In this article, you’ll learn more about the benefits of an open storage platform approach when migrating legacy data. Whatever your business's reason for performing a legacy system data migration, investing in a closed system will mean years of vendor lock-in and spiraling costs. Compare that to using an open storage platform, and you’ll quickly see how much benefit this will be to your organization now and in the future.
What Is Legacy Data Migration to the Cloud ?
Organizations accumulate vast amounts of data every day. It’s not uncommon for enterprise-sized organizations to have hundreds of terabytes or even petabytes of data stored in systems across multiple geographies.
Much of this data isn’t actively in day-to-day use. It’s legacy data, kept for many reasons and sometimes simply kept because no one has evaluated the effort involved in deleting it or the risk it might expose the organization to.
Much of this legacy data might be stored in on-premise systems. The data might be:
- Email data. This is email data from users who are still employed by the company; some may have left some time ago.
- Email journal data. This is the immutable copy of all email data captured by Microsoft Exchange Journaling features (it has not been edited by end users or other software applications). This data can have significant use for the business, especially in the case of a legal case.
- File data. This is file system data that is created and used by teams and departments over a period.
- PST data. Often, this is backup copies of email data from end users. This data poses a risk to an organization because it is difficult to locate all copies of PST data. If the PST file has been copied or moved to portable media, it is easy for this data to ‘leak’ outside of the organization (either deliberately or accidentally)
Those are just a few examples of common data that organizations keep. In your field, you might have many, many more types of data, resulting in massive amounts of data being kept.
One way that companies try to reduce costs is to migrate some or all of this legacy data to the cloud. At Cloudficient, we’re particularly interested in organizations migrating to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud. We have a lot of experience in helping companies like yours migrate their legacy data to the cloud.
Essentially migrating legacy data to the cloud is the process of identifying the data that is to be migrated, migrating it, and decommissioning the legacy systems, if required, afterward.
How Do You Transfer from a Legacy Archive System to The Cloud?
This is a tricky question because what’s involved in a data transfer of legacy data to the cloud depends on the legacy data. It also depends on whether end-users are involved with this data or not. For example, if the transfer of data is from a legacy PST file belonging to a user who is no longer with the company, the steps involved in performing that data migration are different from a legacy PST file belonging to a current employee.
One thing is for sure, copying / transferring/migrating the data is just one part of the challenge.
Let’s take a simple example of migrating a legacy Enterprise Vault archive belonging to a user who the company currently employs. The steps to migrate this data can be:
- Inform the user of what’s going to happen and when. What do they do if they encounter a problem or have questions about how to access the data in the future?
- Stop archiving on the source environment for this user
- Configure any cloud properties or repositories. For example, is the data being migrated to the users' primary Office 365 mailbox or a personal archive mailbox? Do message sizes need to be increased? Does the mailbox or personal archive mailbox storage quota need to be increased?
- Perform the data migration by copying the data
- Clean up the source environment. For example, remove any Enterprise Vault shortcuts from the users’ mailbox.
- Inform the user that the system migration has been completed, and remind them what to do to access the data in the future
As you can see, there is much more involved in performing a legacy data archive migration than just copying or moving the data.
We’ve written more about this challenge in this article.
Once the legacy archive data migration has been performed, the end-user may now access the data in new and more complete ways than before. In addition, your legal team might now be able to access the data differently if required by legal proceedings. So, when transferring legacy archive data to the cloud, remember it’s not just the end user who needs to receive education and communication about what is happening; it’s other teams as well.
How Do You Manage Legacy Data?
There are several options; some can be used in combination with each other:
- Keep everything as-is, but costs year on year will increase, and business risks are involved with having everything in on-premise systems.
- Expire what is not needed. Read our article about intelligent retention to learn more about this.
- Migrate needed business data to the cloud.
- Start again, purely in the cloud.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the way to manage legacy data varies depending on that legacy data. It’s also worth pointing out that as times change, the need for certain data and how it’s accessed might also change. Simply sticking to the same data retention policy which has been in place for many years may no longer be the most appropriate action.
What are the Benefits of an Open Storage Platform
If you’ve decided to perform a legacy data archive migration, there are many other things to consider. One critical point to remember is a good reason to retire a legacy system relates to the vendor or system ‘lock-in’. This is where the licensing costs year-on-year are increasing from the vendor, and you’ve no ‘easy’ or cheap way to get data out of that existing system into something new.
When you consider your future cloud platform, it’s essential to review it to ensure it follows an open storage platform approach. With this approach or system, your organization has protection or future proofing in these areas:
- No tie-in (easy/cheap to get data in, access it while it’s there, and get it out)
- APIs for current and future applications to use
We’ve written more about open platforms on this webpage and in this article.
How do you use an Open Storage Platform in Your Legacy Data to Cloud Migration?
If you have legacy Exchange journal mailbox data, then you might consider migrating that data to the cloud using our Expireon solution. Using Expireon, you can bring-your-own-storage or use the industry standard S3 storage. Utilizing Expireon can mean that very large Exchange journal archives can be migrated to a better cloud platform in a fraction of the time and at a low cost.
Using this approach will mean that your legacy data is not locked-in to a particular vendor who might start to charge exorbitant fees for data access and extraction.
In this article, you’ve read about two critical benefits of an open data storage platform. If you’re considering a migration of legacy systems data to the cloud, consider how your data might be locked-in to a vendor, unless you take action and make use of an open platform system.
With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast, and seamless.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your legacy data migration project, visit our website, or contact us.