Why Velostrata is (Way) Ahead of Replication-Based Cloud Migration Tools, Part III: Hidden Labor Costs

By: Tom NiklMarch 21, 2017

Welcome back to our blog series showcasing why Velostrata’s streaming-based technology is leaps and bounds ahead of replication-based tools. We covered pre-migration testing in part I and the drawbacks of agent-based technology in part II. Today for part III we’ll explore the hidden costs of replication-based tools. As we already know, replication-based migration tools bring a “copy and paste” strategy to move your workloads to the cloud. This can, of course, result in massive amounts of extra wait time (ever copied terabytes over a network?), but there is a lot of other hidden labor lurking in the shadows that you should know about, too. All of which is, of course, in stark contrast to Velostrata, whose streaming-based, agent-less cloud migration solution avoids all of the hidden labor, added wait time, and various gotchas by providing a faster, more scalable, more successful cloud migration- resulting in substantial cost reductions.

First, we’ll look at replication-based tools that are agent-based (be sure to also read our part II on agents and their downfalls if you haven’t already), meaning these tools will require you to install a service/application on the workload machine, and that service carries out the migration tasks on that machine. Some solutions require an agent on both the “source” machine (physical or virtual) and the target virtual machine, while others require an agent only on the source machine. Regardless, agent-based solutions add major overhead to any cloud migration project. The table below describes the additional manual tasks that are required by the agent-based design, and estimates the hidden labor costs associated with these manual tasks, and any additional risk(s) to a migration project that may be a result of that hidden (and largely manual) labor.

Figure 1: Additional labor with replication-based, agent-based technologies. 

The table above represents the most common hidden labor tasks that are common when using a replication-based, agent-based migration tool. Now, to be clear, every migration project will require labor- that’s just a fact of migration. What we’ve outlined above represents the hidden labor that you’ll have to factor into your migration project in addition to the standard labor that would be required in any migration solution. As outlined above, our experience shows that on average these additional tasks add a total of 8.5 additional hours per machine to any migration project. For every 1,000 machines that an enterprise migrates to the cloud with this type of technology, they’ve added an additional 8,500 personnel hours to the project. With conservative estimates of $65/hour for in-house IT staff or $125/hour for consultants, that’s a staggering $552,500 to $1,062,500 of hidden labor costs. This is a huge additional cost that must be factored into any cloud migration when using this genre of cloud migration tools. Put another way, you can save half a million to a million dollars by using the right cloud migration solution (hint: like Velostrata).

Next, let’s look at replication-based solutions that are agent-less. These solutions still approach your migration with a “copy and paste” strategy, but avoid having to install agents anywhere. Being agent-less is, of course, a step in the right direction, but lacking other key built-in features can still result in these tools suffering from hidden labor and cost. As you’ll see in the table below, we’ve outlined some of these hidden issues, their likelihood of occurring, and their estimated additional time per server.

Figure 2: Additional labor with replication-based, agent-less technologies.

Error handling, stateful rollback, and pre-migration testing (for complex apps) won’t occur for every single server, so we’re taking likelihood into account when we do our final math. Given that, you can still expect, on average, an additional 3.5 hours’ worth of manual labor in addition to your standard migration project timeline. That means for every 1,000 machines an enterprise migrates to the cloud with this type of migration tool, they’ve added an additional 3,500 personnel hours to their migration project. Using the same hourly rates as before, that’s $227,500 to $437,500 of hidden labor costs. Or, another quarter- or half-million dollars that Velostrata can save you.

As you can see, not all migration tools are created equally, and many suffer from limited capabilities because they were designed for DR and then re-purposed for migration. Unfortunately, this results in huge amounts of additional labor and cost to your migration project. Velostrata, on the other hand, is designed from the ground up to support cloud migration and cloud workload mobility at speed and scale. Thus, Velostrata side steps these costly landmines that await customers trying to get by on replication-based solutions. Velostrata has built-in capabilities that alleviate the issues we’ve outlined in this blog, which means that once your migration with Velostrata is complete, you will have saved a significant amount of time, labor, and money. If you’d like to see Velostrata in action, be sure to check out this video of us migrating a multi-tier application into Azure. Or, if you’d rather talk to one of our cloud migration experts, drop us a line.

Tom Nikl
Tom Nikl
Tom has spent twelve years leading product management and product marketing at technology companies large and small who focus on virtualization and cloud technologies. He currently blogs primarily about cloud migration, with an emphasis on overcoming challenges that companies face getting to the cloud and how to solve them. Prior to enterprise, Tom received a B.S. in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Outside of work he is an unabashed fan of Disney Theme Parks and various junk food. Find Tom on Twitter, too: @Tom_Nikl