Migrating to the cloud: 7 common myths debunked

Cloud migration is a popular subject; however, cloud technologies are surrounded by a number of myths. Some companies that could benefit from moving servers to the cloud neglect this solution because of incorrect ideas about its main principles and functions. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular cloud myths and see if any of them are true.

Myth 1: «In the cloud» is the same thing as «remote»

Some hosting providers use the term «cloud service» for services that are provided remotely. For example, a client orders an «office in the cloud», but gets a remote office deployed on a dedicated server. The implication here is that access over the internet is enough to call something «a cloud solution».

In reality, «in the cloud» and «remote» aren’t synonyms. You get remote access to any solution that you rent from a provider, be it a VPS, a dedicated server or a cloud. The main factor that sets the cloud apart from other infrastructural solutions is the architecture, not the ability to connect to it regardless of your location.

The cloud is built using multiple servers and a technology called virtualization. This gives users the ability to scale the cloud with practically no limits. If the user needs more resources, they can be instantly added in the dashboard. This is impossible when it comes to dedicated servers of VPS, which are also provided remotely.

It is much easier to organize fault tolerance in a cloud than in a server

Myth 2: The cloud is less reliable than a server

Making sure that your server is reliable and fault-tolerant is a difficult task. You will need redundant components to ensure that the hardware runs with no interruptions. Redundancy in a physical server has an upper limit and a critical failure will bring the company’s system to a halt. This issue can be solved by creating a server cluster; however, purchasing and maintaining even one reserve server means twice the expenses.

It’s much easier to make sure that your services run stably in the cloud. The cloud is based on multiple servers that are presented to the user as a unified pool. The functioning of your company’s services does not depend on a particular physical server; any given process uses dynamically distributed computing resources. This way, your systems will stay up even if one or two servers in the cloud happen to fail.

Cloud myths

Besides the reliable architecture of the cloud itself, providers use their own measures to guarantee fault tolerance. One of these measures is component redundancy on the architectural level. For example, SIM-Networks uses 2N+1 redundancy. This means that each element of the cloud has a parallel copy and one more reserve component.

You can also improve the fault tolerance of systems in the cloud by using availability zones. Availability zones are fully independent resource pools within one cloud infrastructure. Each zone uses its own network connections, power supplies, security systems etc. This means that failures in one availability zone won’t affect the systems in the other zone.

Each public cloud user gets access to the cloud’s computing resources, not their neighbour’s data

Myth 3: The cloud isn’t safe

This myth is often brought up in the context of public clouds. The public cloud is a cloud deployment model which distributes resources between multiple users. This leads some to conclude that storing data in such a cloud is a security risk and that other users can get access to their company’s confidential information.

What the term «public» really means is that each user gets access to the cloud’s computing resources, not their neighbour’s data. The data is isolated using a hypervisor – a technology that segments servers into virtual machines, or instances. The architecture of the cloud does not allow cloud users to interact with each other’s data. The provider does not have access to client data either, excluding cases when a client orders the full infrastructure management service.

Reliable providers organize security in the cloud using these measures:

  • encrypted data transfer channels;
  • storage drive encryption;
  • DDoS protection;
  • physical access control in the data center.

In addition to the provider’s systems, clients can use any software they want for data protection.

Note that public clouds are not used for storing confidential data by companies such as medical institutions or banks. These industries have higher standards when it comes to data security. Private clouds are often used in such cases. A private cloud is a fully isolated infrastructure used by one client only. If storing data in the cloud is prohibited regardless of the deployment model, the cloud can be used for non-essential services and applications.

It's more cost-effective for a company to rent a cloud than to maintain on-premises infrastructure

Myth 4: Only big companies use clouds

Clouds are used regardless of the size of the business; it may even be more cost-effective than the alternatives for small companies. The main reasons behind this are the flexible configuration and the relatively low price.

For example, it’s much more affordable for a small business to rent a public cloud than to maintain its own on-premises infrastructure. Local infrastructure can only be scaled by purchasing components or entire servers. The company also has to deal with issues such as setting up the data center, supporting and maintaining the servers etc. It’s likely that this will be too expensive for a business at its early stages of development. Besides, buying and setting up hardware takes time, which doesn’t allow the business to quickly react to new workloads.

Renting a VPS or a dedicated server solves the issue of having to buy equipment, but doesn’t resolve the problem of scaling. If the server’s resources are being used at their maximum capacity, you will have to order a new configuration. It is also important to note that the price of server rental doesn’t change based on your resource usage. If your company doesn’t need all the computing power of a server during a certain period, you will pay the fixed price anyway.

A company that rents a cloud doesn’t need to maintain its own data center, hire IT staff or buy expensive Enterprise-class servers. These tasks are the responsibility of the cloud provider. The cloud can be scaled instantly and the price is adjusted depending on the volume of resources used at a given moment. This way, a business can save time and funds on IT. If you want to learn more about cloud migration benefits for small to medium businesses, get acquainted with this cloud migration case for a company with 40 employees.

The dynamic configuration of the cloud is its main difference from VPS

Myth 5: The cloud is the same thing as VPS

Some providers enable this myth by calling a VPS, a virtual private server, «the cloud». The client is given the impression that they are purchasing a cloud service; in reality, they’re getting a regular virtual machine. VPS and clouds are created using virtualization technology; however, that’s where their similarities end.

A VPS is created on a single physical host server. This means that the computing power of the VPS is limited by the components of its physical base. If you need more computing power and the resources of the physical server are already being used, you will have to buy a new dedicated server and create another VPS with the necessary amount of resources.

The cloud, on the other hand, is based on a server cluster. The configuration can be changed whenever needed because the resources of an instance aren’t limited by the components of one server. Besides, virtual servers have a fixed price, while clouds use the «pay-as-you-go» model. The configuration of the cloud is dynamic; the price changes based on actual resource usage.

Migrating to the cloud is a difficult task, but you don't have to do it yourself

Myth 6: Data migration to the cloud is difficult and expensive

This myth is not entirely unfounded: it’s not easy to organize the cloud migration process on your own. You will have to develop a cloud migration strategy, which includes a full audit of the systems. It is vital to check if your applications are compatible with the cloud platform, evaluate the expected workloads, create a migration plan and, finally, move to the cloud. However, you don’t have to do it yourself.

Migration into the cloud is a process that requires expertise from the specialists that are going to perform it. Even if your IT staff knows how to migrate to the cloud, some cloud migration risks come from a lack of familiarity with the specifics of a certain provider’s platform. This is why the engineers of some providers transfer the client’s services themselves.

In some cases, the cloud migration service of provided for free. For example, we transfer client data to the cloud free of charge because it’s in our best interest that the client’s infrastructure functions well. Experience and a comprehensive understanding of the platform’s specifics are factors that allow our specialists to carry out the migration with no effect on business processes. Besides, a well-planned migration lowers the number tickets to the support team. Most problems are identified and solved before the client receives the infrastructure. If you want to learn more, get acquainted with SIM-Networks’ cloud migration service.

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Myth 7: You need to hire more IT specialists to work in the cloud

It is true that you need specialists with relevant experience for some aspects of working with the cloud, such as cloud migration. However, you don’t need a dedicated IT staff for day-to-day operations, such as scaling the cloud or creating instances.

Cloud control panels are usually intuitive and don’t require any specialized training. If your IT staff has any questions, your provider’s support team will likely consult you or even provide comprehensive training. The questions of architecture, support and maintenance are solely the responsibility of your cloud provider.

If you want to delegate tasks regarding your IT infrastructure, you can order partial and full management services. This way, your IT staff will have more free time to deal with long-term business tasks instead of routine infrastructure maintenance.

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