Tips to Avoid Unforeseen Challenges and Pitfalls of Free and Legacy Data Migration Software

By Special Guest
Daniel Esposito, Director of Global Alliances, Datadobi
  |  August 21, 2020

Free is not always the best value. Yes, we might enjoy things like coupons, free mobile games, and complimentary perks on our long flights, however when it comes to data migration, data integrity and TCO/ROI, ‘free’ really just means your costs and risk are shifted elsewhere.

There are times when free is the right choice for a data migration. However, there are many migration projects that require proven, enterprise-class software products to provide organizations with increased speed, efficiency, data integrity, automation, and robust support systems and teams to ensure the success of the migration.

Luckily, there is a growing market in enterprise-class migration solutions. Before you embark on your next data migration project, let’s take a look at some considerations for choosing which software is the best option for your needs.

Speed and Efficiency of Migrations

In today’s always-on culture, migrations can’t take months or years. Data migration needs to be timely and efficient. Time is money, and the speed and efficiency of your data migration project has a direct impact on your department’s human and financial resources.

Time and again I’ve seen vendors struggle with maintaining their customer relationship because the data migration tool they were using was taking months to copy data, was failing months into the project, and was causing the customer to, understandably, be less than satisfied. Why? Free tools were designed decades ago when unstructured data was small and unimportant.

An enterprise migration tool needs to be designed to handle petabytes of data and billions of files. It should deploy massive parallelization to scan and copy data well beyond a few threads. It should be able to track billions of files in a clean and efficient manner without overconsuming resources or crashing.

Integrity of the Data

The integrity of your data is equally important to how quickly the task can be completed. Maintaining the integrity of the data means keeping regulatory and privacy considerations top of mind when migrating. The growing number of compliance laws like HIPPA, GDPR, etc. have made handling data increasingly difficult for organizations. For example, according to a recent AlixPartners survey, 90 percent of corporate lawyers found that data security and information governance have become crucial issues to their organization in the last several years.

Most freeware doesn’t offer content validation and external validation tools take two-to-three times as long as the original migration. This delay makes them impractical and thus rarely used during a customer outage. This can make data susceptible to vulnerabilities during the migration process and leaves your organization open to lawsuits, compliance and regulatory complaints, and potentially hefty legal fees and financial penalties. In the long term, these tools can greatly increase risk to your organization.

To ensure the highest level of data integrity, an enterprise-class migration solution needs to perform validation on every file it touches. It should also document this validation through robust reporting that can seamlessly be delivered to the customer for safekeeping in the event of an audit or a lawsuit.

Automated Migration for Business Continuity

For migration software to be fast and efficient while maintaining data integrity and regulatory compliance, the software must feature end-to-end automation capabilities. Automation needs to drive everything from discovery and assessment, to job creation and remediation, to cutover and post-migration reporting. These capabilities reduce complexity for migrations with multiple sources or destinations, thousands of paths, billions of files, and highly regulated data.

Free tools are simply not built to handle automation at this scale—most, if not all, processes need to be handled manually. This involves dedicated resources spending endless hours scouring through data sheets, manually creating script after script after script. This time-consuming and error-prone process needlessly lengthens the migration processes and increases risk.

You Need Support During a Migration

Often overlooked, a great support team is essential to ensuring a successful migration. Among crucial reasons data migrations fail are lack of both proper guidance and a clear project roadmap. There is no perfect technology and end-users will always need help navigating obstacles. This means having a knowledgeable and committed support team available any time, day or night.

When choosing a data migration solution, look for options that offer standard inclusion of built-in and proactive support structures and teams. Consider asking your vendor if they provide end-to-end support, including walking you through the initial configuration and ensuring your team is utilizing best practices, or availability during cutover windows in the event you might have a question or concern.

Who Needs Enterprise-class Migration Software?

Enterprise-class migration software is designed for businesses and organizations operating complex migrations to move large amounts of data with both minimal effort and limited business disruption. If your business is in a regulated industry—such as finance, healthcare, or legal—then enterprise-class software is needed to protect the integrity and compliance of your data during migration.

When choosing a migration software for your next unstructured data migration project, ensure that the solution has all the necessary attributes required in an enterprise-class software and that you avoid the pitfalls of cutting corners with free or inadequate solutions.

About the author:  As Director of Global Alliances for Datadobi, Daniel Esposito is responsible for planning and executing programs that enable Datadobi’s strategic partners to increase technology sales and services engagement, in order to drive rapid growth and increased profitability. Prior to Datadobi, Esposito held senior technical positions with global technology leaders NetApp, Dell (News - Alert), IBM, Brocade and EMC, as well as with some of the world’s most well-known and highly respected brands including Volvo, Hanes Brands Inc., and Sara Lee. 

Edited by Erik Linask
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