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Managing Storage and Avoiding Migration Challenges

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There will come a time within any environment when a given storage environment becomes outdated and needs to be removed or upgraded. The data migration process between disks, controllers, and now the cloud can sometimes be a daunting task since administrators are working with production data sets.

A successful migration project is not just about moving data from one location to another, but about making sure that everything goes as expected. This can be challenging for even the most sophisticated IT team. In fact, without proper planning, data migration projects can easily exceed their timelines, go over budget, or fail to meet their goals.

Depending on the size and complexity of an environment, the prospect of data migration can quickly become overwhelming. Although there are many reasons this could be the case – the reality is the amount of data we’re managing today.

A recent Cisco report mentioned that although the amount of global traffic crossing the Internet and IP WAN networks is projected to reach 2.0 ZB per year by 2019, the amount of annual global data center traffic in 2014 is already estimated to be 3.5 ZB—and by 2019, will triple to reach 10.4 ZB per year.

The report also went on to discuss the vast impact of cloud computing. Over the last few years, the telecommunications industry has seen cloud adoption evolve from an emerging technology to an established networking solution that is gaining widespread acceptance and deployment. Enterprise and government organizations are moving from test environments to placing more of their mission-critical workloads into the cloud. For consumers, cloud services offer ubiquitous access to content and services, on multiple devices, delivered to almost anywhere network users are located.

So, when it comes to managing and migrating data, the following four challenges are common – but can be overcome:

  • Lack of definition for data requirements. Data rules should focus on security, availability and recoverability. It’s easy to imagine that documents with temporary data and permanent data could be intermingled, making it difficult to determine which data is important and which isn’t. It’s in these types of situations where application and data planning must happen. That is, administrators must look at application dependencies prior to moving any data set – this will be covered in the following sections. Aligning applications with the appropriate storage repository is critical. In some cases, you’re working with embedded links or even database components. One of the very first planning points for a migration plan must be the identification and classification of your data. From there, you can set requirements, create migration and management rules, and even optimize how this information is controlled.
  • Distributed data environment. Often, a business unit will implement a new application and request that the infrastructure for it remain close at hand. Unfortunately, when the time comes to migrate the data to a new controller or disk aggregate, these islands of data must be consolidated and re-deployed. We’re now working with a vastly distributed business and data center ecosystem. Planning doesn’t only revolve around moving data around – it also involves your WAN environment, migration needs, and the capabilities of your cloud and data center ecosystem. If you’re working with or migrating a storage environment – ensure that you’re working with solutions which can easily handle on premise and distributed locations. Without good cloud integration, you limit the agility of your applications and data sets.
  • Budget concerns. IT managers are checking their budgets very closely. This in turn might limit technology decisions and options; or a company may invest in technology for projected bottom-line benefits. This isn’t always the best course of action since using the right tool for the data migration and management process is absolutely crucial for the success of the project. Let me reiterate – it’s not just about cost; it’s about use-case and functionality. Your data ties into applications, your users, and your overall business process. This is why you must use tools which allow for data agility, integrity, and easy of management. You can still manage your IT budgets while undertaking critical storage-based projects. Today’s IT buying decisions must look at long-term technological impacts and understand the pace at which technology advances.
  • Lack of expertise with data migration processes. With each vendor’s support limited to its own products, incompatibility between storage technologies may become an issue for the IT environment. This is where planning comes into play and can make the difference between a successful project and a potential headache. There are amazing third party storage management technologies which take cloud and your heterogeneous storage ecosystem directly into consideration. This means that there are ways to control distributed resources under one intelligent engine. Furthermore, working with migration and cloud-ready partners can absolutely demystify various technology concepts as you create a next-gen storage management ecosystem.

Working with storage and cloud isn’t always easy. There are many moving parts and a lot of considerations when working with critical resources. The good news is that a lot of cloud and storage management technologies can now be easily tested or deployed under a proof of concepts project. The most important point to remember here is to never become complacent with your infrastructure. Your storage and cloud ecosystem help drive business process. It’ll be critical to use the right tools which help you stay secure, and very agile.

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