Storage Platforms Tout Simplified Migration

Arthur Cole
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Make the Financial Case for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

In data center circles, one of the most unwelcome phrases is "data migration."

Even on good days, migrations are tedious affairs that wreak havoc on platforms and systems across the enterprise, leading to long nights and endless trouble tickets. And more often than not, the migration is only a small portion of the overall storage provisioning process.

Simplifying the process has been a continual struggle for decades, but now that virtualization and the cloud have placed vast new storage resources at our disposal (Surprise! Cloud deployments require data migrations too!), the need for more efficient and less disruptive data transfer has grown exponentially.

Naturally, the large storage vendors are keen on less onerous migration, if only because it makes the deployment process go more smoothly. Hitachi Data Systems recently devised a non-disruptive migration system for its Virtual Storage Platform designed to shield host and application infrastructure from the process. Designed for multi-vendor environments, the system essentially <strong><span>creates virtual instances for legacy storage systems</span></strong>.. This allows data to be moved from the legacy system to the VPS platform while still providing full data access to users.

IBM has taken a somewhat different approach in the new XIV Gen 3 storage platform. While much of the attention has gone to the use of SSD caching to improve overall system performance, the company has also added a data mirroring provision that simplifies migration from earlier iterations of the platform. Not only does this provide a smooth upgrade process, but it allows enterprises to re-purpose existing XIV systems for backup and DR operations.

And as I mentioned, migration issues don't disappear just because the new storage environment is in the cloud. Data center provider CoreSite Realty in Santa Clara, Calif., is going so far as to launch a cloud-based test lab to enable clients to work out potential migration issues ahead of time. The Eucalyptus Cloud Test Lab, due to launch on March 1, provides a fully functional, open source hosted infrastructure built on Dell technology. Once the mock environment has completed performance testing in the lab, users are able to recreate the exact environment on CoreSite's private cloud infrastructure.

Simplifying the data migration process is a classic win-win for everyone involved. Vendors gain a less onerous deployment process that helps with sales, enterprises see a more robust data environment, and users benefit from less downtime and steadily improving resource options.

It is most definitely worthy of strong consideration when evaluating new or expanded storage environments.

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