Storage migration is a challenging project that puts even veteran data center management to the test. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure your next migration project runs without a hitch.

Any time you move data between storage devices, locations, systems, or even to a private cloud, it’s a complicated and precarious undertaking. A botched storage migration can lead to months of delays and embarrassing failures that leave mission-critical databases slow or inaccessible for hours at a time. Worse, the compromises caused by a failing project can be difficult to predict and may lead to lost data, slow service, frustrated employees and disappointed customers.

Many companies expect their storage migration to go smoothly, and only find out once they’re deep into it that something went wrong and the whole project must be restarted. Some companies go through four or five failed migration projects before they realize they need expert help and dedicated tools to solve their problems.

The performance imperative: Why storage migration is essential and beneficial

Data is the lifeblood of modern business, but the whole storage architecture requires management, maintenance and eventual upgrades or complete re-architecture. In that process, many circumstances may call for a storage migration project:

  • Business mergers, transformations, outsourcing or insourcing, etc.
  • Data center relocation or consolidation
  • Transferring data to or from a private cloud
  • Technology Refresh of an existing system
  • Advancing technologies like NVMe, all-flash arrays and hybrid flash arrays

If a data center has not migrated to new technology in 3 to 5 years, simply upgrading equipment could lead to 5- to 10-times better performance and reduced operating costs. What’s more, if the technology is more than 5 to 7 years old, it may be obsolete and present serious risks as hardware runs out of warranty and software and firmware ceases to be supported.

Whatever motivates your migration, it’s imperative to find a way to transfer the data without impacting operations.

When storage migration projects go wrong

Most methods of data migration are unpredictable. Two out of every three wind up late, over budget, or facing obstacles that result in a negative impact on business processes and workflows:

  • 85% of these projects exceed planned staff time
  • 61% exceed planned downtime
  • 54% go over budget

Unpredictability makes migration projects a major data center expense. Hitachi research found that the costs of enterprise migration projects often exceed 200% of the cost to acquire the storage capacity it’s migrating into. InfoPro found that migrations represented 60% of all large IT projects.

Beyond costs, a poorly executed migration can damage your data architecture. Two of the biggest risks are data loss and downtime:

Data loss

“Data gravity” is a term that describes how data attracts other data as it grows, how it’s integrated into a business, and how it changes via customization over time. The interdependent nature of data and how it works with other information in the system means any loss during migration can lead to a ripple effect of performance issues with potentially catastrophic results.

Although you may be able to restore files via backup, missing data may go unnoticed until a user or application needs it. That’s why it’s essential to implement a migration methodology and project architecture that addresses all the potential obstacles before finalizing your migration architecture. A data migration specialist should vet the project plan for potential failure points and at-risk data relationships.


Research from Enterprise Strategy Group found that 69% of enterprise businesses could not tolerate more than 1 to 4 hours of downtime for their critical applications, and 36% could not even tolerate an hour without access to data. In examining the hidden costs of data migration, IBM found that 83% of data migrations experience problems, and downtime was the #1 issue reported.

It can be tempting to try an in-house data migration, but the cost of extended downtime, data loss, or delays will be likely more expensive than hiring outside help from the start.

A better and faster way to migrate your data

Many of the issues plaguing data migration stem from lack of proper preparation, planning and project expertise.

Data centers have been subject to years of budget cuts and outsourcing that undermined their technical capabilities. Making matters worse, many of these projects are done with tools supplied by the manufacturers or hacked together by internal staff. Neither of these solutions provides a stable platform for a successful enterprise storage migration.

A successful storage migration starts with a detailed project scope and planning process that examines not just migration needs, but also the data gravity and potential obstacles. Most enterprise IT departments do not perform these moves often enough to justify full-time migration specialists on staff, so it makes sense to look outside the company for expert consultants who can bring focus to the project.

At Vicom, we’ve built a team of data migration experts who specialize in these projects. They architect data migration solutions full-time for clients of every size with every storage network configuration. They identify potential problem areas specific to your system configuration and ensure the project runs on-schedule with minimum business disruption and no data loss.

In addition to expertise, Vicom’s solution is built on a unique data migration appliance (DMA) that shifts the burden off your internal resources and takes the guesswork out of storage migration. It enables fully scalable, predictable and fast storage migrations that eliminate downtime and hidden expenses.

When you’re ready to get your data migration on track, schedule a time to talk about what Vicom’s total migration solution can do for you.