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Data Migration and Simplicity – Like Ice Cream and Hot Fudge

“Combining data migration and simplicity is like ice cream and hot fudge. Once you try it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.”

            – Anonymous

Customer conversations that start around copy data reduction often move quickly to key requirements for data movement. That tends to be further refined to data mobility, agility, migration and consolidation. All are movement, but the timing, sizing and purposes are typically different. The mobility discussions often centers upon user data moving to mobile devices or smallish bi-directional exchanges between local and remote office locations.

Agility tends to be more process or purpose motivated. Say, application development or moving an application and its data to a cloud provider on short notice and then retrieving it once a project is complete.

And the migration/consolidation set combine to service major moves when data needs to be transferred from old to new storage arrays or has several systems combining in a single location or even from multiple data centers to one or more central sites.

The good news is that Actifio can service all of these purposes. And while customers may start with copy data reduction or backup as their central objective the additional data movement options are quickly understood for their importance.

Traditional means for any data movement have relied upon diverse and often complicated tool sets. Most prominent in complexity have been resources to migrate entire applications and data sets from old to new storage systems. And there is no project more certain to drain blood from the face of an IT practitioner than the prospect of consolidating data centers. It’s where the concepts of migration and simplicity haven’t aligned. That’s particularly true where short time windows and restrictive uptime rules apply. Fortunately, Actifio is becoming quite experienced in helping in just this sort of circumstance. While it may not be truly simple, it’s greatly simplified. It’s also demonstrated safe, fast and reliable.

fudge_LIWe had a significant opportunity to prove it earlier this year. A major Insurance Company had completed a merger. The resulting IT infrastructure was a sprawling set of aging legacy platforms and scattered data centers. The newly appointed CIO initiated a major project to blend systems and infrastructure to a new cloud-oriented VMware deployment. It was a huge project that would take place over nine months but with some very precise planning and time constraints governing throughout.

There were five data centers involved. Three existing locations would be blended into one newly commissioned production location and another newly constructed secondary site.

Adding to the fun, some newer applications needed to be maintained as active-active while older apps were active-passive.

Two principles established for the migrations were that downtime be kept to an absolute minimum and that no production storage be physically moved in order to avoid any potential data loss. Timelines were tight at the point of each cutover. Leases were expiring and one data center had been sold. So, each instance was to fit between 2100 on a Friday and 0900 Sunday. Oh, and because of the geographic distances adequate bandwidth between sites was a concern. Might as well make it interesting.

You’ve guessed by now that it all turned out fine. Prior to each data center migration, data was deduplicated and Actifio Dedup Replication was then used to efficiently push all the data to the remote site. Every timeline milestone was hit. No data was lost or corrupted. And best of all, a simple reliable and repeatable process remained in place streamlining the workloads for business-as-usual data movement and protection.

No it wasn’t simple, but it was simply done.

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