Transform Data Migration: From An IT Headache To A Business Opportunity

Data migration generally involves the transfer of data between systems when changing storage, computer systems, data formats or applications. This brief focuses on the different forms of storage migration and how Primary Data’s DataSphere software platform can be leveraged to non-disruptively change, add, upgrade or tier the storage serving your data. In addition to simplifying migrations, DataSphere can also deliver significant savings by lowering the operational expenses associated with migrations, elongating the life of physical assets, and enabling organizations to procure and finance storage in new ways.

  • Non-disruptively change, add, upgrade or tier the storage serving your data
  • No Application impact while migrating data between storage systems
  • Gain flexibility and save budget by leasing storage


Many vendors make a business of out of upselling new storage devices to customers every few years. While these upgrades usually deliver new features to customers, few IT teams look forward to a migration. DataSphere allows IT to ease or eliminate the common issues associated with data migrations. Once DataSphere is in place, organizations are no longer faced with the headache of planning and performing multiple steps to minimize disruption or downtime when migrating storage systems. Those issues include performing disruptive or destructive upgrades to existing storage systems, moving active or critical data to a more performant storage tier, or pushing less active data down to a lower cost storage resource. With DataSphere, IT no longer has to stop access to data by halting applications, manually copy data to the new storage and reconfigure, then restart the applications.

Not only do migrations typically take months of planning, but storage migrations also consume a large portion of IT’s budget and resources. Many enterprises have taken a remedial approach by creating symbolic links (symlinks) to give an alias a name and location for a file. In actuality, the alias references a different target file or directory path that allows the movement of data to different locations. This approach is highly vulnerable to rogue activity, broken links/paths and permissions. In all data migration cases, DataSphere can make the effort of moving data completely transparent to applications.


DataSphere is a metadata engine designed to separate the architecturally rigid relationship between applications and storage to achieve unprecedented improvements in performance, efficiency and scalability. It leverages the latest advancements in NFS 4.2 environments natively or can be deployed with DataSphere Extended Services (DSX) in legacy NFS v3, SMB 2.1 and 3.x environments to gain insight into how an application makes use of its data. With this knowledge, DataSphere can place or move data to different storage types or tiers without disrupting an application’s access, even while the data is in flight.


When utilizing DataSphere to retire aging or older equipment, IT has several options that are not available with traditional migration tools. Decommissioning is simple and can take place with a single action, such as changing policies for the store or by throttling the capacity of the storage volume. Data no longer has to flow from array to array and can move seamlessly to several destinations at once. IT can choose to allow DataSphere to automatically place the data according to the best fit as defined by configured policies. IT also has the ability to override policies and fully control where data migrates through simple configuration options. DataSphere can also extend an older storage investment by scaling out for more capacity and performance. With DataSphere’s file granular approach, a user can prescribe particular methods down to a file or directory level to best match the needs of the application and business purpose. Regardless of method employed by the administrator and DataSphere, data is moved non-disruptively with no impact to applications. The data movement process also ensures that the bandwidth used for migration is not disruptive to applications or the storage systems involved.

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Figure 1 - DataSphere enables IT to automate the flow of data to the right resource at the right time, across different types of storage and the cloud..


Storage tiering is just another form of storage migration with a finer granularity. Using DataSphere’s objectives and the varying performance attributes of the mounted storage types, data is placed or moves between tiers to meet an administrator’s business goals. These new capabilities improve the efficiency, performance, and scalability of software applications. DataSphere’s unique architecture allows for migrations to occur while files are open and data is actively being accessed. DSX Data Movers will ensure all reads and writes to data are completed atomically even when the data is in flight to the target tier.

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Figure 2 - DataSphere aligns IT-defined data objectives with the native capabilities of existing and new storage resources across attributes such as performance, price and protection.


Until now, adding and removing pools of storage beyond a single silo or array was difficult. With DataSphere, enterprises can now consider easily leasing storage short term, whether on premise or in the cloud. Data can freely move without application interruption to newly leased storage, as well as off of end-of-lease storage. These options give IT unprecedented flexibility in trying new storage technologies without long term commitments that lock IT into paying as the data grows.


With DataSphere, admins can select the specific storage capabilities required to meet business needs. These objectives can be applied to single files, directories, or shares to provide unprecedented control. DataSphere analyzes if objectives are being met and will automatically move data to maintain compliance and tier data between different storage devices to meet performance, cost or reliability requirements. DataSphere enables leasing storage for new levels of price-performance storage options. Data migrations no longer have to be a stressful event and instead become a business opportunity for IT to add value by optimizing infrastructure use to meet changing data demands.

Calculate Your Savings Use the Primary Data TCO Calculator on our web site to see how much DataSphere might save you.

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