In the early days of the cloud, many of the articles about it focused on cost savings. Today, the emphasis is more on cost optimization. The savings potential is still there, but optimizing the use of cloud resources ─ and the processes that get you to the cloud in the first place ─ can make a significant difference in terms of efficiencies and the costs associated with them.
One important process to pay attention to is the cloud migration itself, particularly the part that involves moving the data. Simply reducing the volume of data to be moved can significantly lower overall cloud migration costs, as well as the complexities association with migrations.
Cloud migration isn’t cheap, much less free. There will likely be expenses related to preparing data and applications to migrate, such as rewriting codeor encrypting sensitive data. The technologies and tools used often come with a price tag.
Cloud providers may charge fees for transferring data whether it’s done physically or virtually. There are expenses associated with architecting the target cloud environment, including the data storage. There are numerous labor costs, including those for ensuring your company’s data is properly synchronized once you deploy to the cloud from legacy systems.
In general, the bulk of the costs for a cloud migration will be determined by the volume of data and the number of servers, along with testing and labor costs. However, it’s not just the actual cost of the migration that is the concern.
Inefficiencies, unexpected costs, and delays are causing the average company to spend 14% more for migration than planned each year. Meanwhile, 38% of companies have seen their migrations delayed by more than one quarter. According to McKinsey, approximately $100 billion of wasted migration spend is expected over the next three years.
Industry expects and analysts often point to “poor planning” or “lack of strategy” as the reasons cloud migrations fail or result in delays and higher-than-expected costs. They talk about migration methods. They talk about the “R’s” of cloud migration, such as rehosting, replatforming, refactoring and so on. One important facet about planning and strategy that they oftenneglect to specify is the data.
Given that the amount of data being moved plays a major role in migration costs, it makes sense that data reduction could significantly lower those costs. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
Many companies don’t know what data they have, much less what value it holds. It doesn’t help that most of the data is unstructured. Rather than investing the time and resources to determine if the data is valuable in the first place, it’s easier and less time consuming for companies to just migrate everything. That’s particularly if they’re using the traditional “lift and shift” migration process because everything can usually be moved “as is.” The problem: not all data needs to be moved.
By taking the time to know what data they have and its value, you can save time ─ and expenses ─ elsewhere in the migration process.
The first step is to locate all your data, including any unstructured data. The Aparavi Platform offers a quick scan feature that enables MSPs (if they’re doing this on behalf of their customers) or the customers themselves to locate their data wherever it exists across their organizations – unstructured data included.
The results of the scan provide preliminary information about the data, such as creation date and last access date, can be useful in determining what data should be moved and where, and what should be deleted. For example, seldomly access data should be archived or deleted.
The quick scan also identifies data owners. This enables you to consult with your systems and database administrators, application developers, line-of-business leaders and other data owners to get their input on what data sources need to migrate and any requirements or concerns around that data. Key questions to ask include:
• Does the entire database or only a portion of the database need to migrate?
• Is any of the data subject to compliance requirements for data privacy, security or retention?
• Are there any data archives that are no longer required?
• Is the data “clean”?
• Who has access to it, who should have access to it and are there limits as to what they can do with the data they’re able to access?
In most cases, you’ll need to conduct a more detailed scan or specific data searches to get the granular information necessary for determining the appropriate actions to take with your data. With the Aparavi Platform, you can do this by taking advantage of its indexing, classification, search, and data actions features.
You can search and identify unnecessary content based on relevant content (keywords), lack of relevant content (spam), exact copies (duplicates),versions (near duplicates), file type (temp files) and file size (0-byte files). This is critical for identifying redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data. Eliminating ROT data, alone, can reduce the amount of data by up to 40%. For example, you can search specifically for duplicate files and then use the Platform’s data actions feature to delete these files individually or in bulk.
Less data translates into less labor costs for any migration process involving the data ─ a particularly important consideration for organizations payingthird-party companies. It also means less transfer fees, less data to secure, less data to get out of sync, less data to backup, less storage needs in the target cloud environment, and less data migration complexity overall. Less data also means shorter migration times – and time is money.
In addition, the Platform offers 140 pre-defined classifications, as well as the ability to create custom classifications. This can also help identify ROT data, as well as uncover sensitive data that may require special handling to ensure data security and/or meet various compliance requirements. This has the potential to lower migration costs as well, since it will help you avoid compliance violations and lower the risk of cyberattacks. (Cybercriminals know that unstructured data often contains the kind of sensitive data they want to steal or hijack.)
As touched upon earlier, the Aparavi Platform can help reduce migration costs is in terms of storage requirements in the cloud. Many companies tend to overprovision hardware in their data centers to cope with peak loads, so it’s common to do the same in the cloud.
It’s easier to get the storage space needs more accurate if you know how much data you’re moving. The Platform delivers that information. And if there’s less data to move, it makes sense that storage requirements will be reduced.
The Aparavi’s contribution to storage cost reduction isn’t limited to storage space, however. The Platform offers features that can help identify what kind of storage is best suited to specific data types – and can automate the movement of that data to where it should go.
To see how the specific storage type you choose – and how much it can accommodate, can affect costs, take advantage of one of the online calculators available. Here are some to consider:
Amazon Web Services Pricing Calculator
Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator
Microsoft Azure Pricing Calculator
If a move to the cloud is in your future (or in your customer’s future if you’re an MSP), make sure to account for the data that will be migrated. Less data to move can mean more benefits – in terms of lower risks, cost and more. To get the details, contact Aparavi.