Insights, Best Practices and Forward Thinking from the Customer Facing Team, Solution Architects and Leaders on Extreme Performance Applications, Infrastructure, Storage and the Real-World Impact Possible

Migration Do's and Dont's

by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on September 15, 2014

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Any IT project will succeed or fail based on the quality of planning, communication and execution: A drama-free data migration is no exception.

Moving line-of-business data sets to new platforms is complex. A botched migration could be potentially devastating to the enterprise. Bringing in all the relevant stakeholders early is critical to a "no surprises" migration. Buy-in and domain expertise on the business side will minimize stress and sleepless nights during the execution phase. It is also critical to establish business ownership of the data being migrated. Knowing who can make the decisions will facilitate a smooth transition.

A simple migration tends to expose a lot of tangentially related issues. Preparation for moving a data set can often expose data quality problems. The data might be incomplete. Organizational disciplines tend to vary over time, and data sets can reflect that.

A data set is a reflection of business practices at a point in time. What gets collected and saved is a function of someone's determination as to what information is useful, but if a business needs to change, and what business doesn't, then discontinuous or irrelevant data sets may be part of the migration discussion. Is it time to archive subsets of data? In other words, the data migration may not be from like-to-like. The migration might have an archive component to it as well, again, adding to the complexity.


Data Migration is not an exercise that turns out well when the execution follows the "ready, Fire, Aim" method. Careful planning, "paper migration" is essential. Does anyone know what the "six P's" stand for?

After planning and executing on paper, testing the migration plan with test data sets is prudent. Risking live data on untested processes is a formula for disaster. Don't do it.

Just as the initial migration path should be "piloted" with test data sets, the load at the other end of the migration should also be tested. More than one IT professional has a horror story about choking the system by trying to load a full production data set all at once and without testing.

So at this point in a migration project, the planning is done, communications are ongoing, ownership and business practices are established and test data sets have proven that the plumbing works.

Before going any further it is worth asking whether the varsity team is handling this mission critical assignment. Are the skills and resources of the team assigned to the project the best available? The answer needs to be yes to prevent all reasonable problems and deal with the unforeseen as the need arises. And are they using the best available tools? An inexperienced migration team may not have the experience to pick the best tools or best practices.


One example of a best practice is the decision to base the migration on the Violin Systems 2510 data migration appliance.

Identified by top money center banks and Fortune 100 enterprises around the world as a critical leverage point in their data migration procedures, the Maestro 2510 installs directly in a Fiber channel SAN Fabric and seamlessly, migrates data as a background process to a Violin Systems 6000 Series All Flash Array or to any block based storage device currently in place.

The Maestro 2510 is a heterogeneous, non-disruptive solution that simply plugs into an existing Fibre Channel SAN and delivers immediate performance improvement. It requires no configuration changes to either the servers or storage and requires no application downtime.

Since the Maestro 2510 passes through all of the write I/Os and status commands, it is completely transparent to all server and storage operations and is able to perform all of its functions without disrupting existing Disaster Recovery and Backup processes.

The Maestro 2510 gives you the power to migrate your data from legacy-based fibre channel SANs to a new storage array – completely in the background – with no disruption to applications. The Maestro 2510 appliance is able to do this through its highly optimized Memory Services Engine. This engine enables data to be transparently migrated from disk to flash while applications continue to operate at accelerated speeds. Once migrated, the legacy arrays can be retired or repurposed for less performance sensitive applications.

The Maestro 2510 fully supports any-to-any data migration. This means that the appliance can be used to seamlessly migrate data from any vendors SAN storage array to any other vendors SAN storage array.