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College eases HP migration with Brocade tool

Rancho Santiago Community College avoided days of downtime migrating between HP EVA arrays by using a new tool from Brocade called Data Migration Manager.

Spending a holiday weekend performing a data migration is no surprise to storage administrators who are all too familiar with the arduous task of migrating data between storage arrays.

Randy Simons, director of network operations for Rancho Santiago Community College District in Orange Country, Calif., faced three days of downtime to migrate 3 terabytes of data from a faulty Hewlett Packard Co. (HP) EVA 5000 to a new EVA 8000.

"That was going to be my Labor Day weekend," Simons said. His college district, which supports 45,000 full-time and part-time students, had been experiencing problems with its EVA 5000. "The controller card died and the failover didn't take place the way it was supposed to, the EVA was down the whole weekend and this [had] happened a couple of times," he said.

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He asked HP if the problem was likely to reoccur. "I was losing credibility with my management … When management can't get to e-mail, they don't want to know that it's unavailable, they just want to know when they are going to get it."

HP stepped up to the plate and replaced the defective EVA 5000 with the newer EVA 8000. The next challenge was to move the college district's Exchange data, folder by folder, to the new system using the array-based replication. "We had planned to be down Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and were hoping to get things running normally on the Monday," Simons said.

Facing at least three days of downtime, HP asked Simons if he would be willing to be a guinea pig and beta test a new product from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. that would halve the time to perform his migration.

Brocade's new software product called Tapestry Data Migration Manager runs on the company's Silkworm Fabric AP7420 switch and provides data migration between heterogeneous storage arrays.

"I agreed to let them use us as a testing ground," Simons said, noting that as a consequence he did not have to pay for the service. "There were a couple of hitches -- it's a new tool to the industry … They missed a step on the data structuring, on where it would be located and how it was presented to the EVA." But even so, the job was completed in a day and a half, giving Simons Sunday off work in the knowledge that everything would be running fine on Monday.

Simons said he wouldn't buy the tool, which costs $85,000, as it's a "one-time use" product. "If you want to move massive amounts of data in a short amount of time, it's definitely the way to go." He thinks HP should license the tool and use it as part of a service. "I'd pay for it that way," he said.

Other companies rolling out new migration tools include XOsoft, which announced InMotion and Softek, and EMC rolled out a tool for mainframe migration called Logical Data Migration Facility.

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