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Migration projects need automation boost: Hot Spots

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A better way to migrate data
Data migrations, especially large-scale ones, require more than just technology. To accurately accelerate a data migration project, a combination of people, process and technology is necessary. Internally, better technology could be used for simple, small migrations; however, large-scale data migrations will continue to be outsourced. Traditionally, these services are provided as part of a technology refresh by a storage vendor with a full contingent of consultants. As such, these vendors have very little incentive to introduce new migration solutions that might cost less, require fewer people or complete the project in less time. So unless you, the customer, push back on proposals that include the same old methods of doing migrations, it's unlikely you'll have a different experience the next time around.

There are products that can change your data migration experience. Several companies--IBM (Softek), Incipient, Informatica and SANpulse Technologies, for example--have recognized the current shortcomings associated with manual data migrations and developed products in response. IBM purchased Softek for its host-based data mobility software that can be leveraged in open systems and mainframe environments and, depending on the need, can be combined with its global services for a complete solution. Incipient and Informatica recently released software

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solutions to aid in data migrations. The software can be leveraged internally for smaller data migrations or by a professional services firm for larger engagements. SANpulse provides an end-to-end service with an agnostic approach and, at the time of this writing, is being leveraged by EMC.

In general, leveraging an application from the above mentioned vendors has the potential to simplify data migrations. For example, a New York City financial services company had a data migration project consisting of approximately 300TB of storage and more than 600 hosts. It chose to use SANpulse due to its automation aspects.

Four months later, the migration project was complete, all of the data and hosts were migrated, and there were no additional stragglers. The firm estimated it would have taken at least six months using old methods and would have required additional resources. According to users at that company, the discovery process prior to then would have taken six to eight weeks and an army of support people. By leveraging SANpulse's SANlogics technology platform, this phase took only two engineers and three to four weeks. This same firm is evaluating software from Incipient to accelerate storage provisioning times by leveraging its software to perform smaller array migrations.


This was first published in September 2008

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