Using Database Virtualization for Effective Cloud Migration

It was only a couple of years ago that the mere concept of migrating to the cloud using data virtualization seemed like an odd idea. The act of migrating databases to the cloud is also already dreaded by most IT teams, simply because of the sheer scope of doing so and the number of things that could go wrong, but it’s also something that’s necessary for enterprises to modernize their data storage. 

To help make this process as easy as possible, many vendors have introduced database virtualization, or the process of allowing existing applications to run on a cloud data warehouse. This is designed to help make the process of moving digital assets to a cloud-based infrastructure much easier. 

But what exactly is data virtualization? And how does it make the process of transferring data over to the cloud a simpler process? 

What is Database Virtualization?

A database virtualization platform rests between the new destination virtual data storage warehouse and the original applications themselves. The appeal of database virtualization is how it translates database statements and queries in real time. 

Not utilizing database virtualization technology requires a new SQL dialect to be written and then all further applications to be rewritten in the same dialect as well. In contrast, database virtualization platforms do not require their users to have substantial knowledge of SQL queries.

Applications that were originally written on a specific database can run on a unique database without the SQL needing to be changed. This is because the existing applications are preserved, versus the applications needing to be rewritten as is the case with static code conversions. 

Database virtualization provides benefits to numerous applications, including for DevOps teams at various phases of application development, provisioning virtual data environments, and, of course, with cloud migration. This begs the question: is it even necessary to migrate to the cloud in the first place?

Why Migrate to the Cloud?

While there are many advantages to migrating data and digital assets to the cloud, perhaps the single biggest advantage is enhanced efficiency. Businesses can scale up their data storage and with a lower cost, superior security, and ease-of-maintenance versus traditional storage systems. 

None of this means that migrating data to the cloud is truly necessary for all businesses, per se, but it does mean that once data is migrated businesses will experience much greater convenience with keeping their data stored. For example, businesses have the advantage of expanding or decreasing storage resources and processing to meet their ever changing demand. At the same time, businesses only have to pay for the resources being used. 

But the principal advantage that businesses will experience with keeping their data stored on the public cloud is convenience. They can access the data anywhere and from anytime, while the process of actually maintaining the cloud infrastructure is handled by a third party rather than the business’s IT team. 

It’s the process of transferring data to the cloud in the first place that can prove to be a major hurdle for companies with inexperienced IT teams, but data virtualization technology aims to make this transition easier.

Read more: Creating a Cloud Migration Checklist

Migration Using Database Virtualization Technology 

Database virtualization technology can be deployed instantly because, as discussed earlier, it does not require the underlying SQL to be changed. The time and energy spent on ensuring that the new data warehouse platform is compatible with the existing database is not an issue that exists when using database virtualization for cloud migration. 

This provides a drastically reduced migration risk just as much as it offers greater convenience. Since the existing applications do not need to be changed, the new database technology can be adopted in a time efficient manner. 

This means that database re-platforming can be tested before the actual migration occurs. In the event that the results are not as intended, it’s easy to switch back to the original database. The primary reason why database migrations to the cloud can fail in the first place is because of issues that can arise in the process of making existing applications compatible with the new database. With quick prior testing and no need to drastically adjust applications, the entire process is much more seamless and risk-averse. 

In this regard, database virtualization as it relates to cloud migration can perhaps best be described as allowing pre-existing applications to move forward in their existing state and under only a minimal number of changes. This follows the concept of migrating the applications first and modernizing them later, rather than vice versa. 

Enterprises large and small alike recognize the value in migrating their data and digital assets to the cloud, but many have yet to do so simply because of the sheer complexity that comes during the transition process. Database virtualization provides business owners who may be hesitant to complete a cloud data migration an efficient alternative option to migrate their data and assets. 

Read next: Migrating Unstructured Data to the Cloud: Best Practices

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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