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Data Migration vs Data Transport

by Seth Noble |  Blog Jun 06, 2024

I often hear the term "data migration" from storage vendors seeking to accelerate the movement of their customers' data into a new storage system.  Since "acceleration" is what DEI does, it seems like an obvious match.  But what we do is "data transport acceleration" and through many awkward conversations I have learned that there is a big difference between "data migration" and "data transport."

The term "data migration" refers to the process of transforming and transporting data from one storage system to another.  Data migration tools typically focus on just the transformation part.  Translating data formats between different applications, collecting meta-data, performing consistency checks, and applying other business rules is the job of data migration tools.  For example, migrating a database typically involves exporting data from the source database system into an intermediate file and then importing that file into the destination database system.  One of the most common motivations for data migration is shifting to new infrastructure.  Moving workflows into the cloud is a prime example, but data migration may also be as simple as upgrading an on-premise server.

"Data transport" is about the actual data movement.  When the two storage systems are located on the same Local Area Network (LAN), legacy technologies may be adequate.  Storage protocols such as SMB or NFS, and TCP based protocols such as FTP or HTTP work fine on LANs where latency and congestion are almost non-existent.  A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a different problem that requires a modern solution.  Whether moving between data centers, to the cloud, or between clouds, WANs introduce latency and congestion that can cripple legacy technologies.  I have seen many meticulously planned data migrations that fell months behind schedule because prototyping had only been done on LAN storage and failed to take into account WAN performance.  Data transport acceleration is about removing that WAN bottleneck from the data migration process.

When someone asks about accelerating a data migration process, the first question I ask is, "Where is the WAN?"  If the two storage systems are located in the same physical location, data transport acceleration is not needed.  But where there is distance, and with cloud migration there is always a WAN, data transport acceleration tools such as ExpeDat or CloudDat have a role to play.  Using our Multipurpose Transaction Protocol (MTP/IP), these tools optimize the movement of data across WANs to ensure the maximum possible speed, regardless of the data type or format.  The result is often many times faster than legacy TCP-based tools and can approach the speeds you would expect from a LAN.

The key to success in any IT project is planning and testing.  Whenever data is moving, ask that critical question, "Where is the WAN?"  Without the right tools, moving data across a WAN, especially the public internet, can be slow, unreliable, and unpredictable.  By putting DEI's data transport acceleration software in place from the very start, you can confidently plan your data migration.  We provide free trials and guidance during these early stages to help you accurately plan your resources and timelines, ensuring that the necessary resources are in place before production begins.

Whether you are contemplating a data migration across the WAN, or already deep in the middle of one, contact us or just download a free trial of our software, to take control of the network critical path and keep your project moving toward success.