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Manage migration to cloud computing

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November 17, 2010 2:07:04 PM

So for those of you who have made the move to some kind of cloud computing service (such as backup, email, Web apps, or something else) what did you do first: did you move your front end UI or your back end data? How did you make that first step? Which vendors did you evaluate?

We are starting a series of cloud-based articles in the coming weeks at Tom's, btw.
November 23, 2010 6:48:46 PM

I'm working on a write up. Just need to find time to write up and I can lay out the details hopefully in the coming days.
November 29, 2010 1:59:12 PM

One of my readers did the migration in stages over a period of a year or so. They first moved their front end apps to the cloud, leaving their data on premises. That got them a 70% increase in computing power. They used Spring OSS, Appistry for handling cloud services, and Stratascale for their hosting. This gave them time to plan and understand what they were getting involved in.
Related resources
November 29, 2010 2:01:39 PM

Another reader sells a lot of Google Apps/Docs by justifying the savings involved in hosted email services. Even for 100 or so mailboxes, he can get three year or better ROIs, and his customers don't have to upgrade their Exchange servers or install new software upgrades either.
March 11, 2011 6:08:43 AM

The technical issues are also complex. Most firms that migrate to the cloud do so in a hybrid model, keeping certain key elements of their infrastructure in-house and under their direct control, while outsourcing less sensitive or core components. Integrating internal and external infrastructures can be a technical swamp. Monitor arms
March 23, 2011 3:58:50 AM

Biggest issue raised was the migrating of company email services to an external provider. For small companies without sensitive multi-million or possibly multi-billion dollar projects this isn't an issue. For corporations there exists the very real possibility of your data becoming accessible to a competitor. After all, spending $300,000 grand to steal another companies $4,000,000 project data is money well spent.
April 22, 2011 10:44:13 AM

Everything will be on the cloud eventually unless someone has a bias against it or their business model simply doesn't benefit from it. The pros vs. cons are a no-brainer.

Compare Microsoft's cloud with VMWare's and Google's here.

April 25, 2011 9:34:20 AM

I personally know many things that won't get near the "cloud". Seriously drop the marketing buzz words. "Cloud Computing" is just the new spin on outsourcing services. Instead of running MS Exchange your company uses a webhosted email system running on redundant hardware. The redundancy is such that one server going down will not impact your service as there are many others that immediately load balance connections. Technically speaking hotmail, gmail and yahoo are all "cloud computing" email systems.

If your about to refer to office productivity, its been done already. Its nothing more then webapps running again on, redundant hardware that automatically load balances upon a member going down. BEAWLS has been doing this for years and several DoD applications run on this. Even something as simple as the old X-drive file hosting website is "cloud computing" as it offers remote file storage and retrieval through redundant hardware.

So really tell me, what is new about this "cloud computing" you refer to? So far I haven't had a single person be able to define it as something new, rather then something we've been doing for 10+ years.
April 25, 2011 3:24:51 PM

I think you read too much into my response. Of course the cloud is nothing new. Yes, it is a catch word. When haven't we used catch words for the latest type of topology/architecture to use in the enterprise? They're all fads and then we laugh about them 10 years from now because technology is so far advanced. If you personally know that things won't get near the cloud, I would have to ask for your references unless you'll have to kill me afterwords. Time will tell. Have you read the news lately and seen how many major corporations are moving to the cloud? Why?... Saves money. Business is business.
April 26, 2011 1:43:44 AM

Reference is simple. Look up SIPRNET and the rest of DoD in general. You were attempting to make a joke, but I actually do work for a major defense company. Security clearances are mandatory for everyone.

Thing is, their not "moving to the cloud", their just outsourcing parts of their IT departments. The funny part is, sensitive data and corporate secrets are kept inside the company, those will never be moved to an external data hosting service (all cloud computing really is). Stop talking like its some new thing, its not new its over 20 years old. People talk about running their applications from "the cloud" where their data is saved on "the cloud" and managed from there, that sounds identical to mainframe computing with remote terminals. Except instead of a TTY terminal your using a web browser. Then we go into thin clients and remote terminal services which is identical to everything anyone ever says about "the cloud". Again something that's been around for decades.

