Cloud-to-Cloud Migration: Challenges & Best Practices


What is Cloud-to-Cloud Migration?

While many organizations are still doing cloud migrations from on-premises data centers to cloud-based storage systems, those who have been in the cloud for years may now be exploring cloud-to-cloud migrations. For various reasons, including cost savings and storage reduction initiatives, cloud-enabled organizations may opt to move their data and applications from one cloud vendor to another.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to accommodate each content repository’s unique rules and limitations during a cloud-to-cloud migration
  • Why it’s essential to minimize downtime and maintain migration fidelity when moving to a new cloud storage system
  • How proper preparation and expertise saves time and money when migrating between cloud storage providers
  • How to better understand and manage your migration by using artificial intelligence to perform data discovery and classification

A cloud-to-cloud migration is the process of moving unstructured data between cloud storage platforms. This could be migrating files from Dropbox to Google Drive, Box to Microsoft OneDrive, or any other combination of cloud storage vendors.

Shouldn’t an organization that has moved to the cloud before already know how to migrate to a new one? It may seem easy, but these projects require knowledge and expertise for a seamless migration.

Before embarking on a cloud-to-cloud migration, knowing what to expect from your new cloud platform and how it may differ from your existing system is essential.

Already understand the challenges ahead? Contact us to speak with a migration expert and get started with your project.

Cloud Migration Challenges and Solutions

Cloud Platform Differences: Not All Repositories Are the Same

Each cloud storage platform has different rules or limitations on what content they’ll accept. For example, some platforms may have issues with certain file types that aren’t supported, certain characters being restricted in file or folder names, or filename/path character limits. These differences, however minimal they seem to users, can disrupt migration projects by causing failed file transfers or data loss.

All migration strategies should include a plan for accommodating these differences between platforms. Enterprise migration solutions will be able to identify and automatically remediate any file errors before they occur.

Cloud User Adoption: Ensuring Minimal User Impact

During any storage migration, end-user impact will be top of mind. Minimizing downtime as much as possible during a cutover to the new system is essential to encourage user adoption. To achieve minimal or zero user impact, migration fidelity must be very high: files and folders should be moved into the new system with no alteration, including all document versions, file permissions, metadata, file attributes, etc.

Another key to successful user adoption is the concept of a Continuous Copy migration. In these scenarios, the migration solution executes file transfers in the background completely transparently to end users, with zero impact on existing work streams or system integrations. By ensuring that target system files are up to date in near real-time and precisely mirror the source system, users can pick up exactly where they left off.

Benefits of migrating between cloud storage providers

While a cloud-to-cloud migration can be expensive and disruptive, it doesn’t have to be. With proper preparation and expertise, a cloud-to-cloud migration can end up saving you both time and money in the long run.

There are several benefits organizations can realize by re-evaluating their current storage needs and how well their existing provider is meeting them.

Cloud Storage Reduction and Cost Savings

Cloud storage vendors regularly adjust their pricing models and storage quotas. Google, for example, once provided unlimited free storage for universities through G Suite for Education. In 2022, that changed, and Google capped their free storage at 100TB across the entire organization. The policy change caused higher education organizations to take on storage reduction initiatives or migrate from Google Workspace for Education to a more affordable cloud vendor.

By assessing your current file storage provider and taking the time to discover and classify your unstructured data, you may find opportunities for cost savings. These savings can come in the form of migrating only stale or obsolete data to an archival storage repository (generally much cheaper than cloud collaboration suites) or migrating to a new cloud storage provider entirely.

Increased Efficiency & Reduced Risk

Taking on a cloud migration project provides an opportunity to better understand and manage your unstructured data. Instead of simply performing a lift-and-shift migration from one system to another, modern migration solutions now enable organizations with the intelligence to move their documents and files much smarter.

Intelligent Migration solutions use artificial intelligence to perform unstructured data discovery and classification before moving data. Platforms with this capability then use the data classification insights to inform where and how the data is automatically migrated. Instead of picking everything up and moving it from one place to another, intelligent migration includes the process of analyzing content, classifying it, and moving it to various locations based on its sensitivity, age, or other file attributes.

This type of migration can increase efficiency, reduce risk, and enhance security and compliance by ensuring that the right data ends up in the right place as part of the migration.

Plan Your Cloud-to-Cloud Migration Strategy

When migrating business-critical data, it’s essential to handle your files with care. To execute a successful transition, we recommend partnering with an enterprise migration provider that deeply understands unstructured data, connects to all major cloud storage systems, and can deliver a seamless cloud migration.

The DryvIQ platform offers a single solution to continually classify and migrate files across more than 40 on-premises and cloud-based platforms — at speeds of up to 100TB per day, at a petabyte scale. More than 1,100 worldwide organizations have put their trust in DryvIQ to help them address their large-scale, complex unstructured data management and migration projects.

Contact us today to see a demo or speak with an expert to get started on your cloud-to-cloud migration plan.