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Topic # 108507 30-Aug-2012 14:52
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I’ve been involved on the periphery of several RFP responses, Statements of Work etc. that relate in one way or another to government agencies and large corporates outsourcing their infrastructure hosting to a provider.  I’m not talking here about equipment co-location, but rather scenarios where the hosting provider owns the tin and truly delivers the Data Centre Infrastructure as a Service, including the storage.  No doubt this is a growing trend both here in NZ and globally.

Nowhere during my involvement, which as I said has not been in-depth, have I come across descriptions, or requirements for that matter, on the ‘exit approach’

So I’ve been sitting here pondering, when the relationship between the customer and provider comes to an end after say, 3, 5 or 10 years and the customer has 100, 200, 600 TeraBytes of data sitting on the equipment (a SAN one would expect) owned by the incumbent provider how on earth would they go about migrating this to the new infrastructure or archiving it off for later access.

Keen to hear people’s thoughts on this.





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  Reply # 679311 30-Aug-2012 15:40
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Usually they should have an exit clause in their contracts in regards to data ownership. I know we do in ours with government agencies/corporates.





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  Reply # 679313 30-Aug-2012 15:41
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Typically there would be a number of options:

1. The provider exports the data to some portable storage media (drives, tapes, other media that exists in 10 years)

2. The provider provides for data migration over the internet (fine if you are on 1GbE or 10GbE in NZ and can wait a week for the transfer)

3. Retrieve the off-site tapes for your storage pool and restore to your new environment (assuming common technology at this level)

All three options would be supported here at theCloud but options 2 and 3 make more sense.  In particular option 3 is what we do already for specific clients.  By allocating a dedicated off-site tape pool per customer we can then designate authority for that client to retrieve those tapes from the third party off-site storage provider, at any time.

Further to that, some engagements (and I encourage for large solutions) have specific contractual obligations regarding the exit process, often including exactly how it would be achieved.




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  Reply # 679315 30-Aug-2012 15:47
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Don't cloud providers contracts also say that they must have their own local copy of data anyway, so that data should be held in duplicate somewhere else too. eg locally.

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  Reply # 679349 30-Aug-2012 16:34
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Not always, it would depend on the nature of the service.  If you are backing up to a cloud provider then you'll have local data.  If your production systems are with a cloud provider then you'll either have backup services with that provider also, or your own local backups.




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  Reply # 679359 30-Aug-2012 16:47
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btrevarthen: Not always, it would depend on the nature of the service. ?If you are backing up to a cloud provider then you'll have local data. ?If your production systems are with a cloud provider then you'll either have backup services with that provider also, or your own local backups.


A backup with the same provider isn't the best redundancy plan though, especially if that provider goes out of business. Most of the cloud service contract agreements I have read, even ones that are 100% cloud based, like cloud accounting systems, do still require the client to have their own backup/copy too. You don't really find out these things unless you read the t&cs, which many people don't do.

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  Reply # 679364 30-Aug-2012 16:51
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Hence my earlier point...

"In particular option 3 is what we do already for specific clients.  By allocating a dedicated off-site tape pool per customer we can then designate authority for that client to retrieve those tapes from the third party off-site storage provider, at any time. "

We recognise that no business is too big to fail and never say never and all that, so to protect our clients we offer this escrow sort of service where we do not hold the backups (the off-site ones anyway).




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  Reply # 679366 30-Aug-2012 16:53
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I've been involved in some projects migrating large customers into IaaS environments. Typically the customer has full network access to the servers (as opposed to accessing over the Internet) so the process to migrate out of these environments would be the same as migrating into them - you'd provision new servers in the new environment and then either migrate the entire servers across (e.g. using Platespin or similar) or you'd migrate the services (e.g Exchange) over to the new servers using the usual tools.

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  Reply # 679367 30-Aug-2012 16:54
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Exactly, and that's the best model when the scale permits the interconnect.  We have customers connected to our sites at 1GbE and 10GbE (Layer2) so that the IaaS we provide is actually technically on their LAN and never goes over the internet.




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  Reply # 679369 30-Aug-2012 17:01
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mattwnz: ..., especially if that provider goes out of business.....


Interesting scenario.
Although I was more thinking along the lines of ministry's who are getting into bed with large reputable established reputable firms so I'd suggest it rather unlikely.  Imagine though if the receivers did turn up and decided to turn off all power to the datacentre and prevent all physical access.





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