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Saturday, May 25th, 2019


Why it pays to travel light on the cloud journey

Most organizations recognize the benefits of moving to cloud-managed services like Office 365 and Amazon Web Services. A 451 Research study found that 72% of respondents expect to put more than half of their workloads, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), in the cloud by 2017, up from 58% currently.

But to realize the benefits of cloud computing, organizations must first overcome migration challenges, particularly those created by overwhelming volumes of data. The cloud migration checklist should include managing legacy PST files, ensuring optimal traffic for cloud services, and providing a layered approach to information security and management.

To remove unnecessary workloads pre-migration, during migration and post-migration, organizations should consider security and storage solutions that:

1. Reduce operational and management overheads

The massive volumes of email data, both in Exchange servers and PST files, that organizations typically accumulate create logistical challenges of migration that have a significant bearing on upload and storage costs.

In particular, PST files – container files for as many as thousands of emails and attachments, as well as contacts, calendar items, task lists – present enormous data backup, recovery, corruption and discovery challenges.

Some organizations have turned to file and message archiving, eDiscovery, and PST management solutions to eliminate the use of PST files by locating and migrating data contained in PST files to their chosen cloud service.

Yet, it makes sense to migrate only the data that is actually needed. Here, organizations need to develop a data retention and deletion strategy and leverage policy-based migration tools to automatically identify and delete redundant or duplicate data, and only migrate required information. This approach mitigates the risks associated with storing large amounts of unmanaged files and emails.

For example, reducing email storage helps to simplify archiving into the cloud and searching across appliances and cloud-based data.

A cloud-connected message archiver can extend archives into the cloud for offsite, long-term, and cost-effective storage. Policies determine data to replicate to the cloud for disaster recovery or as a secondary tier of storage, with data deduplication for reduced overheads.

2. Optimize bandwidth and network utilization

Another challenge is the internet connection’s lack of bandwidth to upload or migrate significant numbers of files, large volumes of historical email and other such data from an organization’s own data center to the service provider’s data center.

One way to overcome this challenge is to move PST file data on a message-by-message basis, instead of a whole file in one go, to the cloud. This makes best use of network capacity.

A parallel processing approach, rather than routing all data via a central server, in moving data from the on-premise source to the cloud also helps to prevent any potential network bottleneck. 

To scale cloud deployments, high-performance load balancing and application delivery boost availability and speed for workloads running on the cloud or across hybrid environments.

For example, such solutions may offload compute-intensive SSL transactions, and offer optimization features such as caching, compression and TCP pooling.

3. Mitigate data security risks

Cloud computing and mobility have exposed organizations to a radically larger attack surface. Indeed, web application attacks account for the highest number of breaches for any specific threat, according to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Report.

Clearly, organizations need to secure multiple threat vectors, including email, web applications, remote access, web browsing, mobile internet and network perimeters. For administrators, streamlined configuration, management and monitoring can reduce the operational burden on IT.

Security solutions like firewalls that span private and public cloud deployments can be deployed as physical appliances, virtual appliances or SaaS, or through public clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Simplified application authentication and access by integrating a web application firewall (WAF) with Azure Active Directory, for instance, enables organizations to move on-premises applications to the cloud without significant application re-writing.

blinkbox’s migration

To securely move its applications to the cloud, Tesco-owned movie and TV streaming service blinkbox sought an enterprise-sized data center that offered high-security, flexibility and high-speed bandwidth.

Application availability and security are critical to maintain customer confidence in its constantly growing catalogue of more than 20,000 movies and TV episodes.

“At blinkbox, the application is our business,” says Sarju Mashru, principal IT operations engineer lead at blinkbox. “It absolutely has to be available, secure, and provide a seamless user experience.” The service provider achieved this with Microsoft Azure’s cloud supported by the Barracuda Web Application Firewall.

“Additional layers of security from the Barracuda Web Application Firewall ensure that we can operate as securely as possible,” adds Mashru.

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Barracuda Networks.