Migrating vast quantities of data between storage mediums is more than a simple cut and paste job. Many of the top tech vendors license tools designed to make this process as easy as possible, but each implementation is slightly different. Before choosing the tools for your next data migration, let’s dive into some real-world case studies to see how the most prominent offerings perform.
5 Data migration case studies
1. Tape Ark
Industry: Energy, oil, gas
Use case: Transfer archival data off tapes and on to cloud
Outcome: Smooth, automated transition of massive archive
Tape storage is a highly popular medium for data that is infrequently accessed and stored for archival purposes. One of its challenges is that the nature of the technology removes data from regular workflows, putting it out of sight and out of mind.
This was a problem for the oil and gas industry, where decades of geologic information had been removed from circulation and put into cold storage, making it an inaccessible treasure trove for potential oil prospects. These datasets were transitioned onto tapes as oil rigs, exploration vessels, and other remote facilities migrated their onboard data into a medium that can be transported to the coast—resulting in an archive of millions of tapes.
With the emergence of cost-effective cloud storage, this data found a potential new home that offered AI-driven analysis of huge datasets to produce future exploration candidates. But given the volume of tapes, the real question became—How does the migration actually happen?
Enter Tape Ark, a tape-to-cloud migration service born of the oil industry, now an AWS Select Technology Partner. Under the Tape Ark process, tapes are loaded into a mass tape ingest system called Arkbridge, which begins with scoping out the data sets and projecting the cloud storage needs. Much of the broader system is automated, breaking media down into objects with accompanying JSON metadata manifest files, automated checksums and name validation checks, and the final storage into AWS’s servers.
Despite its strong partnership with AWS, Tape Ark bills itself as cloud-agnostic and able to work with many of the major cloud providers, such as Google and Microsoft Azure. Their technology is highly-scalable and able to handle petabytes (PB) with ease.
Industry: Health care management software
Use case: Transfer administrative back end to cloud
Outcome: Reduction in CapEx costs, smooth transition
AdvancedMD is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company in the healthcare industry, providing data management, billing, patients records, telemedicine, and other practice management softwares to hospitals and doctors’ offices. When they began, AdvancedMD stored much of its data onsite with a NetApp storage array, though the company saw the creation of a cloud data center as its next best step, and elected to move its data into the Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS (a hybrid cloud solution for enterprise). With AWS, AdvancedMD gained infinite scalability, high availability data redundancy (critical for a highly-regulated industry), improved data compression and deduplication of unnecessary data, and automated tiering.
Powering this transition was SnapMirror from NetApp. SnapMirror features a relatively straightforward drag-and-drop interface, enabling rapid data transfer using snapshot copies. The software can operate asynchronously, with regular data replication at predetermined intervals; synchronously, keeping data immediately up to date; or semi-synchronously, with a lag of 10 or so seconds.
SnapMirror is even further simplified through the use of Cloud Manager, a wizard which automatically configures SnapMirror’s relationship with its cloud destination and provisioning the host on the fly. The simplicity of this service enabled AdvancedMD to quickly transfer sensitive data into the cloud and take advantage of enterprise-grade encryption while trading CapEx costs for OpEx.
3. Rossi Residencial
Industry: Real estate development
Use case: Unify financial softwares across multiple systems
Outcome: 50% reduction in hosting costs with no outage during transition
A Brazil-based real estate developer and major construction firm, Rossi Residencial, relied on its SAP solutions for managing its finances, taxes, and other regulatory compliance items. Their systems were spread across three different cloud providers, but the company saw huge cost-savings potential by moving to Google Cloud as its singular provider. This delicate migration needed quick and reliable completion, or the business risked severe interruptions to its processes. Adding pressure to the timetable, their current cloud contracts were coming to a rapid end.
To meet this deadline, Rossi partnered with migration service provider Sky.One, which scoped and mapped the project’s needs, then cloned all Rossi’s existing virtual appliances from its many servers directly onto Google Cloud. The project completed with zero outages in under a month.
The workhorse for this project was Migrate for Compute Engine, a highly-scalable, enterprise-grade migration software designed to reduce downtimes. Before commencing operations, Migrate engages in non-disruptive testing and validation to ensure that production workloads and its data can make smooth transitions with minimal disruption. With the benefit of this tool, Rossi completed the migration without incident, and cut their hosting costs by 50% compared to their previous provider.
Industry: Financial services
Use Case: Absorb dated IT services and modernize
Outcome: 60–70% reduction in IT infrastructure costs
A European financial services provider, AxFina Holding, acquired a leasing company and absorbed the latter’s IT infrastructure. The resulting multinational firm had a sudden demand to uplift its computing services to a new cloud provider—particularly one with an established reputation for regulatory compliance and data security. Its search ended when AxFina decided on Microsoft Azure, a cloud solution the firm projected would reduce recurring infrastructure-related costs by 60–70%. The firm partnered with a regional cloud architect engineering team that specialized in Microsoft Azure data transitions.
On a very tight schedule, the company was able to uplift its data into Azure, following the best practices prescribed by Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework. So satisfied was AxFina with the experience, they have chosen Azure as its cloud service of choice for future expansions the company is eying down the road.
5. Zuellig Pharma
Industry: Health care, pharmaceuticals
Use case: Modernize and optimize aging platform
Outcome: Significant performance improvements in cloud-based service
Asiatic health care company Zuellig Pharma provides services at a global scale, while employing more than 12,000 people. To relocate its data from on-premises centers to the cloud, Zuellig chose a business suite powered by SAP HANA, hosted on Microsoft’s Azure platform. Working with SAP’s enterprise advisory team enabled Zuellig to migrate its data while conducting continuous quality checks for each phase of transfer, ensuring a smooth transition and sustained operations.
SAP’s advisors were also on-hand during the entire process, monitoring the migration for serious issues and resolving them as each problem arose. Their close support made the process fluid and resulted in a cloud-based business platform with an increased application performance of an estimated 66% over Zuellig’s previous, on-site integrations. This type of improved posturing is crucial to Asian markets, which are seeing rapid growth in cloud and edge computing and need every performance optimization they can get along the way.