Many organizations still have on-premises implementations of their most business-critical applications. They haven’t been able to take advantage of the increased operational flexibility that moving to the cloud offers for data storage. The reasons behind the trend to put more core infrastructure in the cloud are clear. The challenge is migrating to the cloud simply and quickly to avoid downtime and continue operations as a company would when using an on-premises environment.

The new Cirrus Migrate Cloud solution offers organizations an entirely new approach to cloud migration, with capabilities that enable their data migration from on-premises installations to the cloud without complication.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how the application Data Store migrates easily to any public cloud with the help of Cirrus Migrate Cloud. Organizations harnessing this new solution can migrate their data to any cloud, with data reduction and in-flight encryption throughout the migration process. Organizations simplify and accelerate their cloud migration while reducing the total storage cost without sacrificing security.

Let’s assume for this discussion that before the cloud migration, the business application is running in an on-premises Linux server. We won’t get into the details on the migration of the Linux OS or business application. It is worth noting that the methodology described here can be used for any Linux OS — physical or virtual. Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it for reference in the future.

The first step is setting up the destination VMs in the cloud — Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. Suppose the organization uses the respective clouds marketplace VMs instead of converting their on-premises host(s). In that case, the professional services team can work with their end-user customer to get this done using cloud planning tools and automation. The first step is relatively straightforward and doesn’t harness the magic of Cirrus Migrate Cloud. You will engage Cirrus Migrate Cloud to run a curl command (or PowerShell line) to register these hosts with our Cirrus Data Cloud Portal, but that’s it. If you need to convert the OS, the professional services team can work with the end-user to migrate just the OS disk, and Cirrus Migrate Cloud is used to migrate the data storage disks.

The migration requires that a single line command run on the already configured source and destination hosts/VMs. It is a curl command for Linux or PowerShell script for Windows. Next, register each host (which can be 100s) at the source and the host at the destined public cloud.

When all the hosts/VMs at source and destination are configured and running, the final step is to set up a host-to-host connection. The Cirrus Migrate Cloud portal connects the source host with the destination host, opening a single TCP/IP port on either side. The open ports allow Cirrus Migrate Cloud TCP/IP transports to communicate securely, with compression and encryption. The encryption eliminates the need to set up a VPN between the two sites. It is typically easier to open a port at the destination (public cloud) vs. on-premises. There are generally stricter security requirements by defining an inbound cloud rule that accepts a specific port from the source datacenter’s IP address. This type of configuration greatly simplifies migration planning and eliminates VPN setup, permissions, and other security concerns.

We can now create migration jobs for each pair of hosts — the on-premises connect to a cloud VM. Each host-to-host pair is defined with Intelligent Quality of Service (iQoS) to detail acceptable throttling to the production host operations. The Cirrus Data unique iQoS will always maximize the bandwidth usage, from on-premises to the public cloud, while adhering to the prioritizations set during configuration. You determine what should have bandwidth priority during the migration, keeping the production host’s impact at a configurable preset level. The choices for throttling are Minimum, Moderate, Aggressive, or Relentless – corresponding to the different percent of usage of the storage/network bandwidth – and are guaranteed throughout the migration. When the host is not using the storage resources, i.e., disks, Cirrus Migrate Cloud will allow aggressive migration to ensure there isn’t a missed opportunity to utilize available storage network bandwidth. This approach is drastically more effective than compared with the simple throttling standard in other migration tools. The goal is to achieve maximum utilization of the available bandwidth/resources without disrupting operations.

Once the correctly configured migration begins, no manual interactions are required until the first synchronization is complete. Depending on the migration data set size, the team is now free from traditional tedious tasks for hours or days. During this time, the data storage is read at the block level, and there is no need to map out the files of the data set or file systems on top of the block devices. The physical volumes extend to logical volumes/volume groups, etc. The migrated data is seamlessly compressed and encrypted before being transmitted over the network using the Cirrus Data TCP/IP optimized protocol. Cirrus Data’s block-level copy process is also thinly-provisioned disk friendly, further reducing the amount of data transmitted through the network by up to 50%, depending on the data structure on disk.

Upon completing the first synchronization, the migration process will periodically synchronize the “dirty blocks” to the destination at pre-configured intervals. The synchronization can occur as frequently as every five minutes, minimizing the changed data delta for the migration. Additionally, every time the periodic synchronization is finished, Cirrus Migrate Cloud can automatically take a snapshot using the native snapshot feature available from each public cloud.

By cloning these snapshots, you can test your applications – before cutover – on the cloned migrated volumes to ensure the applications are set up correctly with the actual production data migrated to the cloud. If your disks do not have snapshot capabilities, you can still utilize Cirrus Migrate Cloud post-migration. While the applications are running in the cloud, you can perform periodic synchronization with a cheaper lower-tier disk, enabling snapshots.

One of the new patent-pending elements of Cirrus Migrate Cloud is cMotion™. Your cloud migration experience will never be the same once you engage with cMotion. It enables you to redirect the source storage access to the destination transparently to the applications. The host/application does not know that this is happening. This feature aims to achieve a ZERO delta for the final host switching to the destination cloud. The process eliminates the unpredictable amount of “final synchronization” time performed after shutting down the hosts accessing the storage at the source. With Cirrus Migrate Cloud cMotion™, there is a ZERO delta, and no final synchronization is required. After shutting down the application running at the source host, the destination host can immediately and safely mount the migrated data, resulting in near-zero (down to seconds) transition time. The professional services team can then work with the end-user to pre-test the destination hosts/VMs with a snapshot of the migrated data to ensure that each VM at the destination cloud is configured correctly and compatible with the migrated data. Another time-saving element of Cirrus Migrate Cloud is that you can do this process ahead of time and before the cutover date. Now you can validate the correctness of the migration process before the final cutover and make any necessary corrections.

The most gratifying part of the migration is the final cutover. Thankfully, this is seamless with cMotion™ because there is no final synchronization needed. You can simply shut down the source host/VM on-premises and bring up the destination cloud VM. What traditionally took months can now be done in record time with limited manual engagement and without sacrificing security. Since introducing the Cirrus Migrate Cloud, industry analyst firm the Evaluator Group has tested the solution. Want to see what they thought about the new Cirrus Migrate Cloud? Read it for yourself here.