Immature migration tools stall long road to the Cloud

Analyst warns moving apps to an external provider isn't for the faint-hearted

Virtualisation to Cloud (V2C) migration tools are not enterprise-ready making it a time consuming process that is prone to failure, according to Gartner analyst, Kyle Hilgendorf.

In a research note on moving applications from data centres to external hardware Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers, he warns that migration is not for the faint hearted.

Physical to virtual (P2V) tools abound but Mr Hilgendorf said V2C tools lack maturity causing organizations to stumble through a painful learning process.

Migration challenges include virtual machine (VM) conversion, lengthy migration times, and hardware compatibility, which hamper enterprise efforts.

There are two options - virtual to Cloud (V2C) or traditional redeployment.

V2C is only feasible for limited use cases and complicated by several constraints, including hypervisor type, virtual machine (VM) size, guest OS, and provider infrastructure.

"These constraints dramatically increase the time and effort required to migrate a VM and unnecessarily complicate troubleshooting," Mr Hilgendorf warned.

"For now, IT organisations should wait until late 2012 to conduct V2C migrations and instead focus on redeployment when moving applications to the Cloud."

As Cloud computing usage continues to rise, a majority of applications installed in the cloud are re-installations of existing applications or new installations of "greenfield" applications.

Even re-installation methods have issues such as license doubling, reconfiguration, and manual setup.

Hilgendorf said existing V2C migration tools are nascent and do not provide much visibility, insight, or assistance to IT organisations.

"Hybrid Cloud software and migration tools are emerging, but they are point-to-point, often unidirectional, limited in their use case, and expensive due to lofty license fees associated with them," he said.

The data centre manager of a financial services firm, who requested anonymity, said the purpose of these tools is to automate and simplify the migration process.

"However, migration is still a manual process which includes deploying fresh Cloud templates, reinstalling applications and moving data,” he said.

"Organisations need to decide if they are going to move data or virtual machines (VMs).”

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