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This is a guest post from iland, a member of the vCloud Air Network.

Running out of data center space?  Are short-term projects popping up more frequently? Just need more agility than physical hardware can provide?  There’s a slew of reasons to move to the cloud, but, many times, teams can become overwhelmed by or stuck in the migration process.

There’s good news. Cloud migration does not have to be as daunting as it once was.  Others have paved a path of best practices to ease the process, establishing systematic approaches to making the move.

The reality of transitioning to any new environment is that surprises should be expected. Naturally then, one of the most beneficial lessons learned by cloud trailblazers: minimize variables. The more you are able to match your cloud environment to your on-premise environment, the better. That’s not to say you should be stuck with your existing hypervisor though.  It’s important to remember you have options. Here’s what I mean…

The first, fairly straightforward option is to choose a platform provider that matches your on-premise environment. For teams accustomed to VMware, a VMware-based cloud environment can significantly simplify the transition for a number of reasons.

Let’s start with initial migration and templates. Anyone who uses an on-premise VMware-based virtual environment also has access to use VMware vCloud Connector, VMware’s free downloadable tool that facilitates workload migration to a VMware-based cloud. It’s a plugin that you can install on local vSphere and vCloud Director environments to view, operate on, and transfer computing resources from your virtual or private cloud environments to public cloud running the vCloud platform. The tool also copies templates, shuts down virtual machines across the WAN, and then allows the virtual machines to power back on following successful replication.

With vCloud Connector, you can also copy templates from your on-premise VMware environment to your cloud environment, priming your new service catalog with the standard templates you need to spin up new services. Many clouds include a set of basic templates in their service catalogs, as well, and have already incorporated the costs of OS licensing within your cloud fees.

Another key advantage is that VMware users can import OVF and ISO files into their public cloud from within the cloud management tools offered by the provider. Though it’s not a rapid-migration option, it can be extremely advantageous for workloads that are not always-on.

So what does that mean for those of you who want to migrate from non-VMware hypervisors to a VMware-based cloud? A move to a VMware-based cloud does not mean you have to re-configure your world and, you too, have options to maintain consistency.  Surprising to many, modern tools used for disaster recovery can play a major role.

Think about disaster recovery for a minute. It’s basically a live migration. And modern disaster recovery tools are able to replicate data, over the wire, in a continuous fashion, and fail over to a secondary location with the least amount of lost information and downtime. Failover speed with best-of-breed technologies is measured in seconds, with minutes-long recovery points. Ultimately, there is almost no downtime – the migration is effectively “live.”

Many of these tools are tuned specifically to virtual environments and are hypervisor-agnostic, enabling a seamless transition with minimal re-configuration. And unlike disaster recovery, migration is a planned event, so it is not difficult to take the time to replicate the data and strategically schedule when you “pull the trigger.”

That said, most organizations like the comfort of knowing their cloud provider is available and on hand should anything go awry. Seek a vendor that offers this type of technical support, and pay attention to price. Bottom line – your cloud provider should be able to accommodate your workloads and facilitate easy cloud migration, regardless of your on-premise platform.

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