Today’s world is digital. Business requires more innovation, new ways to improve the customer experience, and the ability to access company data from any location, in real-time. With advanced digital technologies, businesses are transforming the way they operate. Central to business transformation is the emergence of company data as the most important asset.
Digital Transformation and Data
Digital transformation isn’t an overnight event. It takes strategic planning, investment, and a focused effort on continually evolving technology. At the center of this initiative is data. Servers, databases, and software need to be upgraded to support advanced business initiatives. New storage technologies improve resiliency, performance, and greater accessibility to data.
Once a business embarks on its journey to transform, the specific network elements of the new architecture become incredibly important. To those outside of IT, implementing new storage and migrating the data into that new environment can seem like the “easy part” of the mission. In reality, it is anything but easy. The ability to integrate new digital solutions with existing technology is complex. Additionally, organizations generally have extremely narrow windows of time when their network can be inaccessible. The business can’t stop for IT.
A business-first mindset evolves from always thinking about how your decisions and interim goals help the company execute on its strategy. With this approach, the organization should to examine every stated ambition and question if it is helping achieve the company’s overall strategy. For example, does a move to a cloud environment enable you to provide higher levels of customer support? It seems obvious, but there are plenty of examples where organizations have tried a piece of new information technology because it seemed like the right tactic.
The mindset also applies to the process of bringing new digital technologies online. The goal might be to end your storage lease and migrate to a new environment, thereby avoiding lease fees. The question is how you turn that into reality? Do you force unexpected downtime to meet the deadline? Should you wait for a window to bring the network offline and accrue the extra fees? Can you risk data corruption and try a free data migration approach? It is tempting to jump past these questions, but the right data migration strategy can make a big difference.
One Customer’s Journey
For one major global accounting firm, this was a real struggle. The firm needed to upgrade its aging storage infrastructure, but business considerations meant the company couldn’t absorb any downtime for months. It had to consider the worst-case scenario: An outage due to storage performance issues, incurring huge lease extension fees, or the customer impact from unplanned downtime. Thankfully, CDS was able to provide another option: real-time, non-disruptive data migration.
Prior to final cutover, Cirrus Data’s pMotion capability allows new storage to stand-in for old storage indefinitely. pMotion is particularly useful in scenarios when source storage is failing, lease expiration is imminent, or the maintenance contract is expiring, and adequate downtime for cutover is not available during required service windows. For this firm, pMotion meant the difference between losing money and failing on several goals and a huge success with a positive ROI.
How does pMotion work? After the DMS appliance is inserted into the FC fabric, our patented TDI technology automatically discovers the source LUNs. DMS storage plugin also automatically creates new LUNs by pairing each source LUN and the destination storage. Migration sessions are then created and enabled based on the priority established by the customer. For the account firm’s migration, the performance was over 1GB/sec. Once the initial copy is completed, the pMotion feature is triggered, effectively retiring the old source LUNs and redirecting all the read/writes to the new storage. DMS then emulates the decommissioned storage; the application servers and FC switches still “see” the old storage and datapaths, avoiding the need for downtime to reconfigure each host to see the new storage.
The pMotion migration process is an entirely transparent action and does not impact the production environment. It also allowed this firm to adhere to their timeline, deferring the final server cutover for weeks or even months, as long as the DMS appliances continue to be deployed there was no urgency for the final cutover.
Additional DMS features added to the ease and simplicity of the entire migration project, including auto-discovery, auto-provisioning, and intelligent iQoS. For a more detailed description of these features and how they simplified this migration project, you can read the full case study for this migration.
The technical details for this customer were fascinating. Next week, we will take you further inside this data migration. You’ll get into the technical “weeds” and learn how pMotion works. If you can’t wait, you can also visit our DMS for Data Migration page.