The Right Data Migration Tool Helps Schools Migrate to Cloud During COVID Crisis
Efficient data migration tools enable schools to migrate to a secure cloud environment, facilitating access to applications and content, while reducing the risk of data loss.
Enabling distance learning involves more than just running Zoom classes. Schools and administrators scramble to provide access to data normally stored on physical devices that previously lived on site. And, while the cloud can replace the physical infrastructure to do the job, schools – subject to data privacy regulations such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – are responsible for how data is processed in the cloud. The right data migration tool can help.
Schools are turning to the cloud to help alleviate the huge challenges posed by the pandemic. Added to this is the fact that schools are notoriously lacking in IT resources. Stories abound of teachers paying for pencils and notebooks because school budgets are stretched to the limit. Their IT “team” could literally be a faculty member with basic networking skills. The idea of a “lift-and-shift” operation that involves moving all of their data to the cloud can seem quite daunting.
A very simplified and very high level definition of job requirements might look like this:
- Choose a cloud provider to host the school data.
- Determine the workflow to move data to the cloud.
- Find a window of time to take the systems offline and perform the migration.
- Apply encryption at every step to ensure data privacy.
- Make sure there is little or no data loss throughout the process.
- Perform user tests and validate features.
- Go live in the cloud.
These are the minimum steps required to take a school’s IT infrastructure and make it available in the cloud with the goal of enabling distance learning while minimizing risk along the way.
The difficulty is made worse when you:
- Lack of sufficient internal resources to perform a successful data migration, and
- Don’t have tools designed to move workloads while maintaining cross dependencies and minimizing the risk of downtime and data loss.
Data migration tools
When you are strapped for resources, you can’t waste time with a data migration tool that will complicate the process. Many data migration tools, especially the free ones, lack essential features that can make or break a migration project.
The first thing to look at is the data replication part.
Most data migration tools use a snapshot of the server to create a replica in the cloud. The problem is that the snapshot is only a point in time, especially the point at which the snapshot was taken. Between when the snapshot was taken and when the snapshot-based cloud replica is launched, and it may take a while. long time, depending on the amount of data on the server – a lot of data can be generated or modified on the source. None of these changes will be reflected in the new cloud replica. And there is no guarantee that all of these changes will eventually be reflected in the cloud instance. So the potential for data loss is there. In some cases, system dependencies are not preserved during the synchronization process and must be recreated. It can take a lot of time and resources, which are already scarce.
Another option is to use