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2/13/2012
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Hitachi Unveils Nondisruptive Data Migration

Service moves data from older Hitachi arrays to new Virtual Storage Platform arrays without downtime, company says.

Hitachi Data Systems Monday unveiled a new storage migration service for customers with older Hitachi arrays that want to migrate or move data to newer Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) arrays.

The new service, which Hitachi customers contract for, migrates data between arrays without interrupting processes or applications running on the arrays and without taking the systems down. This is an important feature for organizations that are running business-critical applications on host computers and storage arrays and can't afford to have any downtime.

Data migration is often disruptive and unpredictable, Hitachi said, and results in schedule and cost overruns. Storage administrators often aren't able to complete the migration in time or with the projected budget.

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Hitachi Nondisruptive Migration migrates data from Univeral Storage Platform (USP) and USP-V systems to the VSP. The migration works by first defining an initiator array (the USP or USP-V) and a target array (the VSP). A logical device identity (LDEV ID) is then assigned to identify the devices where the migration will occur. Then a persistent group reservation (PGR) is used to lock the volume being migrated to the host computer so another server cannot access it. The virtualization feature of the USP V links the source LDEVs and PGR with the target array. The target LDEV ID appears to the host as an alternative path to the original volume, and host migration to the target volume occurs.

The migration is transparent and agnostic to the operating system, hypervisor, server, clustering or Fibre Channel or SCSI networking. And, as many as eight migrations can run concurrently. Further, the migration service supports clustered host computers. It prioritizes application access and uses spare cycles on the host to perform the migration.

Other vendors, including IBM and EMC, have services that compete with Hitachi Data Systems. EMC offers Federated Live Migration for Symmetrix DMX to VMAX systems. The EMC nondisruptive migration, however, requires EMC PowerPath software for multipathing, while Hitachi's VSP has built-in multipathing.

IBM has a migration appliance that is based on the IBM S/390 Multiprise 3000 enterprise server with the IBM z/OS mainframe operating system and can be used only for migrating data in mainframe-only environments. HP's Storage Data Migration Service is for mainframe and open systems migrations.

The cost of the Hitachi Nondisruptive Migration Service is based on the number of sites involved in the migration, the complexity of the migration, and the time it takes to migrate data.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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