will need in terms of storage, networking and computing capacity before jumping to the cloud. In this eWEEK slide show, Ravello Systems Vice President of Research and Development Gil Hoffer cites 10 important factors to consider when moving your enterprise VMs to the cloud.

 
 
 
  • Moving Virtual Machines to the Cloud: 10 Important Factors to Consider

    by Chris Preimesberger
    1 - Moving Virtual Machines to the Cloud: 10 Important Factors to Consider
  • Your OS May Not Be Supported on the Target Cloud

    Since the market is young, it lacks some software components that would enable a smooth migration to your target cloud from your on-premises servers. It's not difficult to start a specific Linux machine on Amazon Web Services, but your organization may have more diverse needs. Your target cloud may not support Windows, certain operating systems or virtual appliances.
    2 - Your OS May Not Be Supported on the Target Cloud
  • Metrics, Performance Levels Vary Greatly Between On-Premises and Cloud

    Differences exist between on-premises and cloud performance, so testing resources before undertaking a migration is important. Identify the necessary resources in terms of storage, networking and computing size when you attempt a migration, and find out in advance what to expect after a migration. Performance varies even within the same cloud provider for identical instance types, so account for these fluctuations when planning.
    3 - Metrics, Performance Levels Vary Greatly Between On-Premises and Cloud
  • Networking Architecture Support Isn't a Given

    Enterprise-grade deployments involve extensive networking, using VLANs, routers, firewalls, load-balancers, broadcasting and more. Your chosen cloud provider may not have features and capabilities that support these parts of your application, or the required networking architecture. Because enterprises need these important features, you have an ecosystem of integrators and solutions to consider that can support your specific advanced needs.
    4 - Networking Architecture Support Isn't a Given
  • Shared Storage Is Not Currently Supported by Any Major Cloud Provider

    On-premises solutions, such as storage area networks (SANs), use architectures that can't be used on any major cloud provider to date. You may need to rethink your infrastructure to incorporate storage solutions that are better suited to the cloud, such as moving from SAN to network-attached storage (NAS).
    5 -Shared Storage Is Not Currently Supported by Any Major Cloud Provider
  • App/Code Infrastructure Dependency Is the Greatest Challenge

    Most traditional enterprise IT migration projects are faced with a strong dependence between the application software stack and the underlying on-premises infrastructure, which is considered one of the greatest cloud migration challenges. To decouple the application/code from the infrastructure, consider solutions that make it much less painful to make that clean separation in order to move the application to the cloud. 
    6 - App/Code Infrastructure Dependency Is the Greatest Challenge
  • Network Latency

    The application you're migrating might have just moved from being accessed over the LAN in the room next to the kitchen to over the WAN (and sometimes over the ocean). Consider how it will behave and the network delays given this change.
    7 - Network Latency
  • Costs of Running in the Cloud vs. On-Premises

    Factor in the costs of running in the cloud, as in some cases the cloud can be substantially more expensive than running on-premises. Try to account for the on-demand and agile natures of the cloud as well.
    8 - Costs of Running in the Cloud vs. On-Premises
  • Certification and Licensing

    Consider this: Is your third-party software licensed and certified to run on your target cloud provider?
    9 - Certification and Licensing
  • SLAs (IaaS vs. On-Premises)

    When moving to the cloud, you need to adopt a different way of thinking about service-level agreements (SLAs). Compared with on-premises SLAs, IaaS vendors' SLAs are presented as more of a market differentiator than as a true indicator of cloud performance. This is because it's impossible for giant public cloud vendors to guarantee each point on the system. But this doesn't mean the cloud isn't a viable computing solution. Rather than relying on the IaaS vendor, understand the platform weaknesses and strengths and design your systems to cope in case of failure.
    10 - SLAs (IaaS vs. On-Premises)
  • Time Needed to Learn New Concepts, Best Practices

    Given knowledge gaps, when moving to the cloud your team will have to learn a lot of new concepts, techniques, best practices, etc. It comes with a cost, so plan and consider the investment needed not only for the infrastructure, but also for the learning curve required for your staff to get up to speed on new processes. Third-party resources can also help teams utilize cloud infrastructures without the need for extensive transitions and trainings required.
    11 - Time Needed to Learn New Concepts, Best Practices
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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