All for One in Data Migration

Arthur Cole

When it comes to data migration, the adage "There's a right way, and there's a wrong way..." doesn't always apply. Given the environment, there could be many right ways, and many wrong ways. And sometimes what starts out as the right way can end up wrong as the process moves forward.


Some of the main stumbling blocks to a successful migration are not technical, but organizational. If there is one universal rule of thumb, it's that the process goes a lot more smoothly if data users are involved.


eWEEK's Brian Prince says input from the business side of the house is crucial in preventing the transfer of bad data that can gum up new applications and systems. It's also probably pointless to expect perfection, considering that typical customer data degrades by about 1.5 percent each month as circumstances like marital status, contact information and the like change.


But if the need to involve business people in the migration is paramount, how do we gain their involvement in a project that, let's face it, doesn't exactly rate high on the excitement meter? In his Data Migration Blog, author John Morris argues that involving the business office with things like system retirement policies (SRPs) and Data Quality Rules affords a certain level of ownership of the data environment and generates a vested interest in making sure the migration is a success.


When it does come to selecting the right migration platform, the good news is that there is a healthy development effort under way that has improved the technology considerably over the past few years. After all, enhanced migration capabilities allow vendors to retain customers looking to upgrade, or to swipe them from rival vendors.


Caringo Inc., for example, recently turned to migration specialists Moonwalk Inc. to devise an efficient means to migrate data from proprietary Content Addressed Storage (CAS) systems to the company's CAStor environment. Moonwalk's software offers user-defined rules- and policy-based migration across multiple file systems, such as Windows, UNIX, Linux and Netware with little overhead and full user transparency.


Meanwhile, IBM just released what many consider to be a new weapon in its ongoing database war with Microsoft. The Lotus Quickr Content Integrator is designed mainly to move large amounts of data from older Lotus Domino applications, as well as Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange environments. The move could have broader implications for both companies' unified communications strategies, which count Domino and SharePoint as critical components.


Probably the most frustrating thing about data migration is that there is no simple template to follow that circumvents all problems. Each environment is unique and will have its own set of challenges. But bringing as many heads together as possible will at least help to keep the major problems at bay.

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