What do people facing a migration worry about?
As a senior technical solutions manager in the IBM Systems Lab Services Migration Factory, I frequently meet with organizations that are considering migrating databases, infrastructure, custom code or independent software applications to IBM Power Systems. Some of these migrations are planned; others are not. Regardless of the motivation behind the migration, when I ask clients “What do you think about when considering a migration?” the most common answer I get is “I don’t think… I worry!”
Most companies don’t like migrations. They are viewed as disruptive, risky and costly, and over the years in Migration Factory, we’ve heard just about every objection you can think of for not doing one.
Here’s a summary of the five most common areas of concern.
Top five migration worries
1. Technical risk
The first question is always this: Can this migration even be done? Is it technically feasible?
Since most clients are unfamiliar with migrations, they also want to know:
- Is it a straightforward process, or will it involve substantial redesign?
- Are all the applications we use available for the target platform?
- How great are the differences between the source and target platform application APIs, data formats and development tools?
- Are there tools available to help minimize the complexity, duration and risk of the project?
Cost is a close second to technical risk—especially for a competitive migration that wasn’t planned or budgeted for.
For planned migrations, clients want to be sure it fits within the current budget. If not planned, can they afford it—and not just the technical solution, but the cost of training people for the new environment, new maintenance schedules, new software licensing agreements and the cost of any infrastructure enhancements that may be required?
Almost no business can afford to have its systems down for any length of time. So, I’m often asked: Can we do this in a time frame that won’t disrupt the business, including the training and testing that must take place before the new solution goes into production?
Clients are also concerned about how much downtime will be required for the transition, as well as how the migration will be done, so that current business operations, application development and maintenance aren’t disrupted while it takes place.
4. Skills and culture
Some of these clients have run on competing servers for over twenty years. A new Power Systems environment will therefore require retraining for system administrators and application development staff. Another worry is: How will that be done, and what’s the learning curve?
Finally, from an operational point of view, will it work? Will all the pieces of the solution we have today work together on the new platform? Will some go away? Will we need new components and operating procedures? Will our customers, suppliers and users have to change the way they interact with the system today?
Partnering with experienced migration professionals
These are all legitimate worries because for many companies, migrations represent unknown territory. The good news? The process IBM has developed and refined over 30-plus years of doing migrations helps us answer these issues before a migration begins.
IBM Systems Lab Services Migration Factory is a group of consultants with proven expertise to help clients design, build and deliver successful migrations to IBM platforms. We understand the issues inherent in any migration and can help organizations reduce the costs and risks of migration with proven processes, specialized tools and many years of migration experience.
At the heart of our process is a migration workshop based on “design thinking” methodology. This essential step is key to any successful migration project. Workshop outcomes are client-driven. The recommendations and proposed roadmap for the migration are developed in tandem to reflect not only the technical scope but also the client’s overall business objectives. For the best success addressing your migration worries, we recommend involving Migration Factory in the process as early as possible. We can answer the difficult questions and ensure that migration concerns don’t inhibit a company from adopting an IBM solution.
If you’re planning to move to Power for the first time or upgrading to the newest generation of servers and looking for support for your migration, contact us today.
And please stay tuned! In future blog posts, I will dive into each of these five worries so you can see how Migration Factory answers these questions for our clients.