And honestly step back and put down the rose glass's and look at the nitty gritty. No matter what marketing buzz word you attach to it, the idea of putting your data into the hands of an unknown entity is dangerous. You can't control this unknown entity, you have no way of ensuring their not giving your data to someone else, or selling it, or modifying it without telling you. The "cloud" isn't some mythic magical fairy land were data magically moves around, this isn't Tron. Its a set of servers in a data center somewhere on the planet. These servers have a group of humans assigned to manage them, maintain them, configure them and ensure these servers are working at optimal efficiency so that the hosting company can make money. These individuals have access to every single byte of data stored of their servers, no amount of encryption will keep it safe because they hold all the keys. And the scariest part is you, the data owner, have ~ZERO~ idea who these individuals are nor any control over their access to your data. They may by upstanding trustworthy individuals who would never succumb to the $400,000 dollar bribe your competitor is offering them for access to your data. Or they may have gambling debt, one of their children or parents might be suffering from out of control health expenses, they may be heavily in debt, or might just be angry at their employer who's low-balling them due to the economy. Or worst of all (and most likely) their working in India / China / ~insert cheap developing nation here~ and their managers are the ones being offered that $400,000 USD to turn over your product details, specifications and source code.

This is the single greatest security nightmare, it takes the systems which are normally under the scrutiny of the company and puts them in some unnamed unknown "cloud" location where unknown and uncleared individuals have free access to everything your put there.

The world is less like Star Trek and more like Babylon 5.
April 26, 2011 1:53:09 AM

I honestly think this is a case of voice intonation in text being misread, misunderstood, or assumed. I'd be perfectly fine to talk about this over the phone so that there would be clearer, quicker, and more natural human conversation. I don't disagree with your last post at all. One important thing I left out in my previous posts is that one solution is not the solution for everone. Absolutely, it depends on the company, the data, the type of data, the size of the company, their business model, strategy, mission statement, purpose, etc. If I "sounded" sarcastic in the least bit in my previous posts, then it was read into incorrectly. No intention at all of such a thing.

My private email is b r e n p j o h n _a.t_ g _ m _ a _ i _ l _ . _ c _ o _ m (the format was to avoid the filters). We can talk on the phone about it if you'd like.

Thanks.
April 26, 2011 1:56:20 AM

...and to add that my use of superlatives is just carelessness on my part (i.e. - "everything").
Anonymous
May 9, 2011 3:02:28 AM

Here is one of the best "Cloud Computing" books I found ...

A Five-Step Process to Evaluate, Design and Implement A Robust Cloud Solution
The Essential Desk Reference and Guide for Managers
ISBN: 978-0-9832361-3-9

http://bit.ly/gO7Cup

Hope you will find it useful.
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June 17, 2011 3:05:13 AM

Cloud computing is simply clever marketing. Almost all "cloud" offerings or migrations are not what I would consider cloud computing at all. Google offer's cloud style services, Microsoft's Azure offerings are cloud style services, but unfortnately it has come to mean really any ASP (Application Service Provider) offerings where the back-end is out of site and hopefully out of mind.
July 1, 2011 7:13:10 PM

The cloud is here to stay, its not going away. Its amazing technology built on top of existing (internet) technology.

I dont believe everything will eventually be in the cloud (at least I hope not), nor do I believe it should be. There should be alternative solutions, and an educated public on the ramifications of trusting your data to the cloud or going another route.

With that said, sadly I think its going to become harder and harder to live without much of your data out in the cloud, maybe not directly by you, but by companies utilizing third party cloud providers. This is because just like now, privacy is highly compromised because people have learned to accept the technology without researching and reading the fine print that comes with it (not that I blame them, things change so quickly, its almost impossible to follow all the ramifications that follow new technology).
July 4, 2011 4:32:57 AM

Thanks for the educational experience! Personally, I feel a place going hand in hand with "cloud computing" is Virtualization. How long until out Enterprises are running/operating from a server located overseas where energy is cheaper? Where it costs less to have foreign "tech support" people who answer and say "Hello, my name is Neo, or Jack, or Bill, etc..." running our core economy. This IS taking place in some places and this IS essentially cloud computing. Off-site storage of our information...often within a datacenter holding many other companies files.

