Moving to the Cloud: Lock-In
This post is the fifth in a series addressing concerns organizations may have that prevent them from moving the cloud-based solutions.
When looking at cloud solutions, most organizations spend a great deal of time, appropriately so, investigating how they will move data and processes into the cloud. At the same time, organizations should understand how they will get data out of the cloud should they decide to switch solutions in the future.
While this seems like a new issue or concern, the reality remains that organizations switch systems and data migration and integration issues exist — cloud or not. The same analysis and decision making process that organizations follow for in-house systems should be followed for cloud solutions.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions provide environments that, in general, enable data and application movement. Moving to a Windows Server image in the cloud is not much different from moving to an in-house Windows server. Key considerations focus on the amount of data and the time/efficiency of moving the data on or off the cloud server.
Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions can prove more challenging. Migrating to or from a cloud-based application provides the same challenges as migrating data to a new in-house application. Record matching, data scrubbing, and data translation are all issues to be considered. In addition to the strength of the import utilities, understand the strength and cost of the export utilities. Some SaaS applications only provide comprehensive export capabilities at their most expensive licensing options.
Fear of “Lock-In” should not prevent organizations from moving into cloud solutions. Rather, a small amount of due diligence will ensure that the “how” and “how much” of a future migration is understood.
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