Virtualization Technology News and Information
Planning and Preparation for an Unstructured Data Migration

"By failing to plan, you are planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin

By Brian Murphy, Senior Systems Engineer, Datadobi

The growth of unstructured data continues to be a hot topic in the world. As the data we capture continues to become more and more important in how we make business decisions, the data we save continues to drive up capacities. I have read that some experts say the value of data is becoming more valuable than oil. I think I'll have to wait and see on that one. Nonetheless, capacities in file systems these days easily exceed hundreds of terabytes and in many cases multiple petabytes.

This explosion in data growth across file system environments has made hardware refreshes an extremely difficult process. Adding to the challenge, in many cases the data sets in these environments are not fully understood when it comes to usage and access patterns. User home directories in many enterprise environments are storing employee data that is not critical to the business. Yet for some employees their personal data has made it through multiple tech refreshes unscathed. In addition, different regulations in some instances can result in data sets that can never be deleted! Lastly, it is not uncommon for customers to find themselves locked into their storage vendor due to the fear of cross platform migrations.

Planning and preparation for an unstructured data migration is arguably the most important part of a migration. DobiMigrate software has long included a Discovery process that is key to identifying key characteristics in the file system environment. With hooks into the management API of the industry's top file system technologies this Discovery process can be critical in planning for a successful migration. We recently released DobiMigrate v5.9 which includes enhancements to this Discovery process. With the addition of rich Discovery and Analysis capabilities to the existing Discovery process, DobiMigrate can provide even deeper detail in discovering and analyzing all relevant paths leveraging storage management APIs. Users now have the capability to create General Planning reports which include:

  • SMB Shares
  • NFS Exports & Aliases
  • Quota (advisory, soft, and hard)
  • Used Capacity
  • Replication

The Planning Report in turn can be used to determine the strategy a user will take for the migration, and then execute on their NAS migrations. Let's take a deeper look into these capabilities.

SMB/NFS Shares & Exports

With Shares and Exports the Discovery process generates a report showing the following data points:

  • File Server
  • Path
  • Shared Status
  • List of Shares, Exports, and Aliases
  • Number of Shares and Exports
  • Number of Child Shares and Exports
  • Number of Parent Shares and Exports

This information in turn can be used to identify what paths are relevant in your environment and further develop a strategy for your migration. As an example, users can now identify multiple times exports are shared and identify multiple paths which can be helpful in determining the use of symlinks to provide the same user experience in cross platform migrations.


Quota reports provide users with access to information that can be very helpful in determining which values might need to be migrated over to the new storage. In Quota reports you will find:

  • File Server Information
  • Path
  • Quota Origin
  • Capacity Quota
  • Capacity Origin
  • Used Capacity
  • Approximate Item Count


Capacity reports can be used to identify capacity in the environment at various levels. Users can derive capacity by looking at the child level for example. Capacity reports provide users with the following data points:

  • File Server
  • Path
  • Capacity Origin
  • Used Capacity
  • Approximate Item Count


Replication reports can be used to identify if replication is configured on the path, if data is replicated as part of a parent directory replication, if child directories are replicated, a filtered file set is replicated, or if there is no replication at all. The following data points are captured in the report:

  • File Server
  • Path
  • Replicate
  • Replication Paths
  • Replication Targets

With that said, the addition of advanced Discovery and Analysis capabilities to the DobiMigrate software is part of an exciting new direction our software suite is heading. The data captured in these reports will be very helpful for our customers to intelligently create their migration strategy as well as help determine how they carve up that new storage in their environment. Again, failing to plan is planning to fail and what administrator in this day and age can risk the chance of a failed data migration? I am going to go out on a limb and say, absolutely no administrators can risk a failed data migration.

Published Wednesday, August 05, 2020 11:22 AM by David Marshall
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