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Google Cloud Migration

GCP Migration with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

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The shift to the cloud continues, and for those companies transitioning to a public cloud provider, migration is the first hurdle along the way. What should you look out for if you’re planning a Google Cloud migration?

The cloud platforms and services make it easier to take advantage of tools that can perform the engineering heavy lifting involved in both complex and simple migration. However, before planning a GCP migration, it is highly recommended to explore the basic building blocks at your disposal when it comes to storage and computing.

In this post we go one step further and will introduce you to different strategies, services and tools that you can use to perform a successful migration to Cloud Volumes ONTAP on Google Cloud.

A Google Cloud Introduction to a Successful Migration

Regardless if you are migrating between cloud vendors, within the same provider or even from on premises to the cloud, system migrations are always challenging. Going from the current status quo to a new and more modern architecture without the proper tooling and skills can be very challenging. Luckily, there are different proven strategies that can guide your journey in migrating systems within (or to) Google Cloud.

Before you start planning a migration, it is important to do a self-assessment on the maturity of your organization regarding cloud technologies using the Google Cloud Adoption Framework. When planning, there are three core migration strategies worth considering: Rehost, Refactor and Replatform.

With the rehost cloud migration strategy, also known as lift and shift, the goal is to move applications as-is with zero or minimal changes. This is often the quickest way to migrate and offers a minimal risk since it does not disrupt the current applications or processes. However, it doesn’t allow you to take full advantage of the cloud managed services. This is the ideal scenario for moving from an ONTAP-based system to Cloud Volumes ONTAP built on Google Cloud resources.

In a refactor, also known as improve and move, small modifications are made to the architecture to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities. This strategy is a good way to explore and gain new cloud skills but may be more time consuming and costly.

Lastly, the replatform cloud migration strategy, also known as rip and replace, involves a complete redesign to use the cloud. Both refactoring and replatforming will take more time and have more significant costs than rehosting in the cloud.

What Google Cloud Tools Can Help a Migration?

Depending on the use case and technical requirements, there are different tools that can help with storage migration. The most popular Google Cloud tools at your disposal are:

  • Migrate for Compute Engine is a service that migrates physical and virtual machines to Google Cloud. The service supports migration from both on-premises systems and other cloud providers. Current workloads remain fully operational while the data is being copied in the background.
  • Storage Transfer Service enables you to bring data to Google Cloud Storage from multiple online locations.
  • Transfer Appliance is a hardware appliance used in GCP migrations that needs to move extremely large volumes of data (up to 1 petabyte).

The Role of Storage in a Migration

No matter what migration strategy you opt for, the role of storage is so crucial that it often restricts and dictates how the migration can be performed. In any migration, the key business requirements are to make the transition securely, with minimal disruption or changes to ongoing operations and processes, over the shortest possible period, and at the lowest possible cost.

From all the complex moving parts involved, data availability during a Google data migration is often the technical concern that requires most reflection. What would be the cost of the data becoming unavailable to users and systems during the migration?

Understanding the Storage Migration Challenges

Migrating storage is always a crucial part of the cloud journey, and often the riskiest. It requires complex engineering efforts to ensure there are no issues that can disrupt the production environment, syncing during the migration, changes in formatting and access methods, security and access permissions, or increase transfer costs. Choosing the right combination of tools and strategy that brings minimal or no changes to the established processes in your organization can make a huge difference.

The key challenge is that, while the migration is taking place, data storage needs to be made easily and securely available to both the original and new systems. Thus, carrying out the migration over the shortest possible period is extremely important. This is because the changes made to the source data need to be synchronized without compromising overall data integrity. In addition, after the migration takes place, it is crucial to validate the outcome and if necessary, quickly and safely revert to prevent any impact to business operations and diminish the production environment disruption.

Planning a migration to take into account the simpler, faster, and safest path can help to mitigate such challenges, but while making data storage available to a new system might sound like an easy task at first, it comes with technical questions that need to be answered and addressed beforehand. Any changes in data formats, access methods, security and access permissions need to be very carefully considered and planned. From a business perspective, it is equally important to take into account the data transfer pricing since this often-overlooked factor can substantially impact the overall cost of the migration.

What is NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud?

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is an innovative data management solution that can help you to enhance the built-in Google Cloud storage services. As an enterprise-grade cloud storage platform, Cloud Volumes ONTAP includes great out-of-the-box capabilities such as data protection, extreme storage performance, cloning, tiering, storage hybridity and much more.

Migration to Google Cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Cloud Volumes ONTAP brings all of the operability of your current data management system to the cloud and adds much more. As an existing NetApp ONTAP user, SnapMirror® data replication makes migrations using the lift and shift strategy seamless and cost effective whether it’s between your existing on-prem deployment and Google Cloud, or between multiple clouds. For non-ONTAP environments, the Cloud Sync service can be used to quickly and securely move your data to Google Cloud from any existing repository. In both cases, this translates into faster transfers and reduced costs.

Benefits of Using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Cloud and Data Migration

When using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for data storage and management, organizations can shift the focus from the underlying infrastructure and platforms to innovation and delivering business value. When used with on-premise systems, it helps to shift the costs from CAPEX to smaller chunks of OPEX with its on-demand usage pattern and pay-as-you-go model.

This brings a tremendous amount of flexibility when planning a migration and in certain cases it can be a great alternative to replace end-of-life hardware and software without the need to endure a complex migration.

The key benefit of using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for cloud and data migration is the ability to provide a hassle-free experience by extending environments across cloud providers and helping you move workloads seamlessly using your preferred tools and processes.

Get More Out of Your GCP Migration

No matter what cloud migration strategy and Google Cloud tools you decide to use in a migration, the most critical step to take is to properly plan and evaluate the tradeoffs of the different options before starting. Consider the migration challenges related to data storage and availability and make sure you choose a path that has minimal disruption to your business while taking into account all the costs involved.

If you are interested in exploring a Google Cloud storage solution with hybrid capabilities, try Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the data management platform from NetApp for Google Cloud. In addition to the data hybridity, you gain out of the box advanced management features such as space and cost efficient snapshots, Google Cloud backup data protection for deployments and technologies that can reduce the storage costs.

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Bruno Almeida, Technology Advisor

Technology Advisor