Home > Blogs > It was 20 years ago today: Data Migration Strategy II

Is your information ready for the next 20 years?  Traenk gives more information on what you must understand when creating a Data Migration Strategy, something all organizations, businesses, and people must create.

In an earlier blog, I detailed some of my issues converting analog data formats to digital.  However, going digital is not the only consideration, as this article demonstrates.  Who could have predicted in 1993 that Word Perfect data formats would be difficult to use 20 years later?  And having paid good money for those 1.44MB 3 1/2" floppies, did we foresee that those floppies would be a difficult to read as the Zip file disks? 

It's 1993.  Your Altavista searches are sure to work a long time.  Your AOL dial up software diskette will work forever.  How much can change on the Internet in 20 years?

Whether you represent a business, an organization, or your own family's recorded data; your data migration plan must encompass Storage Format and Application Format.

  1. Application Format:  Will the applications you count on today be there for you tomorrow?  I have files written with Word Star, Word Perfect, Ami Pro, and so many other unique application formats.  Will your videos recorded to ts.vob be readable 10 years from now or should you look for free BluRay Authoring software?  JPEG or PNG?  What are the impacts of recording pictures in lossy formats?  Is video better encoded as MP4 and then stored on DVD's as an MP4 file?
  2. Storage Format:  Floppies of all shapes and sizes gave way to hard drives of all shapes and sizes and interface formats.  What is the max lifetime of the DVD physical media, and what are prerequisite storage requirements for heat and humidity?  Is solid-state storage worth the cost to transition?  If your hard drive crashed tomorrow, will those 1/4" tape backups work?  Using cloud storage?  What happens when your vendor goes out of business?  How does the data get to your second cloud vendor when you've sold your old storage infrastructure for pennies?  (Oh, are you sure your data was erased securely??)
  3. People Format:  Everyone is talking about the formatting technology, but are the organizational factors considered?  The article linked above points out that research is disappearing after only 20 years.  If these were business trade secrets that disappeared, can you imagine the law suits?  Is your data worth the cost of paying for Archivist consulting time and services?  Who in your company is on point for managing your important data through a few centuries of change?
Why is a security geek discussing Data Migration Strategy?  It's all about Availability.  Let me know below what more you think needs to be discussed.


P.S.  I'm happy I kept my video cassettes of my kids.  I will reconvert them to a digital format (MP4), and instead of authoring them into a DVD format, I'm waiting for BluRay authoring software.  Any recommendations?