What to look for in cloud data migration tools

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The DMS should easily migrate data between heterogeneous Fibre Channel- and iSCSI-connected storage arrays from virtually all storage infrastructures. The flexibility to migrate data from one vendor's storage array to another vendor's storage array, local or remote, allows users to choose a cloud provider without regard for the type of storage system that provider uses. It maintains a heterogeneous infrastructure. Here are specific requirements for a solution.

• The DMS should provide flexible data migration capabilities for Fibre Channel- and iSCSI-connected storage arrays in various storage configurations, local or remote, including: Fibre Channel to Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel to iSCSI, iSCSI to Fibre Channel, iSCSI to iSCSI.

• With support for heterogeneous storage, the DMS should be the only data migration tool users will need -- regardless of the brands of storage that exist in the cloud. The DMS should work in a data center environment today and into the future, providing efficiency and cost savings.

• The DMS should support the broadest range of storage arrays from HP, IBM, Dell, EMC, NetApp, HDS, Fujitsu, Xiotech and others.

• The DMS should allow for simultaneous Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE, and Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) connectivity to heterogeneous storage arrays. It should provide excellent data migration performance and routing across heterogeneous SAN fabrics running 2Gb, 4Gb, and 8Gb Fibre Channel, as well as iSCSI connectivity running 1GbE and 10GbE.

• The solution should support SANs from all major vendors, including Brocade, McDATA, Cisco and QLogic. It should provide investment protection for legacy infrastructure and the flexibility to invest in future technology.

• For cloud computing data centers in multiple locations, a DMS should provide IT managers the flexibility to migrate data online with just one disruption to the application when moving to the new storage system. Users should also be able to perform an offline migration during scheduled downtime for maintenance.

• The DMS should have the capability to support thick-to-thin provisioning across different array types. Thin provisioning, in a shared storage environment, is a method for optimizing the use of available storage. It relies on the on-demand allocation of data blocks, versus the traditional method of upfront allocation of all the blocks.

• In addition, the DMS should provide user-friendly migration management through either a wizard-driven GUI tool or CLI scripting. Users should be able to easily configure, manage and monitor data migration projects remotely, and create a log that can be printed out after the migration has been completed.

• In fact, a DMS should provide the flexibility of several job-scheduling options, allowing users to complete the time-consuming task of configuring data migration jobs without requiring any downtime. The different I/O size capabilities for migration jobs enable users to tune the storage array's performance during sequential read/write operations. A load-balancing option would simplify data migration from older-generation, lower-speed arrays, such as 2Gb and 4Gb Fibre Channel arrays, to higher-speed 8Gb arrays.

Data migration to the cloud is playing a more strategic and prominent role in the data center. However, data migration is a complex and time-consuming task that cannot be regarded lightly. A DMS enables the IT manager to use a single solution to migrate data in the most complex cloud computing environments. The heterogeneous technology enables data and application migrations to be flexible and efficient to a large infrastructure of storage arrays, multi-vendor switches, multi-protocol networks, and multiple operating systems.

Lower solution cost, a smaller migration window, enterprise high availability, flexibility and efficiency supporting heterogeneous environments are the primary reasons users choose a DMS for data migration to the cloud and for solving the data center dilemma.

This story, "What to look for in cloud data migration tools" was originally published by Network World.

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