Cloud Migration for VMware Workloads

ByMarch 12, 2018
cloud migration birdsCloud. You can’t go a day without hearing about it. Cloud first. Born in the Cloud. Native Cloud. It’s everywhere. And that’s great! Cloud offers levels of  scalability, agility and affordability never before dreamed of for an IT team. But saying ‘cloud first’ is just the first step. It’s easy to deliver new IT projects by starting in the cloud. But, you begin to look around your datacenter and see all of the infrastructure that currently keeps your organization running. You see the cost of maintaining a datacenter, both in facilities and man power. You see the aging hardware, the renewal costs, and the day to day tasks that keep your team mired in “keeping the lights on” when you know you could be delivering more strategic value back to your business. Cloud makes sense but how do you even begin to get what you have … here … there?

The reality is that cloud migration is a lot more difficult to execute than new cloud native projects. You have years of applications, configurations and dependencies that have been created – it’s not just deploy new stuff and go from there. A myriad of questions must be answered before you even begin.

What VMware virtual machines do you move to the cloud?
Years of easy to provision virtual machines has caused datacenters to experience VM bloat. When you think about migrating everything you have to the cloud, do you really need to bring that test application server you deployed 9 months ago for a product you decided not to buy? This is the time to cut the fat and really prioritize what systems are vital to your organization, and which ones can finally be put to rest.

What Cloud is best for VMware Users?
When you start researching cloud options, it becomes overwhelming and that hardware renewal fee starts to look more tempting. Hyperscale, global service providers, managed hosting, the options are endless so it’s really about what you need. There are clouds that hand you the keys to vCenter and you manage it like you manage your own except you don’t worry about cables and hard drives. There are clouds that completely manage the entire environment for you. And everything in between. Understand the goals of why you are going to the cloud, and align that with your choice of  cloud. Make sure you understand the pros and cons and delve into the hidden costs that may not be apparent on paper. Things like new technologies requiring all new processes and training or VM platform compatibility and conversion issues. We have a great article on choosing a cloud your CIO will love that breaks down various pieces of a cloud and how you know what is right for you here.

How will you migrate VMs to the cloud?
Ok, you chose your cloud and you know what is going and what is staying. Next up, how the heck do you get it there? There are multiple techniques from exporting and importing virtual machines to sending a hard drive with your data. There are pros and cons for all the various solutions and we discuss them more here.

However, the solution that we see working more and more is using disaster recovery solutions, particularly Zerto, as a migration tool. If you think about it, when you are running a disaster recovery scenario, you are basically running your production infrastructure in the cloud for a limited time. Well, why a limited time? Let’s just keep it there! The great thing about Zerto replication is that you can set your recovery points to be 15 minutes down to 15 seconds. That way, when it’s time to migrate or fail over, your impact is minimal. Take a small maintenance window, gracefully shut down the VMs, sync the last changes, failover and bring up and done! This isn’t a week long outage project, heck you can do it from your living room with a laptop! And best of all, these solutions allow you to test the failover before you pull the trigger all without impacting your production environment. This lets you validate all the machines and dependencies are all taken care of for when you eventually migrate. Migrate one at a time, or entire business units at once with confidence.

Leveraging VMware in the Cloud
The power of VMware virtualization and encapsulation allows you to copy and move these virtual machines and they will run where you put them. There is a huge benefit to leveraging a VMware platform as your cloud solution because, not only will your virtual machines just work, you can continue to leverage the vast amount of knowledge and skillsets you have acquired over the years. There are various ways to move a VM from one VMware environment to another from backup software, built in VMware solutions, and dedicated DR solutions. One such solution is Zerto and iland. Join us in the next few blog posts as Daniel Stasinski, one of our Cloud Deployment Engineers, shows you how to leverage the power of Zerto to migrate your workloads to the cloud with the least impact.
Will Urban

Will Urban

With more than 16 years in enterprise servers, storage, virtualization and DR, Will loves to share his enthusiasm about cool new technology with customers and partners. Trade show junkie, customer advocate, and tech enthusiast, Will has been a speaker at various trade shows and user conferences over the years and is the Director of Technical Marketing at iland. He is a husband and proud father of two and is an avid football fan and gaming enthusiast in his spare time.