Everything You Need to Know About

Migrating work loads can be complex. To help you with best practices for work loads migration, here’s what you need to keep in mind to keep you moving.

Workload Cloud Migration Service

Making Sense of it All

What Migrating Work loads Really Means

Migrating a work loads simply means that you’re moving data, assets, software, etc. from one location to another. For example, a previously on-premise work loads can be moved into a cloud environment or migrated between physical locations.

Cloud migrations in particular are proving to be enormously popular. The cloud migration service market grew almost 32 percent in 2018, reaching a valuation of $72.4 billion in the year. A Forrester analyst has also found that 69 percent of companies in Europe and North America are migrating work loads to cloud environments.

What Moves You?

Good Candidates for Migration

Just about any work loads can be migrated, so long as its assets and components are currently in definable locations. Not all work loads may be good candidates for a move, but the best include:

  • Storage, backup and archiving data
  • Work loads or applications that are loosely coupled
  • Multi-tiered applications
  • Applications that have been architected to scale
  • Work loads that have variable utilization or are bursty in nature
Cloud Storage Data Migration Service

To Migrate or Not to Migrate?

What to Keep in Mind When Deciding Whether or Not to Migrate
Consider Your Setup

There are a few key considerations to address before making the decision to migrate a work loads.


It’s essential to evaluate how much connectivity is available. This is a crucial consideration for the migration itself and for the work loads success post-migration. Available bandwidth and download/upload speeds will dictate both how long the migration itself will take and how efficiently various end users will be able to access and utilize the work loads once the migration is completed.

Current Setup

Evaluate if the current setup uses new or old software, hardware, etc. As the old saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. If the current setup utilizes mostly newer equipment, software and processes, then it may not be the best candidate for migration. However, if everything associated with the current setup is dated, then a migration is very likely due.


This is an especially critical consideration for application migrations due to how often apps are configured for specific infrastructure. Before a migration can or should occur, determine where you are in the hardware refresh cycle. The closer you are to a refresh the more likely you are in a position to consider migrations.

Business Benefits

Ask how the business will benefit from this migration. A critical question in initial planning phase that is too often overlooked is how the migration impacts the business.

  • Does the organization become more agile as a result?
  • Does the migration save on time or costs?
  • Does a migration enable you to act on data and gain insights more quickly and efficiently?

If the migration doesn’t help move the organization forward in some capacity overall, then it’s likely not worth the effort at this time.

Data Management

The data at the core of the migration should be properly overseen and managed. Review:

  • Who owns the data now?
  • How will data be overseen and protected before and after the move? Security, including data encryption, is vitally important.

Ultimately, it all boils down to data sovereignty. Understand who will be the central commander overseeing the data and ensuring its continual worth both during and after the migration. This needs to be firmly hammered out before any migration begins.

Migration Missteps

Avoiding Common Migration Pitfalls
There are four major issues that organizations should be sure to steer clear of during a migration
Internet Connectivity Data Migration

1. Not Enough Connectivity

Organizations absolutely need to make sure they have enough connectivity both to ensure the migration goes smoothly and to guarantee that all end users can adequately obtain and utilize affected data, tools and processes.

Let’s say backup data is migrated to a cloud environment utilizing on-premises servers, for example, but connectivity speeds connecting the new cloud backup hosting environment competes with the rest of the company’s infrastructure. Insufficient connectivity will not only mean that running backups is painfully slow, but also that the backup may not be immediately available when it’s needed. Organizations could be using the cloud as an archive or for backup and if they do a nightly backup, they will want to ensure that that job is completed before they start business the next day.

cloud data migration services

2. Lack of Access for All Remote Users

Over two-thirds of all white-collar professionals work from home or remotely at least once a week and more than half do so the majority of the time.1 Companies are not fully benefiting from their move when they fail to account for remote workers as part of their migration. As work increasingly becomes decoupled from the office, work loads need to be accessed from any device anywhere in the world at any time in order to be truly effective. This applies to remote infrastructure like offsite data centers as well. The goal here should be to create a well-connected mesh, leaving nothing as an island and considering how all work loads and locations communicate with one another

Cloud Migration Service

3. The New Environment is the Wrong Size or Not Elastic Enough

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new house. How would you determine the right size abode? A couple might choose a place with three bedrooms in anticipation of their small family growing, even though they won’t need the additional space right away. Alternatively, someone with three kids in high school might elect to move into a smaller home, as their children will likely be moving out in the next few years.

