This post was co-authored by Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy


Recent research shows that only 36% of data migration projects keep to the forecasted budget, while only 46% are delivered on time. These are statistics that demonstrate the real challenges every IT and data system manager faces when trying to modernize and migrate away from legacy data-storage systems to the latest technology.  

There are many reasons so many data migrations go over budget. As we talked about it, we kept coming back to a few common misconceptions. Here’s our list of the top five cliches around legacy data-migration challenges.  

#1 How Hard Can It Be? Sure, your team knows your storage systems, but you don’t upgrade them every day or even every year. In fact, nearly 44% of respondents in a survey by Deloitte reported a lack of understanding of critical technologies as an obstacle to a successful migration project. Even on seemingly straightforward projects, little errors can turn into bigger issues. For migration success, it pays to do your homework and have the right expertise in place.

#2 Don’t Rock the Boat. Keep moving ahead, even if the leaks require a lot of bailing. Underperforming data applications affect everyone, not just IT. But IT teams have figured out crutches and workarounds to deal with many performance shortfalls in legacy systems, however labor-intensive they may be. It’s amazing what people will tolerate when the risks of change seem so high. It’s possible to right the ship without sinking it.

#3 You Will Drop the Baton. Whether it’s in the hands of your organization or a team from your storage vendor, data-migration projects can get bobbled as the team transitions through the various phases.  

#4 Just Do It. Once you’ve decided to upgrade, it’s full speed ahead. It can be tempting to bypass or shortchange up-front preparations and planning. But it pays to do the up-front work thoroughly. 

#5 Don’t Try to Fix the Airplane While You’re Flying. Data-migration projects are big and critical, with a lot of moving parts. And as another cliche goes, “Stuff happens.” It does and probably will, but with proper planning, you can keep the plane flying and still reach your destination.

The good news is that “All’s well that ends well.” Migrating off of legacy data systems is worth it.  Modern data systems are faster, more reliable, and cost less to operate than legacy systems.  And often, those legacy systems require higher and higher maintenance fees, making a well-timed migration to a modern data system very cost-effective. A successful legacy data-migration project can also be beneficial by increasing the visibility of your data and its value. 

The other good news is that organizations conduct successful legacy data-migration projects all the time. Often, they “hire it done” by tapping into the expertise and experience of a professional services team to help them succeed.  

We built Pure Storage® around removing the headaches from modernizing data storage. It’s all part of a flash-based storage, intelligent management platform, and simple, cost-effective subscription model. 

And to make it even easier, our Migration Center of Excellence can help you migrate seamlessly from obsolete legacy data systems to Pure products, Pure1® storage management, and Evergreen Storage.  

Dig deeper into the challenges of legacy data migration and solutions to them in Steve’s paper, Overcoming the Risks and Complexities of Legacy Data Migration.