Best Practices: Tackling data migration


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Network-based: What if you need heterogeneous replication and don't have a TagmaStore or a Symm? Many tools, both appliance and switch-based, as well as SAN- and NAS-based, have emerged. On the SAN front, Cisco Systems and Incipient offer switch-based migration and replication tools, provided you have an application processor in your Fibre Channel director. Among the SAN-based appliances available are the Brocade Data Migration Manager, FalconStor Software IPStor and IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller. In the NAS arena, EMC Rainfinity and F5 Acopia ARX Series appliances can be deployed to provide transparent file-based migration. These options minimize host impact but provide flexible movement across various platforms.

When it comes to developing a consistent, generally applicable methodology, the most common considerations are heterogeneity, the ability to deploy and remove with minimal effort, local and remote support, and ease of management.

Generally, the best options would be a host-based app that runs on a wide range of platforms or, to minimize host disruption, a SAN- or NAS-based virtualization appliance.

Post-migration. These activities focus on data verification and validation at the storage, OS and app levels, and should include low-level data integrity checks and higher level app accessibility and performance verification. A review of relevant procedural

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documents, as well as asset management and configuration tracking repositories, should be included to reflect the changed environment. A migration close-out should also take place to review the process, resolve issues and provide feedback for improving future migrations.

How big can the migration problem become? We've seen sites with brand-new, enterprise-class storage arrays sitting idle for many months due to migration challenges. Extending leases and having assets sitting idle aren't typically factored into TCO calculations. Avoiding these situations with a standard migration strategy can be a solid investment.

This was first published in November 2007

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