Data Migration: Manual - Error Prone - Risky - Time Consuming

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Migrating data used to be simple, copy everything to a new server and that was it.


Unprecedented data growth has changed everything. Now, meeting current business needs and accommodating future growth means that enterprise IT organizations must continually invest in their storage infrastructures to keep ahead.  All that is needed is the unstructured data in place on new systems, without any problems. Unfortunately this is not as simple as it sounds, in most environments migrating 20 Tb can take up to 15 weeks to complete. And before migrating any unstructured data, IT organizations must now consider a number of factors, including:

  • Data governance
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Data sensitivity and security

  • Data significance
  • Hot versus cold data positioning
  • Data redundancy
Moving unstructured data is part project management, part data management, part data architecture and requires a large amount of time and patience. In today's business environment, enterprise IT organizations are having to regularly deal with higher priority initiatives as well as limited time and resources. As a result, enterprises will look to out-source projects involving the movement unstructured data. One of the side-effects of out-sourcing is that IT organizations are now on the outside looking in and can lose valuable knowledge and insight into their unstructured data.

What prevents enterprise IT organizations from successfully managing the migration of unstructured data?

  • Incomplete visibility across the entire data environment at the file level
  • Compressed time-frames and limited resources to move data
  • Proprietary and single system focused tools
  • Flawed assessment and design inputs

The Data Migration Process

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This initial stage defines the scope of the project and includes a decision to either use existing or acquire storage infrastructure, the provisioning/configuration of hardware and software, IT and non-IT resource allocation as well as logistics and timeframe.

Assessment of the source file system design and the composition of the unstructured data residing within it. The assessment provides a baseline of knowledge and guides the design and optimization of the target file system.

Post-move data cleanup involves detailed examination of the new file system and documentation of any missing, duplicate or displaced files or folders or ACL and share issues and when appropriate, an update move operation may be required to resolve any problems.

Once the last update operation is completed, a final verification is conducted to ensure that all the problems identified during the cleanup have been cleared and that the final target meets the design, access and content objectives.

The final stage is to run a final synchronization operation and bring the upgraded or new storage on-line for access by users.

Where Do Data Migration Problems Occur?

While any part of the process can be problematic for enterprise IT organizations, the pre-move Assessment and Design stages require close attention, as both can cause problems in subsequent stages. Any issues introduced during either can make or break the success of a data migration. Assessment of the source file system is a manual process and can require a number of different tools to establish insight into file system hierarchy and composition to establish data significance. Target file system design is a whiteboard exercise that requires accurate assessment data. Assessment and design also involve upfront decisions concerning the composition of the data being migrated including; determining files/folders to preserve or purge.

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Simply migrating data without understanding its composition and where it should be positioned within the storage hierarchy doesn't cut it in today's dynamic enterprises. Moving data should not be headache inducing manual exercise, that requires weeks of planning and design, a few weeks more to move data and some more weeks to run a post-move validation and finally cut-over to upgraded or new storage. The margin for error is smaller than ever, businesses can't afford the risk of a failed data migration.

Does it have to be that difficult? Absolutely not!

 Learn how Intelligent Data Mobility™ has changed moving unstructured data. [/dropshadowbox]