Services and integration supplier Morse has released a Vanson Bourne survey of 100 enterprise IT Managers showing that 66 percent of them think data loss or corruption is their greatest fear when migrating data. Some 73 percent want a risk-free way to migrate data to avoid vendor lock-in.

The research found that this fear is so extreme that over one third (39 percent) of IT managers have avoided taking on a data migration project specifically because of the perceived risks involved. This is despite the fact that, as a result, the business would
not be able to take advantage of new storage technology and products on the market, which could make storage easier to manage and even save money.

Along with data loss or corruption, over half (52 percent) of the IT managers surveyed also said that concern about network downtime during the migration would be playing on their minds and would prevent them from taking on a data migration project.

Morse reckons that these IT managers are effectively locked in to their disk storage suppliers and suffering as a result. Wes van den Berg, a storage consultant at Morse, said: "It's understandable that IT managers have developed a phobia about migrating business data. However, they shouldn't let this fear stand in the way of the advantages of new technology that could reduce the amount of time and money needed to manage business data. Today's businesses can't afford to be locked into one vendor's technology when there are so many different options and new features available."

73 percent of IT managers admitted they would be prepared to tackle data migration if there was a risk-free way to migrate their data to and from any vendor's storage device to free them from being locked into one vendor's technology and to allow them to take advantage of new storage devices and technology.

Reasons for wanting to migrate data if they could include storage consolidation, disaster recovery, information lifecycle management and compliance.

Is there a way out of this cul de sac? Morse thinks so; Van den Berg says: “Clearly, IT managers are crying out for a way to help them tackle data migration so that it's no longer seen as something to be filed away in the 'too hard' basket.  To avoid being locked into one vendor's technology, businesses need to partner with a company that can take them through all the steps of a successful storage migration" etc., etc.

Why use Morse?
Now we get to the point of the survey. The survey is Morse code for ‘use Morse’.

Morse has used the survey to show that there is a need for a service that Morse provides. Fair enough. But why should customers bother with Morse at all? Why shouldn’t they just buy one of Softek’s great data migration products?

Wes van den Berg said: “As Softek is an ISV, it will only provide the migration software – it does not provide services so it cannot advise, support or do the data migration for you. Businesses can't reduce the risks if they don't have the right skills in-house to do the migration and if busy IT managers don't have time to sit down and spend time fully understanding how to use all the features of the software they are using for the migration. This is where outsourcing the audit, design and physical migration can help."

There is a possible cost advantage too, according to van den Berg: “Unlike (with) Softek, IT managers selecting Morse for their data migration will not have to actually buy the software package being used for the migration”

Granted but the customers will, of course, have to pay Morse for the data migration service. What does Morse actually do if asked to run or advise on a data migration though?

“Morse has a testing facility which allows it to replicate the customer's existing and new environments in order to perform test runs of the data migration in a safe environment before the migration goes live. This allows the migration to be finely honed and tweaked until the time taken to migrate the data is reduced down to the fastest possible, and to run different scenarios until any risks are removed.”

In fact Morse shouldn’t be seen as a competitor to Softek: “Morse is a partner of Softek and uses its software as one of the possible tools to do a data migration.”

Customers could use Morse for initial advice only: “Customers who need to migrate data on a regular basis and who want to buy the software tools, still need the help of a skilled consultant for knowledge transfer in the initial stages. Morse can and has provided this service.”

Wes van den Berg said that migration software on its own isn’t enough: "While software is essential for a data migration, on its own it isn't enough to eliminate the risks. In order for a data migration to be successful and risk-free, there needs to be the expertise to assess the different migration tools available, plan, architect, test and actually do the physical migration.”

“If businesses don't have the right mix of skills in-house then they might not consider all the pitfalls, placing them at risk of data loss. By outsourcing their data migration, not only will busy IT managers have the peace of mind that the migration will happen smoothly but the cost of migration tools will be included in the migration service and will be assured of the fastest possible migration time using the best migration tools for their particular circumstances. “

There you have it. You choose. Buy the Softek software or some other supplier’s software and do it yourself, or buy in Morse expertise either to gain expertise the first time around or to use regularly.