Virtualization Opens New Worlds in Data Migration

Arthur Cole

Enterprises are finally waking up to the fact that virtualization does more than just save money for the boss. It also simplifies one of the dreariest jobs to befall the IT tech: data migration.


The irony here is that even as virtualization increases the need to move data from place to place so it can be accessed from wherever a new partition is being created, new virtual storage tools and appliances are making it easier to migrate data without hampering users' ability to access it.


This piece in Computerworld gives a good rundown of some of the latest virtual migration appliances out there, conveniently separating them into SAN and NAS camps. The advantage of an appliance, as opposed to a virtual storage controller, is that it can be deployed, utilized and then removed for use elsewhere with little trouble.


At the VMworld gathering in San Francisco last week, the buzz centered on the PlateSpin PowerConvert system, which took home a Gold Award for best migration tool. The system lets you stream data, applications and even operating systems between physical and virtual servers, as well as blade infrastructures and image and backup archive systems. It does this by decoupling the workload from network hardware and providing a simple drag-and-drop interface to migrate across multiple environments.


For those of you looking for an overall virtual storage solution, Hitachi's new Universal Storage Platform VM series offers what the company claims is the only heterogeneous, non-disruptive data migration system. The platform eschews traditional host-based replication in favor of a virtualized approach that works across Windows, Linux and UNIX environments. The system is available in numerous configurations, ranging from completely diskless to multiple cabinets.


For EMC Corp., a stronger migration tool seems to be the key to sudden renewed interest in the Invista storage virtualization system. Sales have doubled with the release of version 2.0, which delivers five times the number of concurrent migration processes over the original version. The company made the revision after more than 90 percent of customers demanded it.


Any way you look at it, data migration is still a dirty job. But at least the same technology that makes it more necessary makes it easier as well.

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