Hybrid clouds are complicated. When you’re moving workloads between public cloud, private cloud, or on-premises locations, you need to maintain management and control of your data, applications, and services to reflect a high standard of data monitoring, security, and authentication. One of the most chronic pains in any company’s journey to hybrid cloud comes from a fairly simple source: attempting to move a large amount of data from one location to another.
The amount of data in today’s enterprise landscape is huge and constantly growing. Organizations are hamstrung by the amount of the data they need to move. However, while other areas of cloud and networking technologies have made strides, data mobility remains one of the industry’s oldest and most frustrating problems. Many companies are currently facing the same bottlenecks they discovered when public clouds were first introduced to the market.
Data needs to be accessible in applications, and if it’s too hard to move data between locations, it will become trapped for example, most of the data enterprises are working with is stuck in one location, whether it’s on-premises, in transit, or hosted in a cloud service. When confined to one location, this data can lock companies into specific vendors and architectures, causing a major issue with flexibility. It’s no longer acceptable to simply find ways to circumvent data mobility obstacles. Below are some of the reasons this problem has gone unsolved for so long, and tips for moving your company — and your data — down the road to recovery.
Long-Standing Mobility Challenges Cause Irrational Fears of the Cloud
It’s not easy to move large amounts of data, and the process becomes more complicated as data sets continue to grow. Network connections aren’t fast enough to keep up with the transfer speeds most companies expect, and they still take a lot of time to move data. Most cloud connectivity services run through existing networks, which aren’t optimized for the cloud and are already in high contention. Moving large data sets across those networks requires excessive delays or even downtime that most companies simply can’t afford.
In response to bad experiences and unsettling fears about data mobility, some organizations have even developed an irrational fear of the cloud, even though it’s becoming unrealistic for those companies to store all of their data in a physical location. Still, many companies try and fail to migrate data, only to end up with huge data set islands — frozen due to the time, cost, and effort they demand.
Physical Answers Only Circumvent the Problem
Some solutions provide temporary remedies for data mobility problems, but they lack the foundation necessary to help companies build a long-term recovery plan. Enterprises can physically move their data stores using traditional ground transportation services, shipping servers, and storage containers laden with data. Others work with networking teams to allocate the bandwidth required to move large data sets, figure out how many connections their data would need, and then rebuild compute in the cloud. Faster, wider channels are better suited to support data transfers, and although they may not address fundamental latency issues, it’s likely that these superhighways will take root in major data center hubs.
Although these solutions literally establish new resources by connecting public cloud servers with enterprise data centers and satellite offices, they also require internal expertise that most companies don’t have. To run compute alongside networking in the cloud, systems need to be rebuilt and optimized for a new environment, and designed with data security in mind — for example, encrypting while data in transit and at rest. Security concerns can block enterprises from actively working to solve data mobility problems, causing them to let obstacles grow as they go unresolved.
To Cure Data Mobility, Face the Issue Head-On and On-Demand
Today, most companies are working to consolidate physical infrastructure. Nearly every aspect of the technology landscape is now available virtualized or as a service, and this on-demand model has proven to be the key that unlocks a variety of issues. Physical data mobility solutions require companies to expand their expensive, complex infrastructure systems and only provide a temporary solution. Meanwhile, companies are increasingly looking to consume solutions and infrastructure on-demand, and mobility solutions need to address these preferences.
When applications can be anywhere, applications perform better when their data resides in a closer proximity and people want data to be available everywhere, data is a boat anchor that holds companies back. Enterprises need to approach data mobility challenges with ongoing effort. Consider how, over time, the ideal location for certain workloads may change, and your team will need to adapt. Managed service providers can help gauge your data’s needs and adjust its treatment accordingly. For example, seek partners that offer access to private networks and data optimization tactics that can handle the full scope of your data lifecycle, from primary to backup, archival, and disaster recovery.
Service providers need to address moving data securely and in a highly optimized way between on-premises and cloud environments without requiring IT to manage this process or conduct a professional services engagement to get it done for each data set. By considering the needs of your data throughout its lifecycle and working with partners who will do the same, you can respond quickly to new business application deployments and avoid unnecessary downtime.
Some solutions on today’s market attempt to place a bandage on data mobility problems, yet they don’t address it in full. This kind of action only fuels existing issues in the long run, and can even stop companies from moving to the cloud entirely, causing them to miss out on the economic and scale benefits a hybrid approach can offer. Instead of accepting a “stuck” diagnosis as your fate, examine your data and work with a partner equipped to handle its needs. Then, you’ll be able to cure your chronic data mobility pains and access a new level of efficiency.