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Data Migration – The Role of Data in a Cloud World

As companies embark on their journey to cloud, one often overlooked component is the migration of their data. Neglecting the strategic impact of moving your data to the cloud undermines the value that you place on your data and ultimately drives up your operational expense. And data, and the insight that it provides, is a core component of your company’s ability to take advantage of business insight, competitive leadership, product differentiation, and the relationship you have with your customers.

Application migration strategies to the cloud abound from Gartner, IDC and others. I tend to like the 5R model from Gartner detailed here:

Rehost – moving the entire application to the cloud in an IaaS model framework

Refactor – moving the entire application to the cloud in a PaaS model framework

Revise – modify or rewrite the application to work on a cloud provider’s environment

Rebuild – complete rewrite of the applications functionality into a PaaS environment

Replace – purchase a SaaS solution that mirrors the original applications functionality

As important as these models are, the role of your data is often minimized or overlooked in their migration model. When I consult with customer on their cloud strategies, most often their focus is purely on the applications. Companies that have migrated quickly learn that beyond the unexpected cost increase of data in the cloud, sometimes 3x – 5x greater per GB, there is the unexpected consequence of access, control and governance of their data.

Access to your data, and the benefits you can derive from that data, is directly proportional to where that data lives. Where once all enterprise data lived within the confines of a corporate data center, now it’s highly distributed across multiple locations with various access protocols that create barriers to achieving heterogeneous data insight.

As you build out your cloud migration strategy, elevate the role of your data and consider how data plays in that migration. A hybrid approach to where the data resides is a critical component to your strategy. Options abound on strategies to placing your data in the cloud, near the cloud, or even implementing a segmented approach to location based on use, metadata, localization, and data sovereignty.

Where your data lives matters.


About Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is a thought leader, cloud strategist and enterprise data center evangelist focusing on data center evolution with particular emphasis on private and hybrid clouds. Michael previously worked as Dell’s Cloud Evangelist representing Dell’s cloud portfolio and vision at customer meetings, media briefings, and industry conferences. Prior to that, Michael held marketing and consulting roles in the storage and telecom industry. Michael currently works for NetApp as their cloud strategist and evangelist. Michael started his career as a mainframe programmer for General Electric and held the role of adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Akron. Michael has a mathematics degree from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Michael’s recent work includes: • Participation in cloud industry panels and private equity discussions relating to the vision of cloud. • Business development activities with a focus on the enterprise data center. • Sales enablement and training on cloud positioning and how cloud impacts hardware and software sales. • Industry conference presentations including the Consumer Electronics Show, Cloud Computing East, Educause, and the Cloud Computing Association. • Presentation at the International Forum on Innovation and Emerging Industries Development in Shanghai, China


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