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Smoothing over a cloud provider breakup for a critical application

'It's not you, it's me' doesn't apply to breakups with cloud providers. Regulations and better opportunities can cause the split, but knowing how to ensure the well-being of mission-critical workloads in a migration is key.

Even when a mission-critical workload is successfully migrated to a well-suited public cloud provider, there is no guarantee the relationship between you and a cloud provider will be permanent. A cloud service is really a type of business partnership that must be examined and evaluated on a regular basis -- and terminated if and when the need arises. But what will happen to that critical application in the event of a breakup with your cloud provider?

There are many potential scenarios that might motivate a business to return a mission-critical application on-premises or migrate it to another provider. For example, a service may discontinue operations, or a merger or acquisition might change the cloud provider's management team or business goals, causing an undesirable shift in service offerings or support. The competitive nature of cloud services might drive unfavorable service or pricing changes, or new compliance requirements or changing legislation may cause issues. And sometimes you might simply discover a better business opportunity with another cloud provider.

A company that relies on a mission-critical application cannot afford to be affected by cloud provider disruptions.

Regardless of the actual cause, a business must be able to migrate a mission-critical workload on demand. The workload may come back in-house -- or it may be handed off to another suitable cloud provider -- but it's important to have the expertise needed to handle any such migration. In-house IT staff should make the effort to document these procedures and practice them on a regular basis to ensure preparedness. In addition, IT staff should know how to access and restore data backups located in cloud providers' data centers.

A company that relies on mission-critical applications can't afford to be affected by cloud provider disruptions. If a critical workload cannot easily be restored in-house or migrated to another provider on-demand, it may be best to keep the workload in-house to begin with and avoid potential disruptions.

About the author:

Stephen J. Bigelow is the senior technology editor of the Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. He can be reached at

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