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Data Migration Between Backup Software Solutions

The Legacy Backup Software Dilemma – 'Do Nothing'

The IT landscape continues to evolve rapidly as the movement to the cloud, big data, and the proliferation of applications to support lines of business needs change. On top of this, the number and type of devices being supported continues to expand while data keeps growing exponentially. Applications need to be agile to move with the ever-increasing speed of business while always being up (requiring little to no downtime). While reviewing your corporate IT strategy, the one part of the infrastructure that hasn’t kept pace with technology is your legacy backup software. It was the right decision at the time, however your IT landscape has evolved, and the backup software is not meeting your application needs today, and won’t meet your future business requirements. You’ve looked at moving from your legacy software before, however there have typically been three primary approaches to switching between backup platforms:

Data Migration Between Backup Software Solutions
  • Full Data Copy Migration
    Or “Full Migration,” which relies on manually re-hydrating all old data from the source platform to a landing zone (or “swing storage”), and re-ingesting it into the new target platform.
  • Managed Service
    A 3rd party will take ownership of the infrastructure and operate the platform independently.
  • Small Instance
    Maintain a “reduced footprint” of the legacy platform, to perform ad-hoc restores; usually accompanied by limited or ad-hoc vendor maintenance.

All of the approaches can quickly escalate, in terms of professional service cost and time to execute, depending on the overall size of the migration. Alternatively, there is frequently a large amount of risk assumed by you, resulting in higher overall cost of transferring backup platforms. Resulting in you accepting your legacy software, flaws in all, and “doing nothing.”

Commvault’s approach to migration is modern and is truly differentiated by having a portfolio of service offerings that can be tailored to the business value of your data, dramatically reducing cost and migration time. Let us show you how we’re different through our approach to data value:

  • Mission critical data – by using intelligent inspection we can determine if historical data is included in the current operational protection, therefore we can reduce and even eliminate any migration cost (or time). With the first backup job in Commvault, all data will be migrated with a $0 migration cost.
  • Low or unknown business value data – When we speak to customers, the majority of their data (90%+) is kept stored “just because” or for “compliance” reasons, and they expect to only restore less 1% of the data through the lifecycle. Therefore, spending time and resources on data that is low or unknown business value isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a priority. Instead, we focus on providing “access” to data instead of migration. Examples of providing access would be through keeping a small instance of the legacy software or subscribing to a restore on-demand service (ie. no hardware or software needed by you). Each option is substantially less than migrating data and can be done in days, versus weeks and years through a traditional migration.

Commvault® Trusted Migration Methodology

At Commvault, we’ve heard this same story from so many customers, trapped by switching costs, and accepting a sub-par experience. Commvault has a better way that can get you out of your legacy backup software and on to a modern data management platform through our Trusted Migration Service Methodology:

  1. Discover - Gather data about your environment to scope and recommend migration strategies
  2. Strategize – 1- to 2-hour workshop that introduces all possible migration options, grouping data by business value, in order to determine the most appropriate, efficient and cost-effective strategy
  3. Define - Design the new Commvault backup platform for your environment
  4. Plan - Develop project plans for server-by-server migration, and map the old configuration to the new Commvault configuration for automated deployment
  5. Migrate - Execute migration services to move from your legacy platform to Commvault

Understand All Your Migration Options

The reality is that every migration is different; there is not a single tool that can effectively cover each and every use case. Because of this, Commvault has developed a portfolio of Migration Services, in order to provide the “right” service for each use case. Before engaging in a Commvault Migration Options Workshop, it’s not unusual to think a single migration strategy covers all types of data and that all data must be moved. Typically, the presumption is that the only option is manually imported from the old source system, put to a landing zone or swing space, and then re-ingest into Commvault. Our experience tells us not all data has the same business value and through intelligent data inspection, only a fraction of data will need to be migrated.

