As all traditional storage vendors now acknowledge, migrating large amounts of data between different platforms requires specialized software and specialized knowledge and cannot be effectively delivered by hastily assembled tools run by inexperienced teams. But it hasn’t always been that way and so it’s a message that we need to keep sharing to avoid history repeating itself: any organization with a major data migration project should focus on delivering the best possible outcome – not just opt for the path of least resistance and hope for the best.
Today, we are seeing a similar pattern emerge among the public cloud storage providers, or hyperscalers. As they compete to host the unstructured data of organizations worldwide, they want customers to move to their cloud, and they are telling them that by using their migration tools, it is both easy, quick, and free. While that’s an easy message to push by sly sales teams, the real practical challenges of moving or copying the huge amounts of valuable data that sit at the heart of many organizations can be a deal breaker.
There are, of course, many advantages of moving file data to the cloud but only if you can get it there quickly, easily, cost effectively, and of course with the highest possible integrity. Using a specialized software solution backed by unstructured data experts is the best way (and not a hastily put together and unsupported tool that is more a sales tactic than it is substance).
Despite the flexibility, convenience, and potential cost savings offered by public cloud services, the complexity of unstructured data means organizations now increasingly look beyond core solution provisions for value-add services that ensure critical migration projects are focused on both business and technology needs. However, the Hyperscalers themselves are not focused on providing effective unstructured data migration planning backed by implementation experience, and organizations should build this into their strategy when making a commitment to move any significant volume of data to a public cloud provider.
Critically, any migration solution must be able to prove the integrity of the migrated data. Data corrupted during a migration is both unseen and potentially very damaging. Using a solution that cannot provide proof of integrity that can be used later for auditing purposes or to prove a migration didn’t corrupt data is simply casting all caution to the wind.
There’s also the issue of support. Being able to call on timely, expert guidance can make or break a data migration effort. For example, in any complex migration project, having direct access to experienced professionals who can deliver vital advice when it’s required is a major advantage. Organizations should be wary of embarking on any strategy that doesn’t include support from highly experienced unstructured data migration experts throughout the process.
Successful data migration strategies also depend on agility, because in the rapidly evolving enterprise IT ecosystem, what’s important today may not be as critical six months from now. In particular, organizations must guard against vendor lock-in and infrastructure inflexibility if they are to maintain the ability to adapt or decide that they need to move from one Hyperscaler to another (or potentially back to the data center).
To deliver successful, accurate data migration at scale, organizations that focus on a strategy where technology capabilities meet experience and support will be much better positioned to control their data and get the best results and long-term benefits from their public cloud infrastructure.
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