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Building Your Cloud Migration Strategy on a Solid Foundation

Level 12

By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO

Abruptly moving from legacy systems to the cloud is akin to building a new house without a foundation. Sure, it might have the greatest and most efficient new appliances and cool fixtures, but it’s not really going to work unless the fundamentals that support the entire structure are in place.

Administrators can avoid this pitfall by building modern networks designed for both the cloud of today and the needs of tomorrow. These networks must be software-defined, intelligent, open and able to accommodate both legacy technologies and more-advanced solutions during the cloud migration strategy period. Simultaneously, their administrators must have complete visibility into network operations and applications, wherever they may be hosted.

Let’s look at some building practices that administrators can use to effectively create a solid, modern and cloud-ready network foundation.

Create a blueprint to monitor network bandwidth on the cloud

Many network challenges will likely come from increased traffic derived from an onslaught of devices on the cloud. The result is that both traditional and non-traditional devices are enabling network traffic that will inevitably impact bandwidth. Backhaul issues can also occur, particularly with traditional network architectures that aren’t equipped to handle the load that more devices and applications can put on the network.

It’s becoming increasingly important for administrators to be able to closely monitor and analyze network traffic patterns. They must have a means to track bandwidth usage down to individual users, applications, and devices so they can more easily pinpoint the root cause of slowdowns before, during, and after deploying a cloud migration strategy.

Construct automated cloud security protocols

Agencies moving from a traditional network infrastructure to the cloud will want to make sure their security protocols evolve as well. Network notification software should automatically detect and report on potentially malicious activity, use of rogue or unauthorized devices, and other factors that can prove increasingly hazardous as agencies commence their cloud migration strategy efforts.

Automation will become vitally important because there are simply too many moving parts to a modern, cloud-ready network for managers to easily and manually control. In addition to the aforementioned monitoring practices, regular software updates should be automatically downloaded to ensure that the latest versions of network tools are installed. And administrators should consider instituting self-healing protocols that allow the network to automatically correct itself in case of a slowdown or breach.

Create an open-concept cloud environment

Lack of visibility can be a huge network management challenge when migrating to the cloud. Agency IT personnel must be able to maintain a holistic view of everything that’s happening on the network, wherever that activity may be taking place. Those taking a hybrid cloud approach will require network monitoring that allows them to see into the dark hallways that exist between on-premises and cloud infrastructures. They must also be able to continuously monitor the performance of those applications, regardless of where they exist.

Much as well-built real estate increases in value over time, creating a cloud-ready, modernized network will offer significant benefits, both now and in the future. Agencies will be able to enjoy better security and greater flexibility through networks that can grow along with demand, and they’ll have a much easier time managing the move to the cloud with an appropriate network infrastructure. In short, they’ll have a solid foundation upon which to build their cloud migration strategies.

Find the full article on Government Computer News.

10 Comments

Recently I attended a Cisco Dog & Pony show that leads one to believe Cisco thinks the cloud is inevitable for every business--and also for most users.

Their SD-WAN solution is predicated on the idea that a distributed business can't afford to waste bandwidth with an MPLS cloud getting remote sites to the corporate Internet.  The sites just need to reach cloud-based resources the company has moved from the data center.

So, every remote site gets their own DIA to be able to access cloud resources without having to route through the corporate Internet.  So now every site needs HA firewalls.


Of course, not ALL resources move to the cloud; some items are too sensitive, or too customized, or sized in ways that make the cloud inappropriate.  AND, VoIP between the remote sites & the home office doesn't work by going first to the cloud.  Sooo, the MPLS cloud still must remain, along with the new DIA and firewalls.  (Ka-CHING!)

Where's the savings for WAN services?  Well, perhaps the MPLS cloud speeds & feeds could be decreased.  But there's no savings when every remote site now needs a DIA.  That means every site now has to have its own HA firewalls, its own HA proxy servers / content filters, more management, more support contracts . . .

The cloud isn't always as simple as Dilbert's point-haired boss believes.  Or as wonderful as Cisco believes we can afford.

MVP
MVP

Good write up

Level 20

I'm not sure I get all this "cloud" stuff... isn't it really nothing new and just another network that you don't own?

MVP
MVP

Exactly !!

Level 14

And... you hope that they are as diligent as you are with respect to security and ownership of issues.

Another network you:

  • Don't own
  • Can't secure
  • Can't work on personally to get it running when it's down
  • Can't prove no one else has logical or physical access to it
  • Will be responsible for monitoring, without budget or tools
  • Will receive Help Desk tickets about, although you can do nothing to correct its issues
  • Will have to spend funds on that you don't have
  • Will not get you any training to design, implement, secure, monitor, or troubleshoot it

I'm sorry.  The general business population is lead around by the nose, listening to propaganda, seeing shiny advertisements, believing it's good because it's new.  Before jumping on that band wagon, show your CIO or IT Director or CFO or COO NetPath's availability to the cloud resources you think you want to start with first.  Then let them draw their own conclusions.

Here's today's NetPath availability to one of Microsoft's cloud sites--officeapps.live.com:

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At least we can prove the problem's not our ISP or the intermediary hops--that it's at Microsoft. 

Thank goodness for NetPath!

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Level 21

From a technical standpoint cloud is certainly just hosting your stuff on another providers equipment; however, it ultimately represents much more than that.  Cloud offers a different cost model based on consumption as well as a lot more flexibility just to name a few.  Cloud certainly represents new challenges when it comes to things like security, monitoring, etc. but that doesn't mean it's all bad.  Cloud is certainly here to stay and all data shows a continued movement to cloud based solutions so like it or not I think it's something we are going to need to accept and learn to work with.

MVP
MVP

It is funny that computing started in the cloud on mainframes.  You couldn't afford one or the people to maintain, but you paid for time (cycles) on someone else's machine to do your work.

Costs came down and then companies could afford their own and didn't have to share a mainframe with others. 

Then we went distributed, client/server model that then became virtualized (mainframes had that first as well) and now we are moving everything out into the cloud...paying for time on someone else's computer.

It is all a big cycle...things are now more complex and the volume of data is orders of magnitude greater than 10 or 20 years ago much less 40+ years ago when you dealt with the punched card and paper tape.

Would love to see a reversed netpath, from customer to our cloud services.

About the Author
After CIS/MIS contracted for DISA in mid 90’s Worked with Toyota for 3 years Worked for GE for 4 years (Here was where I first found SW products) Did a bunch of various network engineering projects Contracted for GE for 4 more years Currently working with General Dynamics Mission Systems   William Eckler IT Business Operations Services .ılılı..ılılı. GENERAL DYNAMICS Mission Systems