Data migration appliances offer a new methodology for enterprise storage migration that’s scalable, predictable and eliminates the problems of other data center migration techniques Enterprise storage migration projects are notorious for coming in late, over budget, and causing downtime and slow-downs that disrupt essential business operations. These problems may seem unavoidable, but they are rooted in the methodologies used for these projects. Data migration appliances (DMA) offer a new approach to migration that eliminates many of the toughest challenges and enables scalable, predictable and safe migration that keeps your business running smoothly.

The problem with traditional storage migration

The appliance-powered methodology is a superior, high-performance way to handle enterprise data storage migration, but what makes it superior to more traditional replication architectures? Array- and host-based migration have significant shortcomings that lead to many of the problems companies face.

Array architecture

While array migration reduces the server load and is file-system agnostic, the vendor-supplied migration tools are only designed for replication between arrays from the same manufacturer or a limited range of supported vendors. In addition, it requires expensive replication licenses from the vendor.

And those aren’t the only issues array-based migrations face:

  1. They require server remediation before starting the migration, which negates the option to roll-back in case the migration runs into any issues.
  2. There’s No fallback option after the data migration is completed.
  3. They break existing source array business continuity replication (sync and async).
  4. They do not support migrating concurrent multiple arrays and can’t handle thousands of LUNs and hundreds of servers operating at the same time.
  5. The tools are designed for replication, not migration, so there are many manual steps, no migration throttling, and no monitoring.

Host architecture

Host-based migrations are flexible, but they can be difficult to scale, finicky about OS requirements, and may require disruptive preparation steps such as OS and app updates and server reboots.

It’s a labor- and resource-intensive methodology that businesses often regret. And it’s rife with obstacles like these:

  1. More than a dozen tools are required in typical heterogeneous OS environments.
  2. A business application may span multiple servers, making migration coordination difficult.
  3. Migration consumes considerable system resources — either in the form of CPU, memory or I/O — which causes problems for business apps that depend on it.
  4. It requires server remediation to connect both source and destination storage at the same time. Remediation negates the option to roll-back in case of any problem.
  5. The tools are designed for replication, not migration, so there are many manual steps, no migration throttling, and no monitoring.

Both of these methods are either too narrow for most migrations or require many hours of labor to implement — and even more hours to fix things that were done wrong in the first place.

How appliance-based migration solves those issues and offloads the hard work

Appliance-based data migrations rely on a self-contained, dedicated migration appliance (the DMA). This methodology uses a purpose-built physical tool that plugs into the storage area network (SAN) to handle the processes of data migration. You offload the work from your people and systems onto a solution designed to handle the task backed by a team of data migration experts.

The DMA sits in your SAN and copies raw block data rather than file-level data, which ensures it saves information like LUN configuration and that the environment can be restored if an error occurs.

The appliance maintains source array accessibility during migration, so system resources are not affected and business applications will not suffer performance issues. Appliance-powered migrations can easily be scaled by adding additional appliances to meet almost any deadline.

DMA solutions do not require migration software to run on production servers or storage arrays, which eliminates performance issues due to bandwidth consumption — all equipment, applications and employees can continue operating as usual. Appliance-based software tools also help facilitate a seamless migration by automating labor-intensive management tasks and improving productivity while reducing the potential for human error.

In the end, this is a faster and more uniform way to migrate storage. The appliance is agnostic to operating systems and its transparent source array access allows easy restoration if problems appear in the destination array.

What’s more, appliance migration excels in many tasks that other architectures can’t handle — such as a LUN with millions of small files, SAN boot LUN, VMware RDM LUN, migrating an entire application’s data in one wave, cluster environments, LUN with compressed and de-duped data, and heterogeneous storage migration.

Appliance-based migration is a game-changing, next-generation technology that improves upon existing storage transfer methods in every way.

The Vicom data migration engine

The Vicom engine is a purpose-built data migration appliance powered by proprietary SAN virtualization technology.

The appliance is inserted into the fabric and I/O data flow of your SAN without affecting accessibility of the host system. The existing storage architecture continues as the appliance transfers data at the block level from the source to the destination transparently. If an issue arises, system operation can be changed back to the source storage immediately.

Storage migration can be a complex process with too many business-related implications to attempt as a do-it-yourself project. Vicom’s appliance-based migration is an all-in-one solution that comes with expert migration support, training and troubleshooting.

If you’re ready to hear more, contact us to discuss how appliance-powered migration would solve the unique challenges of your storage network. Vicom’s DMA and consulting services simplify complex data transitions, eliminate uncertainty, and keep projects on schedule. Click here to learn more about the Vicom migration engine and how we can help with your storage migration project.