Many of our lives have been upended due to the global pandemic. We have had to adjust the way we work, go to school, get our groceries, seek medical attention, and even socialize. For many businesses across a variety of industries these changes have led to an immense pressure to pivot to hybrid, or fully virtual modes of operation.
Take the Robinsons department store, which had to shut down its physical stores in 2020 after operating in Singapore for 162 years. Tapping into the rise in e-commerce sales across the region, Robinsons announced its comeback as an online department store this June. This transformation also extends to payment trends; many food and beverage outlets and hawker stalls have adopted digital apps to facilitate cashless transactions.
Cloud technology plays an instrumental role as companies large and small navigate the challenging business landscape and adapt their operations to be more resilient. The cloud trend is expected to accelerate, with IDC forecasting that by the end of 2021, most enterprises will have set a mechanism in place to accelerate their shift to cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services.
Dealing with cloud adoption and its challenges
While most business leaders know the benefits of the cloud, very few felt that they needed the flexibility and scalability as urgently as they do now. They now need to move their data and workloads to the cloud as quickly as possible to support distributed operations, improve time-to-market, and simply remain competitive.
However, migrating to the cloud requires a sound strategy as it can be fraught with numerous challenges related to accessing and amalgamating data.
One key challenge is limited or restricted access to certain data sources and associated data sets during the migration process. This can disrupt operations, especially in businesses that operate across borders, round the clock, 365 days a year.
Additionally, it is not easy to revert to previous systems should companies run into problems during or after a migration. So, IT leaders may prefer to keep certain on-premises systems running, especially for crucial requirements like compliance. During a migration, it can be hard to simultaneously provide users with access to both the cloud and on-premises systems.
Data virtualization for cloud migration
One way that IT leaders can overcome these challenges is to tap into data virtualization, a technology that enables companies to migrate data to the cloud with no downtime and no impact on daily operations.
This is because data virtualization is key to creating a logical data fabric, which stitches together different data sources and applications that are located in multiple on-premises and cloud environments. Data virtualization offers real-time views into integrated data without replication. This is unlike most data integration approaches, which require data to be copied from the different sources and moved to a new consolidated repository.
With data virtualization, data consumers are not affected by migrations, as data virtualization abstracts users from the complexities of accessing the individual data sources, including details about where the data is located. Users can continue to work with the data they need, even when the data is being migrated. This architecture also makes it possible for legacy and new systems to exist at the same time in a hybrid configuration to deliver integrated data to users in real time.
Powering always-on business operations in the new normal
The pandemic has already driven large-scale changes that will surely last for many years to come, if not forever. The ability for companies to effectively leverage data while transitioning to the cloud is especially crucial today, in an economy that is increasingly digital, and one in which the business landscape demands that operational adjustments be made on-the-fly.
Data virtualization can be especially useful to companies that are undertaking largescale migrations to the cloud, as it enables complex and profound projects to be implemented with no disruption to business operations, as well as hybrid infrastructures that simultaneously draw on cloud and on-premises data sources.