Obviously not everything will be sent to the cloud. I've worked with a bank (works on federal standards, must be checked by DoD certified agents, etc...) that would NEVER store the confidential financial records of it's clients, especially high profile clients "in the cloud" unless they, themselves owned the cloud service. This is basic common sense. Do I use gmail? yes, Google Docs? Yes. Quickbooks online? yes but, I understand the risks and benefits and personally see the benefits outweighing the risks at this point in my life/career. Would I trust setting up someone else with a similar online portfolio to mine? NO! Because that would be me telling them I trust it and you have nothing to worry about. I will recommend these products to people but, I an't back them up because I don't have anything to do with their infrastructure and security. (Of which there is much, but I am ignorant to the extent)
Companies simply choose what they want to store on non-company property and accept all the risks as well as benefits that go with it.
I use virtualization on ALL of my servers because of the sheer efficency of it. I now have 1 server for every 4 that I used to use because I no longer NEED dedicated servers to do single tasks (a bit of an exageration but, not the point here). Virtualization and Cloud computing is here, eventually we will be buying virtual space and run power and network to our computers, that is all, but similar has been happening forever. How is "Booting from the network" any different that cloud operating systems? Because you were hosting the boot software locally? That doesn't matter one bit. It may prove to be a more simple day, and we all must make the responsible choices with the data we shoot out to the cloud.
July 23, 2011 7:17:39 AM

yes
December 20, 2011 6:00:24 PM

The new company I'm working for is in the process of transition from an old/outdated 2003 Exchange server to the Office 365 cloud based software. You first transfer the mailboxes (hopefully not too large in size) then you can do everything else via MS's online portal (which the admin will use to manage all the users). Quite frankly, it'll quit taxing our old servers which were sometimes not entirely reliable to not having to worry about a thing.

During the transition mail is going to our exchange server and then copied to the Office 365 server so that we make sure we don't lose any mail in the transition.
December 24, 2011 9:46:55 PM

palladin9479 said:
Reference is simple. Look up SIPRNET and the rest of DoD in general. You were attempting to make a joke, but I actually do work for a major defense company. Security clearances are mandatory for everyone.

Thing is, their not "moving to the cloud", their just outsourcing parts of their IT departments. The funny part is, sensitive data and corporate secrets are kept inside the company, those will never be moved to an external data hosting service (all cloud computing really is). Stop talking like its some new thing, its not new its over 20 years old. People talk about running their applications from "the cloud" where their data is saved on "the cloud" and managed from there, that sounds identical to mainframe computing with remote terminals. Except instead of a TTY terminal your using a web browser. Then we go into thin clients and remote terminal services which is identical to everything anyone ever says about "the cloud". Again something that's been around for decades.

And honestly step back and put down the rose glass's and look at the nitty gritty. No matter what marketing buzz word you attach to it, the idea of putting your data into the hands of an unknown entity is dangerous. You can't control this unknown entity, you have no way of ensuring their not giving your data to someone else, or selling it, or modifying it without telling you. The "cloud" isn't some mythic magical fairy land were data magically moves around, this isn't Tron. Its a set of servers in a data center somewhere on the planet. These servers have a group of humans assigned to manage them, maintain them, configure them and ensure these servers are working at optimal efficiency so that the hosting company can make money. These individuals have access to every single byte of data stored of their servers, no amount of encryption will keep it safe because they hold all the keys. And the scariest part is you, the data owner, have ~ZERO~ idea who these individuals are nor any control over their access to your data. They may by upstanding trustworthy individuals who would never succumb to the $400,000 dollar bribe your competitor is offering them for access to your data. Or they may have gambling debt, one of their children or parents might be suffering from out of control health expenses, they may be heavily in debt, or might just be angry at their employer who's low-balling them due to the economy. Or worst of all (and most likely) their working in India / China / ~insert cheap developing nation here~ and their managers are the ones being offered that $400,000 USD to turn over your product details, specifications and source code.

This is the single greatest security nightmare, it takes the systems which are normally under the scrutiny of the company and puts them in some unnamed unknown "cloud" location where unknown and uncleared individuals have free access to everything your put there.

The world is less like Star Trek and more like Babylon 5.

