Jan 23 2020

How Virtualization Helps Businesses Overcome Cloud Migration Problems

In a multicloud world, a consistent hybrid approach is key to success.

With most organizations today operating in multiple public and private clouds, managing them all in a simplified, holistic fashion has become one of the great challenges for modern IT leaders.

The first challenge is simply getting to public clouds in the first place. Monolithic application architectures are ill-suited to reap the full cloud benefits from both a cost and capabilities standpoint. This often means expensive professional services are required to fully take advantage of public clouds, and that introduces uncertainty and delays to innovation.

Then there is the move itself. Most businesses cannot afford downtime, so sending multiple virtual machines up to public clouds, hooking them to a database, presenting the relevant data, testing the entire configuration and only then flipping the switch to shift a production workload to the cloud creates a complex and time-consuming maze to navigate. This becomes more pronounced as additional cloud vendors are layered on, each with its own distinct methods, infrastructure and architecture.

Developers Need New Skills To Keep Up

The speed and agility of the cloud raises the stakes for developers. Agile methodologies and DevOps are the paths many organizations take, but this means developers need to master skills that were traditionally the purview of IT operations and security personnel.

Additionally, many of the services that are available to consume on public clouds will require learning new coding languages and gaining a greater familiarity with designing applications that take advantage of application programming interface calls. These factors put a substantial burden on developers and IT staff to broaden their skill sets and responsibilities. 

IT Must Stay Vigilant In Daily Ops 

The cloud shifts many IT operations responsibilities to the vendor, but IT teams must stay focused. We’ve found that the perception of lower operational complexity has led to more fragile operating environments that are still plagued by regular outages. Operations discipline is critical because there isn’t less to do; there is usually more, and it can be more nuanced than with traditional architectures.

There also isn’t much incentive for cloud providers to introduce efficiency and reduce waste in their customers’ IT operations, as this would reduce consumption of their resources. At the same time, a public cloud vendor is only going to guarantee service levels in line with what the stated agreement is, and that means if the policy isn’t maintained on the customer end, then there may be no recourse in the event of an outage. 

Varun Chhabra
With cloud comes a new operational paradigm. Built from the ground up to be open and accessible from anywhere in the world, cloud comes with an increased attack surface as well as added compliance requirements.”

Varun Chhabra Vice president of cloud product marketing for Dell Technologies

Security Strategy Must Adapt With Cloud

With cloud comes a new operational paradigm. Built from the ground up to be open and accessible from anywhere in the world, cloud comes with an increased attack surface as well as added compliance requirements. Existing security approaches often are not portable to public clouds, which means organizations must implement new policies.

It is easy for those who are less familiar with cloud operating principles to introduce vulnerabilities. And when an infrastructure vulnerability does arise, such as a switch port or a CPU bug, the customer relies on timely notification of the issue from the vendor. As data flows across clouds or even different regions, the security and regulatory compliance requirements can become time-consuming to address.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Read why a successful cloud migration starts with understanding business needs.

Finding a Single Solution For The Multicloud Equation

These issues are enough to keep any IT department very busy, and there are several ways to go about solving each problem. However, a consistent hybrid approach is a much simpler path to multicloud success.

Much as virtualization abstracted the challenges that came with a proliferation of vendors in the data center, so too can virtualization (or containers) abstract the intricacies of multiple cloud vendors, and even allow businesses to bring some of their existing best practices to public clouds. The software-defined data center, which is the virtualization of compute, network and storage, frees businesses from the underlying infrastructure; if it is a supported configuration by the cloud service provider the business wishes to use, it can radically change the multicloud equation.

Migration, replatforming and refactoring can largely be condensed into a simple lift-and-shift situation by moving VMs and their underlying policies to public clouds. Although the business won’t have a full cloud-native app without replatforming, it can take advantage of public cloud features in much the same way. The best part is these applications will be more portable between clouds.

Developer methodologies and skill sets are less of a challenge, since existing best practices from the data center can be applied to cloud environments. This way, developers can continue to use the languages that they are used to, and do not have to take on as many operational tasks.

Day-to-day operations are simplified with a true hybrid approach because multiple environments can be monitored and automated from a single control pane. This creates transparency across all assets no matter where they reside, which allows for more efficient operations as well as the ability to gauge return on investment from each vendor.

Rather than continually churning and conforming to changes introduced by vendors, changing IT staff or onboarding new cloud service providers, a consistent hybrid approach with virtualization can create a rapid and sustainable multicloud platform that keeps the organization in control.

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