  1. Configuration - Maps the old configuration to the new Commvault configuration and automatically deploys using Commvault Workflow technology
  2. On-Demand - A managed, ad-hoc restore service (all legacy software & hardware can be decommissioned)
  3. Archives - Moves data from old source email archives into Commvault
  4. Tapes - Converts physical tape formats
  5. Full Service - Orchestrates and automates the rehydration of the legacy application and old data and ingests into Commvault

Migration Options Workshop – How to apply which migration service offering to a dataset

The Migration Options Workshop is a highly valued consultative service that is conducted onsite with a typical duration of 2 hours or more. Approximately, 1-2 weeks later Commvault will deliver the executive presentation outlining Commvault’s recommended Migration Strategy. After engaging Commvault and participating in the workshop, you should expect an executive summary presentation that would include:

  • Current State Environment
  • Business Value Grouping
  • Recommended Migration Services by Business Value of Data
  • High Level Plan & Timeline
  • Next Steps & Actions

A key component of the Migration Option Workshop is data grouped by business value and the right migration service - aligned to meet the business requirements, where data is grouped into one of the four quadrants (shown in the figure below).

  1. Operational - Backups retained for day-to-day restoration requirements; usually retained for less than 90 days.
  2. Long-term - Backups retained for historical, archive, or compliance purposes; usually retained for greater than a year (up to and including unlimited retention).
  3. 0-24 Hour - Data that will need to be restored in less than 24 hours; usually data with high business value.
  4. 24 Hours+ - Data that will be restored within 24 or more hours; usually data with low or unknown business value.

Opportunities to Save on Migration Costs and Reduce Operation Needs

The largest opportunity to save on migration costs is not to move historical or archive data that is already being protected operationally. The primary use case is databases, because historical data is rarely purged or edited. Therefore the database backup that was taken last night contains all the historical data, so there is no need to migrate the historical backup jobs saving lots of time and money. There is another benefit by intelligently inspecting data, since historical data is never purged, you no longer need to keep data in Commvault for long-term retention, saving you even more money by reducing long-term storage costs.

Don’t Spend Money Moving Data You Don’t Need Spend Less on Current Protection
Database Databases rarely purge historical data Arrow_Right_Blue Historial and new data is being backed up each day. No need for long-term retention infrastructure
Actionable_Data Application data repositories grow without pruning Arrow_Right_Blue Implement archiving/incremental policy to only protect data once instead of backing up stale data everyday
Sad_Cloud Destory old data that has no owner and is not identifiable Arrow_Right_Blue Data that is no longer retrievable is creating unnecessary risk especially when ownership is not identifiable

Migration Options Workshop Summary

After conducting a migration options workshop, the first reaction we almost always get is “we didn’t know those options were available and we only have to migrate a fraction of the data to switch to Commvault.” The pie chart below shows a representative distribution of data to migration services. Commvault generally finds that approximately 5-10% data is mission critical and needs to be accessible quickly when needed.


These mission critical datasets are where time, effort, and costs are focused to migrate in Commvault. The balance of the data that may be low or unknown business value, Commvault works extremely hard to minimize cost by migrating a little (or no) data as much as possible or simply by providing “access to data” through the On-Demand migration service. Taking this hybrid migration service approach dramatically reduces the cost of change to Commvault versus copying all data to Commvault software.

At Commvault, we stress to our customers the importance of data management and that not all data has the same business value. By understanding the business value of data and aligning the right migration services to the value of that data costs can be reduced. Further intelligent inspection of your data may find you may not need to migrate any data at all because by simply switching and backing up with Commvault software the first time, all the historical data with be ingested. Commvault can help you get out of your legacy backup application and switch to Commvault’s modern data management platform to protect your new agile IT landscape. Talk to Commvault today on how Commvault can help you manage your data today, in the future, and migration options to make switching to Commvault software even easier.

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Commvault’s data migration service lets you move your data and applications easily and economically into a single data protection environment with minimal disruption to end users. Contact us to learn more.