Very well stated! You are absolutely correct regarding your concern about sensitive data being managed by (sometimes) unscrupulous people in foreign countries.

Bribery and graft are rampant in foreign countries. It goes on in the US too but to a much lesser extent. In some foreign countries people on trial for bribery will 'bribe' their way out of the charges.

Buzz words are created by marketing types to instill curiosity in consumers. Years ago we had "Innovators" - now we have transitioned to "Thought leaders" depicting the same class of individuals.

And, BTW, bribery in foreign countries is done for much much less than $400,000!
February 7, 2012 8:17:19 AM

dstrom said:
So for those of you who have made the move to some kind of cloud computing service (such as backup, email, Web apps, or something else) what did you do first: did you move your front end UI or your back end data? How did you make that first step? Which vendors did you evaluate?

We are starting a series of cloud-based articles in the coming weeks at Tom's, btw.


In 2005 or so we moved the backup of sattelite sites from inhouse tape storage to an internet based storage solution (tivoli based). We temporarily moved back to inhouse storage again when we restructured our network to only have one big main serverroom, and have later moved it back out to an external service. We're very heavily considering moving it back inhouse however (at a different site ofcourse), as the costs are too high and the service quality provided is, shall we say, uninspiring.

In early 2011 we were created out of the staff from two collage like companies to create a cloud services host that provides services to the previous employers and additional customers. So I suppose in a way we ARE the cloud now.
Internally we provide data storage, printing, database and application services along with both TS and Citrix connections for employees and wireless connectivity for the students own devices etc.
What we don't host ourselves are the website based content system hosting the majority of the students assignments and their schedules, the backup system (contract expires this year though), student email system (outlook.com) and possibly in future students files if skydrive policies ever adapt to european legislation (or the other way around) so it's legally an option to map it. Also there are select webbased services like dictionaries, car technical documents and library systems that are simply subscribed to by the respective companies, instead of us having to handle them.

But from the point of view of any of those individual companies we support, we're the cloud and are providing:
Remote/homeoffice connectivity.
All networking services at the company sites.
All telephone services excluding cell phones from two companies.
All file hosting services, both online and offline.
All email handling, spam filtering etc.
Most user creation processes.
Handling of most software licenses. In particular all that have a network based license service or site license, along with most Microsoft, Autodesk and Adobe software.
Software handling and deployment on company owned systems and to a very limited extend also on their customers systems.
Almost all helpdesk support up to but not including support with the use of individual software unless the issue is deemed to have a technical cause rather than ignorance.
Onsite user support and computer maintenance following a preplanned schedule or whenever needed.
Printer management (using pcounter) except ordering of paper, clips and some mfc support left to local caretakers or support signed on by the individual companies from the mfc provider.
Renewal of desktop computers for the biggest of the customers. As in we get a lump of money each year, and have to make sure their computers don't age beyond 5 years to the best of our abilities (limited by the budget ofc).
Most alarm and video surveillance.
Hosting of the automated ventilation systems and whatever else those things from Siemens and TAC handle. We don't operate the things, and use the respective oem for most of the less simple support jobs however. ps. stay away from siemens systems! their technicians have no idea what they're doing and experts at not communicating with eachother or their customers.

In short, when the companies we provide services for changed to 'cloud services' they basicly moved everything in one big lump. Students and administrative networks were converted in stages, but over the course of a month or two, almost all services were moved to our facilities with only the most basic things still on local sites (telephone centrals and video surveillance)

Maybe we provide more stuff than the above. I'm not entirely sure. I work with Onsite support, backup, license server and our sccm / software deployment systems only. Have very little knowledge of the Oracle, Navision and other applications we provide.
February 7, 2012 8:28:35 AM

palladin9479 said:
Reference is simple. Look up SIPRNET and the rest of DoD in general. You were attempting to make a joke, but I actually do work for a major defense company. Security clearances are mandatory for everyone.

Thing is, their not "moving to the cloud", their just outsourcing parts of their IT departments. The funny part is, sensitive data and corporate secrets are kept inside the company, those will never be moved to an external data hosting service (all cloud computing really is). Stop talking like its some new thing, its not new its over 20 years old. People talk about running their applications from "the cloud" where their data is saved on "the cloud" and managed from there, that sounds identical to mainframe computing with remote terminals. Except instead of a TTY terminal your using a web browser. Then we go into thin clients and remote terminal services which is identical to everything anyone ever says about "the cloud". Again something that's been around for decades.

