Overcoming cloud migration complexity

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Systems administrators confronted with the complexity of migrating services to the cloud could learn a lot from the abstraction techniques used in programming, says Nico Coetzee, security specialist at First Rand Bank.

With enterprises increasingly looking to migrate services to the cloud, many are faced with the challenges of migrating systems seamlessly and without disruptions. And while some may have to migrate only one system, others may have to move hundreds, forcing them to tackle each challenge as a new project.

"They should not have to start from scratch each time they move a new service to the cloud," says Coetzee.

"By using abstraction, they can effectively plan their migration and create what amounts to a blueprint for future moves. This makes the process less complex, allows them to repeat the process without reinventing the wheel at a later stage, and can also have the benefit of allowing for staged migration with minimal impact on the production environment."

Coetzee explains that the concept of abstraction has been successfully in use in the software engineering field for many years, especially in object-oriented programming.

"Basically, it allows you to separate implementation details, simplifying and isolating only what is important. The process of migrating to the cloud is a complex one, and a technique like abstraction would simplify it significantly. You'd start with a very high-level view, abstract this part of the process, and when it came to implementing each step, you'd define it."

While the technique is tried and tested in the software engineering sphere, not all systems administrators have backgrounds in programming, Coetzee notes. He believes learning these techniques will assist them as enterprises move to the cloud.

Coetzee says adapting to the use of abstraction in processes can take a significant amount of time initially.

"But once systems administrators have nailed it, they would find future migrations much quicker, because they would not have to reinvent the wheel for each migration," he says.

Coetzee will address the upcoming ITWeb Cloud Computing Summit on the use of abstraction in cloud migration. He will explain the processes and benefits of abstraction, and will give delegates a demonstration. For more information about this event, click here.

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