Hitachi Data Systems Jan. 29 introduced new data migration services based on its home-developed virtualization platform that enable enterprises to migrate data between heterogeneous storage systems in the background while servers and applications stay online.
Most data migrations between storage systems, especially between unrelated storage silos, take hours or days to complete and most often must be staged late at night or on weekends when a system is not being used.
Hitachi's new Data Migration Services provide a coalition of consultative services, advanced data movement software and intelligent virtualization controllers to enable difficult data migration projects with virtually no latency and scalability limitations, HDS Vice President of Global Solution Services Hicham Abdessamad told eWEEK.
"We're providing a whole new approach to data migration," Abdessamad said. "Virtualization is now a mature technology, with two and a half or three years in the market. We're leveraging our virtualization platform to do all this heavy lifting, and it happens transparently to all the users on a system."
Of course, there is a certain "performance dip" when system resources are refocused on a data movement project-especially a large one-during a production day, Abdessamad said.
"But it's really hardly noticeable," he said. "All the data movement happens in the background. The alternative of shutting down an entire host storage system in off-hours is much riskier than the real-time service we now have."
Migration and provisioning complexities often require shutting down applications to move data or provision new storage capacity, often costing in excess of $50,000 for each migrated array, according to independent studies conducted by CIO consultancy ITCentrix.
According to IDC, 60 percent of all data centers will relocate over the next five years, primarily for space, power and cooling reasons. Costs related to moving data and making changes to storage infrastructures can be substantial, Abdessamad said.
The Hitachi Data Migration Services portfolio includes GSS Data Migration Consulting and Implementation Services, based on industry best practices; Data Migration Expert Assistant, an advanced application that assists in the planning and execution of data migration to remove the risk of human error and speed the planning process; Tiered Storage Manager, which enables IT administrators to interactively match application quality-of-service requirements to heterogeneous storage assets; and Hitachi Virtualization, used to virtualize and aggregate data from existing storage systems, regardless of vendor, and migrate the data to new storage systems while the production applications continue running.
"Data migrations are never easy, no matter how big the data set is or how prepared a customer is," Brian Babineau, storage analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK. "Easy shouldn't be the focus; risk mitigation-with risk implying minimizing downtime and zero chance of data loss-is of utmost concern. Any customer would forfeit easy in favor of zero risk. The key thing from Hitachi Data Systems is that the services offerings focus on the risk side with products making the process simpler."
EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard-most all the big names have a migration service that they offer, said Tom Trainer, storage analyst with the Evaluator Group.
"HDS differentiates this with using knowledgeable people and the VM [virtual machine] unit," Trainer said. "Most other vendors have options for open-systems data and mainframe data migrations. HDS can cover the bases with this offering and make it easier for the user."
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