Rapid growth through mergers or acquisitions leads to inconsistencies in data storage. The complicated logistics of merging two or more sets of data together to provide a “single view” of the new company can be a nightmare for any IT department. For one global healthcare company, aggressive growth plans resulted in this conundrum, generating concerns about application performance, data center sprawl, broken disaster recovery strategies, and lost productivity. After an extensive review, the decision was made to move from a Dell EMC and NetApp environment to a more cohesive HPE 3PAR architecture.

This was not a simple data migration project by any means. The state of the existing storage environment was not conducive to data migration, as three separate SAN islands would have to be collapsed into a single dual-fabric SAN, a process that would require replacing several old Brocade switches during the migration. Considering the extremely complicated environment, the data migration solution also had to be flexible enough to migrate the disparate storage arrays onto a single array with very little downtime. Additionally, with sensitive consumer healthcare information being involved, a focus on security was unquestionable.

Cirrus Data Solutions (CDS) worked with multiple partners on this project. Sayers and HPE managed the deployment of the 3PAR and new Brocade switches. As these activities were being conducted, the Headwaters Group worked with the customer to plan and execute the data migration as well as perform ongoing configuration of the new Brocade switches and 3PAR array during the final cutover.

There are three key phases in any successful migration, and this is especially true when the existing storage environment is complicated. To have a successful migration, you must:

  1. Develop a migration plan through discovery.
  2. Decide between a host-based or controller/appliance-based approach to data migration.
  3. Carefully develop a plan for final cut-over, where client hosts are disconnected from old storage and connected to the new storage with migrated data.

Keeping these three phases in mind, the partners worked closely together to develop a seamless migration plan that would include a focus on migrating data from existing arrays onto the new platform. This was a lengthy coordinated process that required work from all partners and CDS to outline a holistic architecture and delivery perspective. The healthcare company chose an appliance-based approach using Cirrus Data’s Data Migration Server (DMS). By harnessing the strengths of DMS, the migration was streamlined, eliminating the complexity.

Prior to cut-over, the team created a test environment onsite to document and practice the procedure before performing it on the production environment. Thanks to this rehearsal, the migration session and cut-over occurred without a single problem. Cirrus Data worked in the background by coordinating with the customer through their procedures and scheduling requirements to determine downtime and outage windows, the entire migration took place without disruption to the customer.

Throughout the entire project, the Headwaters team was able to validate that each step of the process was error-free, due to the reporting capabilities within DMS. Each migration report revealed that all data had migrated and verified properly, with no errors, no security breaches, and no loss of data. A positive ROI was achieved, and this healthcare giant could now focus on improving lives and continuing its business growth without concerns of its storage environment impacting these initiatives. The customer was extremely satisfied with the results of this project. To learn more about this and other Cirrus Data customer engagements check out our case studies.