And honestly step back and put down the rose glass's and look at the nitty gritty. No matter what marketing buzz word you attach to it, the idea of putting your data into the hands of an unknown entity is dangerous. You can't control this unknown entity, you have no way of ensuring their not giving your data to someone else, or selling it, or modifying it without telling you. The "cloud" isn't some mythic magical fairy land were data magically moves around, this isn't Tron. Its a set of servers in a data center somewhere on the planet. These servers have a group of humans assigned to manage them, maintain them, configure them and ensure these servers are working at optimal efficiency so that the hosting company can make money. These individuals have access to every single byte of data stored of their servers, no amount of encryption will keep it safe because they hold all the keys. And the scariest part is you, the data owner, have ~ZERO~ idea who these individuals are nor any control over their access to your data. They may by upstanding trustworthy individuals who would never succumb to the $400,000 dollar bribe your competitor is offering them for access to your data. Or they may have gambling debt, one of their children or parents might be suffering from out of control health expenses, they may be heavily in debt, or might just be angry at their employer who's low-balling them due to the economy. Or worst of all (and most likely) their working in India / China / ~insert cheap developing nation here~ and their managers are the ones being offered that $400,000 USD to turn over your product details, specifications and source code.

This is the single greatest security nightmare, it takes the systems which are normally under the scrutiny of the company and puts them in some unnamed unknown "cloud" location where unknown and uncleared individuals have free access to everything your put there.

The world is less like Star Trek and more like Babylon 5.


While I somewhat agree with the security aspect of this, I'm not completely in agreement with all your claims.
Cloud computing is so much more than just data storage. Providing applications and other services are part of it too. It's not JUST data storage.
While security is an issue, it isn't much worse than the issues already present in inhouse storage. The benefit of cloud computing (from the customers point of view) is outsourcing of responsibility and cheap aquisition of qualified technicians. There is ofcourse a very real risk of data thieft, but I don't think that risk is in any way bigger than it would be if some semiprofessional and unexperienced IT recruit at the local company gets offered a bribe. The only real difference is, that if you're hosting cloud services, you've got some fairly strict sets of rules to follow and are checked by a third party company at least once a year. When on the other hand your services are hosted inhouse, you'll have to put all you faith blindly in the guys you hired on and just pray that your employees don't install torrent clients or gets bribed/tricked into leaking information.

In fact I'll claim that I think cloud based computing is slightly less risky than inhouse hosting. And it most definetly is cheaper. On the other hand though, you're much more vulnerable in case of a local disaster, isp breakdown or bankrupcy of the hosting service. But I don't think your data is any less safe. After all the EU has some annoyingly strict rules about data security which means that european based companies can't just dump data on some harddrives in someones cellar and call it a safe cloud.
February 18, 2012 2:18:50 PM

Quote:
Reference is simple. Look up SIPRNET and the rest of DoD in general. You were attempting to make a joke, but I actually do work for a major defense company. Security clearances are mandatory for everyone.


Although they deny it and I don't believe that swine bucket, how did Wikileaks get the documents they did? Cable or human, since there was no log evidence of a hack? IP based or data center based, it depends on the measures which prevent people inside from getting to the information. 400K for corporate secrets or Iran and 20M for DoD secrets, anything can be had if someone wants it bad enough and has the dollars. Would you not agree the key is the system which prevents the human from breaching, is the real secret? 4x redudancy, eyes, voice, movements and the ability to measure vitals has yet to be breached. Israel uses such a system, we don't, except in the private sector. I would love to know why? Hint: Believe it or not is the same reason why El Al was only hijacked once and we had two rather large buildings in NY taken out.

As the prices drop on these devices, the data center, be it multi or single tenant, will rival IP based and that is still in process. Until then OnPrem for criticle info and by all means, get something more than a swipe card for your server room. Some F-500 companies I have walked through are a joke and would be 10x more secure at some data centers I know.

That said, it's obvious I do not disagree with you pragmatically, but I must point out the obvious.

