Using new technology can be hard. Getting to the new technology is often the hardest part, and there are a few keys to making that migration as painless as possible. Painful migrations can create the worst of all situations – a grassroots campaign to roll the project back and revert to the previous system. Rolled-back projects are doubly cursed: they have a reputation that they spent a lot of money and accomplished nothing, and trying the same project again will be even harder due to that reputation. The two keys to a successful migration are minimizing how different the new system is and minimizing disruption during the actual transition.
The first challenge is minimizing how different the new world will be from the old world. To understand the importance of this, consider the difference between Windows 7 and 8 vs the difference between Windows 7 and 10. Customers installing Windows 8 found themselves in a completely foreign land with the tiled “Metro” interface and no Windows button. The more familiar you were with previous versions of Windows, the harder it was to get used to Windows 8. While some companies did adopt Windows 8, those that did required a significant amount of training. Many cancelled their Windows 8 rollouts altogether. Windows 10, on the other hand, was closer to Windows 7 than Windows 8 from a user experience level. They brought back the Windows button, and the Metro interface no longer took over the entire desktop. This made the transition for users a lot easier.
The same needs to be true for users moving from traditional NAS storage to a more object-based approach. This is relatively easy because many object-based storage products offer a NAS front-end to their products allowing them to act – from a user perspective – exactly like traditional storage products. Users will never know or care that their files are really stored as objects. In fact, if the object storage system offers federated search, they may actually get more benefit out of the new system than they did from the old – making the one big difference something they can ignore or get tremendous benefit from.
The second challenge to work through is easing hiccups during the migration itself. Since it is inevitable that there will be a hiccup or two during the process, one key to managing this is to migrate a little at a time so that any issues only affect a small number of people. Another key is to migrate small groups of users who are friendly to IT and don’t mind giving constructive criticism and not speaking ill of the system to those outside the initial rollout. Using these “power users” as a way to work out the kinks will help reduce the number of hiccups you will have when rolling out to more challenging users who require a little more handholding.
First do no harm. Make sure that any advancements to your storage systems do not negatively impact those that would use them – their experience should be the same as before the migration. Of course it’s alright to add functionality, like federated search, but minimize the degree of change whenever possible. Also try to mitigate hiccups along the way by migrating small groups of users at a time, allowing you to deal with any technical hiccups or training requirements that do come up.
Sponsored by Caringo
Caringo was founded in 2005 to change the economics of storage by designing software from the ground up to solve the issues associated with data protection, management, organization and search at massive scale. Caringo’s flagship product, Swarm, eliminates the need to migrate data into disparate solutions for long-term preservation, delivery and analysis—radically reducing total cost of ownership. Today, Caringo software is the foundation for simple, bulletproof, limitless storage solutions for the Department of Defense, the Brazilian Federal Court System, City of Austin, Telefónica, British Telecom, Ask.com, Johns Hopkins University and hundreds more worldwide. Visit www.caringo.com to learn more.