Cloud Migration Automation - Market Viewpoint

09 September 2014 | By John Merryman

Cloud Migration Automation

The cloud migration automation tools market is a hotbed for investment and development. We speculate $100M USD of venture, private, and angel capital has poured into startups over the last several years, most of which are US based. The general focus is to drive automation for application & server workload migrations from variable source to cloud target environments.

At the onset, this is a confusing market niche. In the typical data centre migration, you have Platespin, VM Converter, vMotion, Site Recovery Manager, Doubletake, along with DD, Robocopy, rsync, as the general set of operating system tools you use to get things done in a migration project. In between the myriad of tools, there’s no shortage of manual procedures and work-around hacks to get enterprise workloads transitioned to the target data centre environment. You’ll also find bulk storage array migrations, often driven by storage array based tools. This traditional approach has satisfied traditional platform migration scenarios (P2V, data centre migrations, V2V upgrade/migrations, etc.).

Translate this approach to cloud migrations and you have a new set of challenges. For one, the base security model in the target cloud provider is likely to diverge from the traditional inside-perimeter security model. You also have variable target environment provisioning methods, security configurations, driver/image bases, and storage mechanisms. As a result, on-premise to cloud migrations today happen with a combination of application build/reinstall, FTP, single instance VDMK uploads, and manual sync methods for data consistency, or some combination of these methods. When scaled upwards, employing a mix of manual methods equates to human error, and this is likely the #1 barrier to cloud migrations on scale today.

Cloud migrations present a unique set of challenges and parameters that you’ll never see in a data centre migration project:

  • Network layer may or may not support direct IP connectivity between source and target
  • VPN/IPSEC, NAT translation, virtual private data centre topologies (or combinations in cases)
  • Cloud provider specific security and credentialing systems
  • Cloud provider specific API’s (Amazon, VMware, Openstack, Cloudstack, custom APIs) and provisioning methods
  • Variability of Window and Linux releases and service packs (uniquely manifested in cloud in terms of support)
  • Alternate cloud deployment methods (containers, as highlighted with the VMware/Docker acquisition)
  • Application redesign requirements (as driven out by platform transition reality)

So where does this market go? Up, but painfully. The gap between enterprise and cloud is meaningful, and likely addressed by companies who can tackle the cloud migration challenge with skilled resources, tools, and process/automation. In the near-term, venture money is likely to continue backing migration automation technologies as the market matures and acquisitions start happening. For our practice, We currently use a leading set of emerging tools as we enter and compete in the cloud migration marketplace.

For more information or to discuss this further, feel free to contact the GlassHouse Technologies team.

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