6 Keys to a Successful Dell EMC Isilon Migration

Scotty Calkins,

22 August 2019

You’ve purchased Dell EMC Isilon NAS (network-attached storage) and you’re ready to move your SMB (Server Message Block) or NFS (Network File System) file and object data from your old platform to the new one. So, what’s the best way to proceed?

A multivendor, shared access, multiprotocol NAS migration can be challenging, so it is important to ask the right questions before you get started. Let’s look at six key factors that can help you successfully accomplish your migration to a new Isilon storage stack with speed and efficiency.

1. What are some initial considerations for migrating to Isilon?

In general, to successfully move between any file-sharing platform(s), you must:

  • Ensure data is synced.
  • Move the entire configuration (shares, exports, permissions).
  • Understand how the two platforms handle your data differently.
  • Build time into the project plan to execute consolidation/testing on your destination platform.

2. What file-sharing protocols are you using?

Your file-sharing protocols can be SMB, NFS, or multiprotocol, where both NFS and SMB users need access to the same files. Each file-sharing protocol should have its own adjacent and separate root directory. Isilon has its own standard for how to handle permissions. With Isilon, you can have NFS-only workloads and SMB-only workloads on the same Isilon, but they remain logically separate. The permissions on the target will likely appear different, but function the same way. Read more at: Understanding Permission Types in Multiprotocol Migrations.

3. What is your NAS consolidation plan?

If you have multiple (i.e., 10–15) NAS devices, you must plan how to best consolidate multiple filesystems and namespaces into a single filesystem and namespace.

4. What is your filesystem layout?

On the migration side, the filesystem layout is one of the important factors in migrating to Isilon. For example:
/ifs/<Cluster_Name>/<Access_zone>/SMB_data
/ifs/<Cluster_Name>/<Access_zone>/NFS_data
/ifs/<Cluster_Name>/<Access_zone>/Multi_protocol

Key subfactors could include:

  • Access zones
  • Networking
  • Smart connect zone aliases
  • Authentication domains

5. What NAS migration tools are available?

Although “free” tools such as Robocopy and rsync are commonly used for Isilon migrations, they come with numerous problems and limitations. The larger the migration and the more scripts you have, the more likely it is that you will encounter problems such as:

  • Lack of scalability. Beyond 150 TB of data, these tools encounter issues and may even stop working.
  • Manual processes. Free tools must manually manage hundreds or even thousands of scripts. Scalability, reliability, management, and execution are all affected.
  • Labor intensive. Manually reading through log files to find errors can take many hours per day during a migration, while compounding the potential for human error.
  • Human error. This can cost days, and thousands if not millions of dollars, depending on the size of your company.
  • Cannot be verified. With free tools, there is no way to verify that files were copied completely and accurately. Reliability is affected.
  • Configurations are created manually on the target. If you have 20 shares, you must manually create those 20 shares on Isilon – which introduces 20 new opportunities for human error.

6. What is the recommended tool for Isilon migrations?

Dell EMC has named DobiMigrate as the go-to tool for migrating data to Isilon because of its usability, reliability, and performance. Unlike free tools, DobiMigrate is purpose built for NAS migrations. It is API-integrated with Isilon and copies all the data, shares, and exports to Isilon.

  • Automation is built in. DobiMigrate automatically copies and shares the configurations for you and confirms they are correct. Automation removes human errors to ensure a fast, cost-efficient, and low-risk migration.
  • Accuracy is verified. DobiMigrate does an MD5 checksum on both the source and target to ensure 100% accuracy. It copies and shares configurations and confirms they are correct.
  • Scalability is fast and easy, no matter what your dataset size or the number of files.
  • Multiprotocol migrations are a breeze. DobiMigrate copies not only the file content and data but also the metadata, which includes the permissions assigned.
  • It manages scripts and reads logs. No need to look through logs for hours to find an error. DobiMigrate instantly tells you where the errors are (if any).

With DobiMigrate, your valuable data can be successfully migrated to your Isilon storage device(s) with little downtime and no business disruption – faster and easier than any other solution.

Enterprises with large volumes of complex and sensitive unstructured data choose DobiMigrate to manage Dell EMC Isilon migrations. Read their stories.