Data movement refers to moving or migrating data from a source to a destination. For the purposes of this discussion, this excludes backup, replication or mirroring. You can learn more about automating for business continuance and disaster recovery in my August 2006 Storage magazine article "Automate Disaster Recovery."
Questions and items to be aware of regarding automatic data movement include:
Some vendors' technologies utilize rule-based automated policy management and movement of data combined with transparent access of moved and migrated data. Other vendors feature automated data movement based upon rules. However, there can be delays while waiting for data to be copied back to the source location when accessed or delays incurred while data is being moved. Some vendors provide transparent data access and movement with no application disruption, however, some intervention is needed to invoke the data movement process.
What this all means is that you need to ask questions of technology providers to understand what their technologies can and cannot do to meet your needs and avoid surprises. Some questions to ask include:
Technologies incorporating some level of automated data movement or migration with different degrees of transparency are offered by primary storage vendors along with network attached storage (NAS) and virtual tape library (VTL) vendors among others. Some solutions migrate and move data within a box or storage system, while others can move data between like storage systems and others across heterogeneous technologies. Some technology will be storage system based, while others are network or appliance based with some being host server based.
The list of vendors supporting some type of automated data movement continues to grow and includes BlueArc Corp., EMC Corp., IBM, Innovation Data Processing, Incipient Inc., LeftHand Networks Inc., Softek Storage Solutions Corp., StoreAge Networking Technologies and many others. To avoid surprises with automated data movement, ask questions and do your due diligence to understand the capabilities of various technologies, including how transparent the data movement and access to your applications will be.
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This was first published in November 2006