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Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Migration Toolsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Data Migration Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analysts’ Take

1. Summary

Data migration is hardly a new challenge. Since the dawn of the digital era, organizations have needed to move data, either from older systems to newer ones or across different platforms.

Standardization of infrastructure platforms and storage media has made data migration less painful than it used to be in the jumble of various mainframes and mini computer systems. Furthermore, the introduction of standard file protocols, such as Server Message Block (SMB) and Network File System (NFS) has greatly reduced the complexity of data migrations.

Despite these improvements, data migration still remains a hot topic and a pain point for information technology (IT) teams. Several factors explain the challenges: the adoption of hybrid cloud models impacts data placement and data movement, from on-premises to cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and even data repatriation initiatives. In addition, data migration activities can happen even within a cloud, where data could be migrated, for example, from a hot storage tier to a colder, less expensive storage tier (even to cold, tape-based object storage).

In addition to the operating model, technical challenges can drive the complexity of data migrations. The explosion in data growth leads to much larger data sets, and network throughput becomes a limiting factor (especially for on-premises to cloud migrations), leading to longer migration times. Moreover, the increased span of the migration window can result in larger deltas because by the time a migration task has been completed, the likelihood that source data has changed is high. This state of flux, in turn, requires migration tasks to be run several times until data at the source and target systems is confirmed to be identical and in sync.

Moreover, protocol compatibility can also impact data migration activities. Organizations expect their data to remain unchanged after a migration is completed. Putting aside the obvious necessity to maintain data integrity, metadata also needs to be preserved, regardless of the protocol used. Even within the same protocol, different versions impact feature availability. For some use cases, data may need to be migrated to a platform running a specific NFS version. In other cases, the source system can be end-of-life for many years, with the target no longer supporting the source protocol version.

Even without these hurdles, it is no longer possible to perform data migrations solely by relying on scripts or command-line tools. Migrations require manual monitoring and action in case issues arise.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting an effective data migration platform. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those areas. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading data migration offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these platforms so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.