Although most IT experts would acknowledge the importance of data migration (DM) initiatives/strategies, many of them (or whoever is in charge of major IT architecture/infrastructure organisational decisions) fail to produce and implement what Jake Robinson calls a “pre-migration plan”; they may also fail to give them the priority they deserve. Such plans, for example, may include the use of cloud computing and virtualisation strategies as data migration best practices.

Data migration pre-implementation plan strategies

Noting that “a poor migration strategy can be responsible for costly time delays, data loss and other roadblocks on your way to successfully modernising your infrastructure,” Robinson offers some best practices to keep in mind. Such suggestions, however, need to be preceded by pre-implementation strategies—i.e., caveats, reminders and special considerations:

  • Keep in mind your replication, bandwidth, data size and rate of change limitations
  • Beware of limitations of self-replication tools like TDMF, SRDF, or host native volume managers
  • Organisations spend in excess of $5 billion annually on data migration
  • Data migration initiatives feature a dismal 60% failure rate
  • Since data can scarcely be shrunk, the “weight” of the data needs to be taken into consideration
  • Assess apps for data gravity and connectivity parameters, when considering migration to the cloud
  • Select your migration strategy carefully: simple data migration (Tier 1 and 2), probably using replication; machine replication (e.g., stack migration); P2V migration (Tier 2 and 3); and disaster recovery type migration
  • Data to be migrated needs to be considered in relation to apps required.

What are the data migration (DM) best practices using the cloud and virtualisation?

  • DM using the cloud needs to be approached from a team-effort mentality; this should involve network/storage specialists, database administrators, compliance staff, and quality assurance/testing personnel
  • Consider the different types of data (email, calendars, contacts, tasks, sales figures, personnel records, customer information, etc.) when approaching cloud/virtualisation strategies. Each type of data has specific requirements and configuration demands that may need unique handling. How, for example, will you handle in-need-of-deleting data?
  • Shop around for the best DM tools (e.g., MigrationWiz) available; don’t just settle on the first one offered to you
  • The DM strategies may require a hybrid deployment approach
  • Implement a cloud/virtualisation initiative with the appropriate data gravity considerations in mind
  • Know the relationships/associations between all the applications in your system. Are these apps tightly coupled or are they independently operational?
  • Know the advantages/disadvantages of virtualisation. Contrary to what the public thinks, virtualised systems also come with CPU, memory and running speed limitations
  • Don’t overlook securing your virtual systems—the security of which often depends on how well main storage facilities/centres happen to be
  • In fact, avoid the pitfall of treating virtual systems differently than physical ones. Password access, for example, as well as encryption strategies, are important for both systems
  • Make sure “undo,” failover and scale-up strategies/technologies are not misused in your organisation. These areas are sometimes overlooked when virtualisation enters the picture—even though these things can make the organisation vulnerable to back-door/unexpected problems.


Data migration is very important for most organizations these days, especially in light of how cloud computing and virtualisation can make data migration easier and more productive. Nevertheless, by using some simple strategies, you can make sure that all data migration strategies help and not hinder your organisation.