First of all, why would you want to consolidate your cloud storage?
For many organizations, cloud consolidation has been a long, tumultuous road. Virtualization of many internal apps was the priority. The benefits are clear – decreased cost, increased performance, and freeing up hundreds if not thousands of IT hours. The same story can be seen with bulk storage, as many moved their cold backups into object storage. File servers and cloud content platforms like Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive are no different. A typical large international or multinational organization can have a plethora of on-premises fileservers, NAS, and cloud file share platforms across the globe. Consolidating these systems will greatly reduce total cost of ownership, reduce shadow IT, as well as potentially increasing employee productivity and storage utilization rates.
The High Costs of File Servers
Much of the cost of ownership with multiple file servers is directly correlated to the hardware and storage aspect. Fewer servers = less fixed costs. Normally the fileservers were bought at separate times causing them to be replaced at separate times. This constant buying cycle is costly and unmanageable.
In addition to direct fixed cost associated with hardware, a large disparate network of file servers also requires substantial software investments. Whether it be management tools, security tools, analysis software, or others, file storage has a heavy software dependency. Technologies such as VPN’s are often the highest cost related to a filesystem network.
Maintenance costs are both high and unpredictable. A company’s files are integral to operations. Any filesystem downtime is incredibly frustrating for employees and kills productivity. Finding and employing qualified people to maintain file shares is no easy task. When they are spread out all over the world this becomes nearly impossible.
Cloud Storage Sprawl
In the days of bring your own device it appears there is an equal amount of bring your own storage. SaaS services like Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive are easy to sign up for and use without IT’s approval. Many organizations quickly find that there are a variety of sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud storage services being used; posing compliance, security, and management risks.
So it is clear why a company needs to reign in their diaspora of storage. But how can you do it?
Eliminating a few servers or platforms by migrating user data to a centrally-based solution will undoubtedly save money and headaches for IT. Achieving a simple consolidation between on-premises systems is as easy as using powershell / robocopy, or rsync to transfer to the central machines and setting up a WAN. However, so many of the other issues still remain. Constant patching, retaining high availability, automating backups, and replacing legacy systems as they age will always be problematic.
A single cloud based solution completely eliminates the highest costs associated with a fileserver. All cloud providers have been proved secure again and again. They have enormous, dedicated teams to mitigate issues. Managed enterprise file sync and shares provide excellent software that never needs to be patched or updated. It just works.
Migrating file servers and cloud content platforms to a single cloud provider can take many forms and be achieved by even more methods.
The best option is to migrate to an enterprise file sync and share solution (EFSS). While the costs may appear higher than a in-house solution, there are no maintenance costs, they are dependable, and have a plethora of admin tools, security features, and great end-user experience. The value for IT and employees quickly becomes clear after everything is moved and users have fully adopted the EFSS.
Mass content migration: what to expect.
The initial migration and the subsequent backups and sync of these file stores are important to keep in mind. A user driven migration can take months, if not years. An IT driven migration will run into many errors, loss of feature/permission mapping, as well as potential months of babysitting transfers. Syncing the cloud deployment with an on-premises system requires complicated scripting. A migration solution can drastically alleviate the pains involved with an IT driven migration. The faster a new cloud solution is adopted, the faster the consolidation effort will be worthwhile.