Enterprises wishing to put their eggs into more than just one basket (the Cloud) can appreciate the power of seamless data mobility.

Our region is in flux. With pandemic pressures behind them, businesses now debate whether workforces still need to return to the office; policies have changed; and IT requirements are becoming less clear.

Careful data management was key during the pandemic, but now data mobility is the crucial piece to ensure businesses can respond swiftly today. In this environment, businesses have a myriad of options to consider: repatriating their data from the public cloud; re-evaluating cloud strategies; or considering alternative data storage providers. 

By carefully evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of both cloud and ground control, the significance of data mobility becomes evident. It goes beyond facilitating smoother migrations: it has the potential to transform the business.

Optimize the Cloud or migrate to ground?

For enterprises with a remote workforce or a decentralized structure, leveraging the public cloud is advantageous. If businesses have already transitioned away from physical infrastructure during the pandemic, the prospect of repurchasing and maintaining it again may not be worth the investment. In such cases, they still seek to optimize costs but prefer to do so within a cloud environment.

In this case, optimization can be achieved through re-architecting their systems into more cloud-native solutions such as Platform-as-a-Service, or a managed database service. These solutions alleviate concerns about managing underlying hardware, operating systems, and patches, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations.

Data mobility in hybrid cloud
Beni Sia, APJ Leader, Veeam

However, there are certain pitfalls that companies should take note of, including the risks of cloud “lock-in” and “lock-out”:

    • Cloud lock-in occurs when integration with proprietary services and Application Programming Interfaces become challenging to replicate. Relying on vendor-specific skills and knowledge can limit a team’s ability to work with alternative cloud providers.
    • Another consideration is the concept of “data gravity”, where a firm heavily relies on a single cloud platform, making it potentially arduous to migrate workloads in bulk.
    • Additionally, IT teams may inadvertently lock themselves out of other environments and clouds by building architectures that are incompatible or non-translatable elsewhere. While it may be possible to remove a workload from its current cloud, it may not seamlessly fit into any other environment or platform.

Despite the benefits of cloud, some organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of migrating applications back on-premises as their employees’ transition back to working from the office. The escalating costs associated with cloud services may no longer appear justified, particularly when there are idle physical servers readily available. In such instances, it becomes a logical choice for these organizations to repatriate their workloads and data back on-site to existing hardware investments. These organizations may require greater control and security over their data, or have their own security measures, encryption protocols, and data management practices and policies to implement.

On-premises solutions can cater to customized hardware configurations and network setups that optimize performance, scalability, and minimize latency. This level of customization enables organizations to tailor their infrastructure to meet their specific needs and ensure optimal operation. 

Finding the right balance in data mobility 

When it comes to choosing the best data storage configuration, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Organizations that adopt hybrid or multi-cloud strategies have the flexibility to choose the most suitable environment for each workload on a case-by-case basis. However, this is not necessarily an easy task. Many businesses have faced significant challenges when migrating to the cloud for the first time, even with a basic “lift and shift” approach.

Finding the right balance between on-premises and cloud environments is therefore crucial, and that is where data mobility plays a vital role. It ensures that organizations have the option to move their workloads when necessary. Think about it this way: While you may not move houses frequently, it can be beneficial to have the ability to quickly move furniture out of the house if you would like to make renovations or upgrades.

Additionally, data mobility can allow enterprises to :

    • replicate and host workloads and applications that enable teams to set up separate environments for activities like testing and analytics without impacting day-to-day operations.
    • leverage and unlock the value of their vast amounts of data more effectively. By embracing data mobility, organizations can enhance their operational agility, optimize resource utilization, and extract valuable insights from their data assets.

Making data mobility cyber resilient

As organizations reassess and realign their cloud strategies, ensuring safe and seamless data movement and recovery between environments is crucial to avoid any potential loss or temporary unavailability of critical workloads.

Cyber incidents can range from small-scale issues like a deleted virtual machine files to large-scale catastrophes such as site-wide failures, natural disasters, or ransomware attacks. The key question here is: “Where will we recover data to?”

In the Asia Pacific region, some studies show that the two commonest approaches are to recover to cloud-hosted infrastructure (disaster-recovery-as-a-service; or to recover to servers within a data center — including overlapping solutions that straddle both approaches.

To ensure data is not re-infected during recovery, thorough scanning at every step of the process is imperative. Organizations that adopt a combined approach of data verification and staged recovery can significantly reduce the risk of data compromise during the recovery stage. One popular stopgap measure is to first restore to an isolated test area (a sandbox). By having a prepared, seamless, and efficient plan for data movement to minimize downtime, enterprises will be prepared for any eventuality, ready to protect customers as well as their own brand reputation and resilience.