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The Cloud-Based Future of Data Storage Is Now. Here's How to Get Up to Speed.

August 5, 2020
Nick Amabile

Given the ways technology has revolutionized business operations, organizations no longer wonder whether or not they should undertake a digital transformation.

The more pressing question now is how.

Consider the impact of cloud-based computing. At one time, organizations managed their data according to the physical restrictions of their storage capabilities. As a business grew, so did its need to buy more servers and hire administrators to constantly monitor their condition. And anytime a hard drive broke in a distributed computing model, like a Hadoop cluster, someone had to travel to that location and replace it.

Faced with those demands, companies often only stored part of their data and threw the rest away. Maintaining the complete picture of your business data for potential analysis was simply too expensive to manage.

Thanks to the cloud, companies now store and analyze the full picture of their data while paying only for the amount of storage they use. Customers can also quickly adopt their platform’s new analytics capabilities to generate reports. Plus their cloud providers now handle maintenance and service issues. The cloud offers the increased flexibility of adding more storage if your business experiences higher demand over certain periods, such as the holiday season. When implemented properly, all of these benefits come at a much lower cost than in the days of on-premises physical storage.

The only remaining question is where your business starts with a cloud migration project. With the right data partner, the answers are easier than they may appear.

Avoid ‘Lift and Shift’ in Your Cloud Migration

One of the most common pitfalls companies encounter in a cloud migration is planning for their existing system to be directly translated to the cloud. If your organization is using a Hadoop cluster for data storage, you may think the safest, most efficient migration strategy is to replicate that system in a cloud environment. And while some cloud providers will support this kind of architecture, it ultimately will not deliver the return on investment your business needs.

Though retaining a familiar architecture may feel safer, it also means you’re missing opportunities for further optimization by opting for this a straightforward, “lift and shift” approach from physical storage to the cloud. An effective cloud migration requires starting from scratch with a new approach from the ground up.

The methods for managing on-premises storage may be familiar and therefore save you from retraining your current team. But the limitations of that architecture are no longer a factor in the cloud. Plus, by adhering to its existing model, your organization will miss out on the additional capabilities of cloud storage. By opting for a more transformational approach, your organization can discover all sorts of new possibilities with its data.

Effective Cloud Migration Demands an Evaluation of Your Business Needs

A cloud migration involves more than moving your data from one location to another. It demands a comprehensive shift in how your organization functions.

Map Your Steps to an Effective Cloud Migration

To perform at peak efficiency, your business needs to transition its data storage to a cloud-based platform. This guide outlines the process from your existing architecture to a new home in the cloud.

As a result, the first step toward the cloud involves establishing an effective strategy. In our experience with cloud migrations, DAS42 first assesses the current state of your data storage solution. After evaluating your business objectives, we map your current technologies against the cloud and establish how you can best take advantage of its capabilities.

That evaluation also includes performing a cost analysis while ensuring your cloud usage is optimized. Though cloud storage is a bargain when compared with losing data due to space restrictions or adding staff to maintain its hardware, it can become really expensive if misused. Through a dashboard like Looker, you can monitor your usage of the cloud. By matching the right workloads with services, you can ensure you’re using the storage that suits your needs. That way, your organization maximizes its return on investment.

Cloud Storage Delivers a Clear Competitive Advantage

In a cloud environment, your organization’s data management capabilities extend beyond acquiring more storage space for less money. Your analytics team now benefits from the ability to draw from a complete and centralized dataset that will never run out of room. Even if you can’t yet anticipate a use case for all of your raw data, this kind of information is a vital asset for your business. Should the need arise, cloud storage allows you to access the complete history of your business.

Plus, with the power of a data warehouse like Snowflake, you can query and generate reports from your raw data directly instead of drawing from previously generated aggregate tables. By eliminating that extra step, your data becomes less complex, which further reduces the costs of its maintenance.

Cloud platforms also frequently release new analytics capabilities to enhance their platforms. While implementing new software in an on-premises environment may require new servers to accommodate such a shift, cloud computing clients can adopt these new capabilities quickly and audit their effectiveness. Once your data migrates to the cloud, you can easily add machine learning capabilities and generate more value for your business.

This is the kind of agility and scalability we look to introduce for your business when migrating companies to cloud storage.

Stretch Your Capabilities to Cloud Level with the Right Data Partner

Like any technical project, a cloud migration involves taking a holistic view of your business and how it functions. From determining the architecture to suit your needs to ensuring your investment remains cost effective, the right partner can maximize the value in this kind of transformative change.

But within those changes are also considerations to be applied to your organization itself. Even if only undertaking a partial data migration, you still have to build your organization’s cloud competency through creating best practices, playbooks, and an effective architecture that suits your needs.

This migration poses more than a technical technical challenge. But through effective planning and change management, you can expand your team’s abilities to the level of your data. Contact DAS42 to find out how.

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