Data migration is in danger of becoming increasingly ignored as IT departments struggle to stop ongoing day-to-day IT operations in order to transfer data. The survey, conducted for data migration specialist Kognitio by Vanson Bourne, found that data migration projects are often perceived as too inconvenient and too disruptive to risk shutting down high-availability IT systems.

On average, a resounding 72 percent of respondents felt they could not stop core IT operations for data migration purposes. This is much higher than a previous study last year, which indicates that pressure to maintain system uptime is mounting on IT departments.

However, it seems that this pressure varies between those industries that tend to have systems with better inbuilt redundancy, and those sectors that require a 24/7 operation. For example, in the financial services sector, which tends to have highly-redundant systems and hence can fairly easily take one system down in order to carry out data migration tasks while the other continues to serve the organisation, only 58 percent of respondents said they would find it difficult to stop their IT systems to migrate data.

But when the survey looked at the retail, distribution, and transport sectors, this figure to rose to 79 percent, as those businesses often operate online shopping facilities and web-based tracking systems, where applications need to run 24/7. It is the same story in the manufacturing sector, where 76 percent of respondents believed that halting IT operations was a challenge.

And it seems that the size of companies does not affect the results much either, with very little difference reported between a company with between 1,000 to 3,000 staff (74 percent said yes it would be difficult to stop core IT systems) and a company that employs over 3,000 staff (71 percent said yes).

The survey of 100 IT decision-makers in the UK found that the immediate loss of revenue by shutting down IT operations is often too great an impact on the company bottom line. This is despite the fact that in some cases a successful data migration or platform rationalisation project leads to a more streamlined IT environment.

The survey results are perhaps a sign of how heavily modern organisations rely upon IT infrastructure. Data migration tasks should ideally be automatic, but unfortunately projects such as these are often required when organisations change computer systems or upgrade to new systems, which can still be a labour-intensive process.