This same thinking should apply to work loads migrations. The key is to choose a new environment that fits the work loads needs today and in the future.

In theory, the elasticity of the cloud is ideal for alleviating these sorts of concerns. However, businesses too often neglect to take scaling into account when migrating work loads to the cloud. Choose a cloud provider that is suited for your current business/application needs and offers tools and services that can allow you to expand cost-effectively on an as-needed basis as the organization and its work loads scale.

4. Difficulty Importing and Exporting Data

It’s fairly east to get data into the cloud. What happens when you need to get data out? In the world of work loads migration, this is often where businesses find themselves dealing with unforeseen headaches and costs.

If you’re using an internet connection for the purpose of sending data to and from the cloud, it’s free to put the data in the cloud. Where it gets cost prohibitive is on the data egress side where you’re pulling data out of the cloud provider.

If we consider a fairly typical situation in which a cloud provider charges a minimal cost per gigabyte of data for egress, this charge is normally negligible. For businesses handling terabytes or petabytes of data, as data volumes grow, these costs become much more burdensome.

Balancing Act

Performance and Cost

While 58 percent of respondents to a survey saw costs higher than expected after migrating to the cloud, it’s definitely possible to design a cloud based architecture or environment that is both cost effective and flexible.

To get both efficiency and a cost-effective solution, invest in a hybrid cloud solution which is the typical setup organizations elect to use. This way, you gain the control and stability inherent for on-premise deployments (like a data center or a colocation facility) while also being able to use the cloud for added flexibility, easy scaling and as-a-service access. Businesses can utilize virtual machine (VM) instances that leverage a cloud provider’s unused capacity which can help organizations reduce costs by 80% when compared to OnDemand VMs or instances.

In terms of migration, however, it all depends on why it is taking place and what is being replaced. Migrating some or all of a work loads to the cloud definitely adds flexibility, while keeping more static elements of the work loads in a fixed cost environment like a data center or even a dedicated VM can help keep the overall budget in check.

The most common way to achieve flexibility and cost effectiveness is by developing applications or services that can leverage or utilize a hybrid cloud architecture, where you’re always on or steady state work loads are kept on-premises. That way, when user demand or user requests scale up, those work loads are able to leverage the compute capacity of the cloud.

It comes down to how everything is set up and optimized after the migration. For instance, if you haven’t sized your virtual machines or instances appropriately, you may discover that you are paying too much for a resource that is underutilized or suffering from poor performance because the cloud-based infrastructure you are using post-migration is overutilized.

Work Loads Working

How Service Exchange Helps

Some businesses aren’t chomping at the bit to migrate work loads to the cloud due to perceived concerns about data ownership and egress rates. This is especially the case in more complex deployments that involve multiple clouds and on-premise deployments. Digital Realty’s Service Exchange Powered by Megaport helps to alleviate these concerns by establishing secure connections between clouds, data centers and networks that can be turned up on-demand.

What enterprises are achieving today with Service Exchange is the ability to log in to the Digital Realty marketplace portal and create virtual cross connects on demand. If enterprise users experience cloud usage changes—due to a seasonal activity, batch job that needs to be executed or the movement of work loads from the colocated facility or data center to one of the public clouds—they have the ability to create that private logical connection. As their needs change or as usage increases or decreases, they can then turn up or down connections to providers of their choosing.

Consider what multi-cloud connectivity looks like without something like Service Exchange in place. A business either has to rely on public internet, which is, for starters, unreliable and insecure, or they have to order and install seperate connections to each cloud provider which can be expensive, inflexible and time-consuming to get in place.

Because Service Exchange provides a private connection, you can achieve higher throughput. In addition to seeing cost savings, those same enterprise users will experience decreased or shortened data transfer times.

Put to Work

How Frequently Work loads Should Be Evaluate

Work loads should be evaluated on a regular basis looking at the system and application performance as well as how the alternatives would fare. It’s important to have a set EOL plan in place for all work loads, and to understand when a migration should happen and how it will need to occur before it’s absolutely necessary (i.e. before a total breakdown). Some businesses may want to evaluate work loads a few times a year, while others are okay with a frequency of once every few years.

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