Don’t Let Your Data Slow Down Your Business. ClearScale Migrates Client’s Databases to Cloud Using AWS Snowball.

April 22 2016

Any firm operating in the digital space these days has a basic reality in their daily operations; customer or client data coupled with sensitive and proprietary information that needs to be transferred and stored in a secured cloud location. For many organizations, gathering the data isn’t the issue; rather, it’s the complexity of transferring, storing and processing it that poses a real challenge. For anyone with previous experience in information technology, it comes as no surprise that maintaining your own on-premise data centers to store Terabytes of data is a costly proposition especially as the hardware ages and comes to the end of its useful lifecycle.

With the advent of Cloud storage, this burden can be shifted to a secure third party at a fraction of the ongoing costs associated to maintaining the data and data centers. With AWS Snowball Import / Export device, moving your valuable and proprietary information residing in your local data centers to servers on the Amazon Cloud is a simple proposition.

ClearScale recently had the opportunity to help one of our Canadian clients in this regard. Spread out over 12 offices, the data that this global risk management firm had acquired over the years exceeded 20 TB of space across 12 on-premise data centers that they had set up and maintained for years. ClearScale, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, was called in to assist in securely migrating client’s data to AWS and once the data is synced deploying customer’s applications to the cloud.

Under normal circumstances transferring Terabytes of data across a network or Internet connection is a challenging task. Depending on the size of data that needs to be migrated potential issues may include network latency, high data transfer costs and Internet traffic congestion.

In this instance, the amount of data our client needed to transfer was excessive enough to exceed their 100 GBs of bandwidth each data center location was allotted each month; combined with aging hardware and limited IT resources the idea of doing it themselves was a disheartening prospect given that any attempt to transfer the data in a reasonable amount of time to the Cloud and the fact that their office and data center uplinks were slow to begin would be a challenge at the very least.

Working closely with our client to understand all of their needs and requirements, we quickly realized that we could accomplish the migration of the data to the Amazon Cloud using AWS Snowball. Not only would it allow us to transfer large volumes of data quickly using 256-bit encryption, but from a cost perspective it was more reasonable compared to the costs associated with ongoing maintenance of the data centers that would need to be maintained for the potential months-long effort if they attempted to transfer it over the Internet, or the cost of additional Enterprise-level bandwidth they would need to accomplish this task.

AWS Snowball is an appliance that can be ordered directly from Amazon starting at $200. ClearScale had Amazon ship them to our client’s data center locations and we were allowed to use it for up to 10 days before sending it back. Once we received the Snowball at the data center, the self-contained 40 TB appliance was linked to the client’s network using a 10 GB network connection at the back of the device. This allowed us to move the large volumes of data stored in their data centers quickly and in a scalable way while encrypting it at the same time.

Once completed, we simply shipped the Snowball back to AWS center; once there, the Amazon team connected the Snowball to their Edge servers and transferred all of the data stored in the Snowball at no additional cost to a designated S3 bucket that ClearScale had set up for our client. Once the transfer was complete, AWS securely wiped-out the data on the device using the guidelines published by the National Institutes for Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-88.

Once our client’s data had been synced to their S3 bucket on AWS, ClearScale then worked with the client to deploy app servers on AWS to give them access to their data going forward. From the employees’ perspective at the client’s 12 office locations, their ability to access the information they needed did not change; once ClearScale confirmed that everyone had access to the historical data and business operations were not impacted, we worked with the client to decommission the aging hardware at each data center. The cost and time savings of moving their data to the AWS Cloud and the small monthly fees they had to pay to access the data in AWS was significant once the data center hardware no longer needed monthly maintenance costs.

The end result was that ClearScale was able to transfer the entire 20 TB of client data to the Amazon Cloud in less than a week as opposed to the multiple weeks or potentially months of work our client would have had to done if they wanted to transfer it over the Internet.

Given the fact that our client had limited IT resources to support their data centers, the restricted monthly bandwidth they were allotted, and the aging data center infrastructure, our ability to understand the risks coupled with our understanding of what services AWS has to offer made the decision easy for ourselves and our client.

As an AWS Certified Premier Partner, we understand the anxiety many organizations have operating in our modern technological age. At ClearScale, we believe that finding simple solutions to persistent problems that our clients experience in their operations is in their best interest. With a robust understanding of AWS cloud solutions, our depth and breadth of experience has served our clients’ needs regardless of the complexity of challenges they present us with.

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