Conversations | Data Conversion


The need for data conversions and migrations of digital repositories arises regularly within the data center for a variety of reasons, including mergers & acquisitions, changes in platforms or applications, consolidation of legacy systems, standardization, and ever-present technological obsolescence.  Below, TrilliCom responds to typical cost issues and other concerns of IT managers with insight that reflects our experience.


Client:  Since I already have staff in place, I think that I can complete a data conversion at a lower cost using internal resources to write the necessary software utilities, manage the project, etc.

TrilliCom:  As a general rule, the cost of a conversion project with internal resources ranges from $200,000 – $250,000 per TB over 12-18 months.  Outsourcing this effort is less expensive and much faster and will free up internal resources to focus on other projects. Developing and testing data conversion software can be a time-consuming and unpredictable task.  Our process can remove any uncertainties or risks in this area and free up your staff to focus on other projects.

The TrilliCom Engine™ has processed hundreds of terabytes of data across many formats and applications; as a result, our processes and code are proven and robust.  To date, we have experience with nearly 200 different data formats.  The flexibility of our process allows us to integrate new formats with ease to keep your project on schedule. We are experts at custom processing of data during the conversion – a capability that allows your staff to be used elsewhere. Our process provides the detail reporting required to be assured all of your data has been successfully converted.  Reporting can be customized to meet customer unique requirements.

Client: My older storage hardware is still functional.  While spares and media are sometimes difficult or expensive to obtain, we are inclined to “let sleeping dogs lie.”

TrilliCom: Have you considered the cost of the footprint that this system occupies?  Typically, floor space in the data center costs about $75 per square foot annually. If you are storing key spares or media, the carrying costs for this inventory range from 25% – 30% of the value per year. If you rely on your maintenance provider for this inventory, are they stocking adequate levels to support you?  Are they monitoring the availability of these spares and media and the long term viability of the suppliers? As storage hardware ages, it is sometimes necessary to buy re-manufactured or used parts which can be less reliable and create other problems.

Client:  With respect to the older storage systems that hold my archives, I have signed a long term hardware maintenance contract with favorable terms and pricing.  Why should I convert the data in that archive before the end of the contract term?  Besides I am not archiving to it anymore, I just use the system for retrieval.

TrilliCom: There are three issues to consider in this situation.

  1. Have you considered the cost of downtime or the temporary or permanent loss of access to data in your archives?  Despite the best efforts of your maintenance provider and penalty clauses in their contract, there is still a real risk with older hardware.
  2. Hardware manufacturers can unexpectedly announce End of Life (EOL) for their products.  While they generally offer reasonable EOL support periods, the announcement can cause spares pricing to rise rapidly and availability to be limited.
  3. Data loss due to media degradation is another risk over longer periods of time, especially for older tape technologies and CD media.

Client: The software maintenance cost of my legacy application is minimal.  From my analysis, I do not see the payback from shutting down this application and migrating the archive to our new application.

TrilliCom: Does maintaining this application involve staff with specific experience for supporting this system?  Are these highly compensated individuals?  Could these people be better deployed elsewhere?  Are you using some of your best trained people on older support? Also, training costs for staff without the necessary experience can be high and may not be justified in support of older applications.

Client: I have over 5TB of data in my archive, and my user base only requires access to a portion of this data.  There is no way that I can justify a data conversion of the entire archive.

TrilliCom: Our high speed, automated processes can extract the data offline without impacting your production system.  We can then sort the data and convert just the subset that your users need today.  For the balance of the archive, we can provide the data on interim media along with a detailed index of the contents for ad-hoc loading.  If your needs change in the future, you can select additional data for conversion using the index information. This allows you to retire the legacy storage system and eliminate associated costs.