Five Data Migration Headaches

Migrating Legacy Archives Shouldn't Be a Royal Pain in the Neck

Migrating data from an old email archive to a new one can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Ageing legacy archives are often filled with redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) information that does nothing but add to storage costs. Worse, years of use can corrupt legacy archive indexes making searches difficult, inaccurate or even impossible.

Common Obstacles

For these reasons, many organizations decide to migrate to new platforms or cloud storage providers. Over the next five to seven years, we expect tens of thousands of enterprises worldwide will make this move. However, the problems in the original archive often create headaches for organizations looking to migrate their data. Here are five of the most common issues.

1. Slow APIs

Most data migration technologies use the legacy archive’s application programming interface (API) to extract data. However, these APIs typically weren’t designed to process large volumes of data at once—in fact, many can only process a single item at a time in a single thread. This is why it can take months or even years to extract and migrate the data.

2. Corrupt Indexes

API-based data migration relies on the the legacy archive’s internal index to have accurate records of which messages and attachments are stored where. Unfortunately, these indexes often become corrupted through years of use. Extracting data with a corrupt index can result in damaged or incomplete information.

3. Delayed Search and Discovery

Gaining access to more responsive—or just functional—search tools is often a major driver for migrating data. However, the new platform’s search won’t return accurate results until all the legacy data has been ingested. This means it can take months or years for an organization to access the search capabilities that were the point of migrating in the first place.

4. Hidden Risks

Data accumulated over a number of years sometimes conceals business risks, such as sensitive private or financial data. This information is often buried deep within terabytes of poorly organized and old data. What’s more, most legacy archives lack advanced search capabilities to identify these risks.

5. No Way to Leave Out the Junk

Traditional approaches to migration have no efficient way of distinguishing ROT from important data. Organizations have no option but to ‘pump and dump’ the entire archive into the new platform … along with all of its bloat and drag on performance.

Smarter Migration

These headaches can be easily avoided. Nuix’s Intelligent Migration technology allows information managers to index all of their data before migrating to new systems. Nuix bypasses the legacy API and examines the data directly within the archive storage, using the Nuix Engine’s unique parallel processing strengths to complete this task within weeks or days.

Once the data is indexed and fully searchable, organizations can make informed judgments about risk and value. They can prioritize for migration important items such as data on legal hold or belonging to executives. They can pinpoint business risks for remediation and filter out data they can defensibly leave behind in the legacy archive.

Common candidates to be left behind include data past its retention date, very large and infrequently accessed files, duplicated email messages such as company-wide email memos and trivial content containing keywords such as ‘lunch’ or ‘kitten’.

Use Technology Effectively

Having all the data searchable opens up many new possibilities. An organization can stop paying maintenance on its legacy archive and choose to move only data that has current business value for end users, for example the last 12 months worth.

During migration, the parallel processing technology in the Nuix Engine can extract data from the legacy archive many times faster than API-based approaches. This technological edge, combined with the ability to choose which data to move, can reduce migration timeframes from years to weeks. What’s more, organizations need only store important data in the new archive—no more paying a premium to keep ROT.


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