Succeed with Speed in Data Migration Projects

If you work in the IT department of an organization or employed by an IT service provider, likely you have been involved in a data migration project, which most of the time has a very tight timeline. The question here is how can you meet the timeline? For example, how can you migrate 10 TB of data (structured and unstructured) from System A to System B within 3 months?

It is often said that to succeed in an IT project, you need three things: People, Process, Tool. In this article, I would like to add some insights into some of the underestimated factors that are essential for a successful migration.

When it comes to migration speed, too many people are asking what software to use to have a fast migration speed as if there is a magic tool that can make it happen in the blink of an eye. The reality is the tool does not matter as much. The more crucial factors are the infrastructure and the migration team.

  • Infrastructure. Network latency and bandwidth, Disk I/Os, CPU and RAM etc.. In many of the migration projects I’ve been involved in or learned about, the importance of infrastructure is as often underestimated as it turns out to be the shortest bar of the wooden barrel when all other factors are good. And infrastructure is usually not easy to change compared to other factors. If your infrastructure is not strong enough to support the goal of the project, try to see how you can improve it as much as you can. Otherwise, even if you have a team with superb driving skills, just because the truck you give them is too small to carry the load, you cannot expect the project to complete too soon.
  • People. This is intangible but is also often under-appreciated. (Experienced consultants know what I am talking about). An experienced team would know how best the project can be finished with what’s available at hand. Things are always not perfect. Mastery is about making the most of what you have. Following a user guide step-by-step does not cut it in a migration project with a timeline to commit.

To summarize, to succeed with speed, you need the right PEOPLE, PROCESS and TOOL with a good INFRASTRUCTURE.