Realizing the potential of data to transform effectiveness, efficiency, and competitive advantage has become central to the business and IT strategies of organizations across every sector. Failure to do so means the risk of missing out on insights that can deliver the disruptive edge so valued in boardrooms across the country.
The problem is, organizations pursue data-centric strategies using technology infrastructure and solutions that are ill-equipped to deliver the levels of insight required. Indeed, many have valuable data that is locked in storage solos, hosted on everything from traditional storage technologies to fully outsourced service providers in the cloud. This does little to facilitate data mobility—an essential part of an approach which determines how well businesses can access and action their data assets.
Some data center leaders look to address the challenges of data mobility by partnering with multiple vendors, leveraging hybrid strategies that can deliver the flexibility required to effectively use their data. This can offer a route to rapid and effective adaptability and scalability, which in turn, delivers the mobility, flexibility, and accessibility required to profit from data
However, many of the data storage systems in common use today do not offer the seamless access and extraction capabilities required to deliver mobility. This problem is exacerbated by technologies that are frequently incompatible. The result is that organizations are prevented from understanding and managing their unstructured file and object data. Instead, they must contend with unrestricted, unstructured data silos which fail to support wider business objectives.
In attempting to build systems that facilitate data mobility, IT leaders face competing issues. On the one hand is the opportunity, driven by management teams that quite understandably want to exploit the power of data for bottom-line benefit. On the other hand, however, are the risks associated with compliance and data protection issues, where high-profile failures regularly make the headlines and cost businesses millions.
The day-to-day, practical challenges of delivering data mobility are numerous. For instance, key functions such as data archiving suffer from a lack of mobility, which becomes apparent when IT teams receive requests for access to archived or backed up data or, as is even more impractical, requests to retrieve an old version of an accidentally deleted file. In addition, many companies are not in a position to classify and categorize their data, and do little to create data migration, archival, or deletion processes. As a result, their levels of unstructured data grow dramatically to petabyte scale or even beyond, and in these circumstances, storage capacity is rarely the primary issue.
More challenging for many storage administrators is the almost inevitable need to work with a wide variety of storage protocols in common use, only adding to the issues around data protection, governance, and security. As a result, IT leaders see little option other than to revert to a familiar playbook: Never delete any data, keep all file and object data where it is, and face the inevitable consequence of continually growing the infrastructure and adding to storage cost. While this might offer a short-term fix, it only serves to exacerbate the problems caused by data silos, and no amount of infrastructure investment will alleviate this inherent absence of mobility.
Effective Data Migration Holds the Key to Mobility
Any IT team that finds itself "trapped" by this lack of data mobility is far from alone. The way forward lies in practical and proven solutions that offer organizations the ability to mobilize their data assets in the right place at the right time, and with the flexibility to reorganize and move it around whenever they require. In doing so, they must also focus on the delivery of flexible protection for different types of data, effective archiving, data immutability through WORM (write once, read many), and compliance with regulatory and legal obligations.
Effective data migration offers the solution to this collection of mobility challenges. But, building an effective migration strategy requires an understanding of how vendors build their systems, their strengths and weaknesses, and the issues associated with inter-vendor compatibility. Organizations armed with this information available are in a much stronger position not only to categorize their data and define a data lifecycle, but to move their data to the best location to meet business needs.
To ensure migration delivers the levels of data mobility required, IT leaders should identify the appropriate data migration software that will enable them to discover, plan, execute, and report on the process. This ensures that an effective migration process can take place because all the best practices that make a migration work—including analysis and planning, execution, and verification and support—can be guided by the software.
Mobility at the Core
Any organization that attaches sufficient importance to its data strategy must ensure that mobility remains a core part of its strategy and capabilities. Effective migration can bridge the gap between infrastructure, protocols, and growing data volumes to deliver access to data that helps businesses to move forward with confidence.