Companies are finding more and more utility in cloud computing services that include storage and application environments and by 2012 a predicted 1/5 of all company IT infrastructures will be virtual. While many companies are happy with their current provider, VM and hypervisor, there may come a time when they need to migrate service providers based on location, cost or power, and it is here that companies may run into trouble. In many cases, the instance of their server they have with a particular provider will not be able to be simply transferred to another provider, even if the type of cloud system both providers use is similar. Companies looking for a virtual moving van will be told that no one ever leaves the neighborhood, so there was never any need for them, and may find themselves trapped in a less than optimal situation.
Now, a number of companies are tackling the problem of how to get virtual data up and away from one provider and down into the arms of another, and most of these efforts are focused on creating an image of the server data itself, one that can then be transferred to and booted up on another provider’s VM. These “moving vans” are being integrated as part of the application or management software and take into account the full spectrum of the system, from OS, storage and network configurations and snaps a single, bootable image of the entire server, allowing a company to move quickly if the need should ever arise.
While transfer between cloud providers is still in its infancy, a number of companies are addressing the problem of pulling up virtual roots and making the switch when needed.