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Why Travelling Light is the Key for Cloud Journeys

Aravindan Anandan

Organizations today are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of cloud and cloud-managed services like Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.

The worldwide use of public cloud services will grow at a 19.4% annual rate over the next five years, from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. That’s six times the growth rate of enterprise IT spending as a whole and will cause cloud spending to double during that time period, according to market researcher IDC.

But to be able to reap the benefits that cloud has to offer, an organization must first overcome migration challenges, especially those created by vast volumes of data. The cloud migration checklist should include managing legacy PST files, ensuring optimal traffic for cloud services, and providing a layered approach to information security and management.

To eliminate redundant workloads pre-migration, during migration and post-migration, enterprises should consider security and storage solutions that:

Condense operational and management overheads

The enormous tomes of email information, stored in both Exchange servers and PST files, that organizations typically accumulate create logistical challenges of migration that have a significant bearing on upload and storage costs.

This holds true for especially PST files – that contain as many as thousands of emails and attachments, in addition to hundreds of contacts, calendar items and task lists that combine to form gigantic volumes of data backup, recovery, corruption and discovery challenges.

Some organizations have resorted to file and message archiving, eDiscovery, and PST management solutions to eradicate the use of PST files by locating and migrating data stored in PST files to their opted cloud stations.

Though it does make sense to relocate only the data which is actually required. This puts forward a need for organizations to design a data retention and deletion strategy and leverage policy-based migration tools to automatically identify, delete and relocate redundant or duplicate data, and only migrate prioritized data. This approach alleviates the risks and dangers associated with storing enormous volumes of unmanaged files and emails.

Take for example, reducing email storage helps in simplifying archiving into the cloud and looking for files across appliances and cloud-based data.

A cloud-webbed message archiver can extend archives into the cloud for offsite, long-term, and cost-effective storage. Policies determine data to duplicate to the cloud for disaster recovery or as a secondary tier of storage, with data replication for reduced or condensed overheads.

Optimum utilization of network and bandwidth

Another yet common challenge is the internet connection’s lack of bandwidth to upload or relocate significant numbers of files, large capacities of historical email and other such data from an organization’s own data center to the service provider’s data center.

One approach to deal with this is to shift PST file data on a message-by-message basis, instead of a whole file in one go, to the cloud. This uses the network capacity in the most efficient manner.

This process of relocating data from the on-premise source to the cloud also helps in averting any potential network bottleneck.

To gauge cloud distributions, high-performance load balancing and application delivery boost obtainability and speed for workloads running on the cloud or across hybrid environments.

For example, such solutions may offload compute-intensive SSL transactions, and offer optimization features such as caching, compression and TCP pooling.

Alleviate data security dangers

Cloud computing and mobility have exposed organizations to a radically larger and vulnerable attack surface. Infact, web application attacks, point-of-sale intrusions, cyberespionage and crimeware were the leading causes of confirmed data breaches, according to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Report.

Evidently, enterprises are required to protect multiple threat vectors, including email, web applications, remote access, web browsing, mobile internet and network perimeters. For administrators, restructured and simplified arrangement, management and supervision can lessen the operational pressure on IT.

Security solutions like firewalls that span private and public cloud deployments can be deployed as physical appliances, virtual appliances or SaaS, or through public clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Simplified application authentication and access by integrating a web application firewall (WAF) with Azure Active Directory, for instance, enables organizations to relocate on-premises applications to the cloud without significant application re-writing.

The author is Consulting Systems Engineer – Asia Pacific, Barracuda Networks (India)

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