It is a matter of stupidity. Simple example is 5 very large companies who deploy either a supplier portal or a web store. They are completely confident their DMZ will never allow anyone near their ERP. A friend who works at one of my old accounts, IEEE, showed me exactly how secure a DMZ for someone with knowledge, without at least a hardware firewall. Very educational and amusing.

Also, the cost of the data centers today which use the same system as Israel, are cost prohibitive and only justified by a massive reduction in IT staff. Very few fit into that small space at this point in time, but prices are dropping as sales increase.

Of course all this is just IMHO.

February 29, 2012 8:03:41 AM

dstrom said:
So for those of you who have made the move to some kind of cloud computing service (such as backup, email, Web apps, or something else) what did you do first: did you move your front end UI or your back end data? How did you make that first step? Which vendors did you evaluate?

We are starting a series of cloud-based articles in the coming weeks at Tom's, btw.

March 27, 2012 12:52:10 PM

maryparker said:
The technical issues are also complex. Most firms that migrate to the cloud do so in a hybrid model, keeping certain key elements of their infrastructure in-house and under their direct control, while outsourcing less sensitive or core components. Integrating internal and external infrastructures can be a technical swamp. Monitor arms


But other firms got the solution and try to fill this gabs with SaaS products like cloud computing for others. And they even pretend to have a better costumer - agent connection after they installed their systems. One example is http://www.effective-contactcenters.com/. For me its sounds often strange that outsiders know better.
June 20, 2012 10:57:21 AM

dstrom said:
So for those of you who have made the move to some kind of cloud computing service (such as backup, email, Web apps, or something else) what did you do first: did you move your front end UI or your back end data? How did you make that first step? Which vendors did you evaluate?

We are starting a series of cloud-based articles in the coming weeks at Tom's, btw.

Before migrating to the cloud, we charted out the vendor’s track record and judged the quality of its service. We got the details of the security measures deployed by the cloud service provider. We ensured that the cloud computing service provider is following the very latest in cloud hosting technology, regulations, and cloud security practices. We migrated to cloud in phases, that is, step by step manner. We secured a way to return if in any case our new venture fails out. To get a fair deal, we clarified all the clauses in the SLA before signing it. When we found the cloud computing service provider up to the mark, only then we migrated our application and data to cloud.

http://www.myrealdata.com/cloud-computing.html
September 14, 2012 6:59:36 AM

Surely you would migrate on a per application basis (ie email, backup, CRM\ERP) versus a UI then data approach. Isn't the whole point of cloud to utilise a larger\faster\better infrastrucuture therefore quicker\better communicaiton between apps and their data and not putting a tiny pipe between the two (ala the internet).

But to answer your question email seems to be the start of the cloud migration process as this is effectively donwloaded from server to desktop (and from internet to server) so performance issues are generally smaller and easier to solve.

It also seems that CRM\ERP are the last things to migrate (at least in larger companies) with the buggest isues being non standard workflows\proceses and perceived\real security.
January 12, 2013 12:10:35 PM

dstrom said:
So for those of you who have made the move to some kind of cloud computing service (such as backup, email, Web apps, or something else) what did you do first: did you move your front end UI or your back end data? How did you make that first step? Which vendors did you evaluate?

We are starting a series of cloud-based articles in the coming weeks at Tom's, btw.


Sorry, But please can you tell more detail about what is cloud computing? I am confuse.
1. Is ending receiving email is cloud computing ?
2. Web Apps cloud computing means? All web apps are cloud computing ?


Thanks in Advance.


absolutetoner.com
January 12, 2013 8:58:54 PM

jeneferlopez7 said:
Sorry, But please can you tell more detail about what is cloud computing? I am confuse.
1. Is ending receiving email is cloud computing ?
2. Web Apps cloud computing means? All web apps are cloud computing ?


Thanks in Advance.


absolutetoner.com

"Cloud computing" is storing or using remote servers for your computing.
March 18, 2013 10:58:02 PM

Everyone is sure that cloud computing is the key to the future of computing, but people often seem unsure quite what it is. Cloud computing is to put more of your material out there and less on PCs or servers that works for a company itself.As a metaphor for the Internet, "the cloud" is a familiar cliché, but when combined with "computing," the meaning is becoming increasingly blurred.
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