The path to AWS cloud starts with data restoration and migration best practices

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How do you move archive data to Amazon Cloud Services so you can leverage cloud storage, and its wide array of cloud applications and analytics, while also retaining access to your data when you don't have the time, people or hardware or software to do it?

December 9, 202110 mins
The Path to AWS Cloud- Amazon app

How do you move archive data to Amazon Cloud Services so you can leverage cloud storage, and its wide array of cloud applications and analytics, while also retaining access to your data when you don’t have the time, people or hardware or software to do it?

Let's consider two types of data: production data (just created or very recent data that is still in use) and legacy data (seldom accessed, likely backed-up or archived). According to IDC research, new data generated daily is proliferating, estimated to be growing at a rate of 27% CAGR.

Most production data is probably stored in the cloud or on disk today, but legacy data is typically stored on tape. After all, tape is still the cheapest and most reliable form of storage since it is usually kept on a shelf in a vault deep underground or “air gapped” away from risky remote access.

Since mixed and diverse technologies were used over the years to archive data, such as various software versions, mixed software brands or defunct brands, different media types, and most commonly, just unknown and uncatalogued piles on a pallet from consolidations or mergers, managing your data quickly becomes more complex than you might think.

What should you consider for each data type when considering moving production or legacy data to the cloud?

As the world becomes more connected and data is king and analytics rule, how do you convert valuable archive data when you need it most?


Daily generated data is growing at a rate of 27% CAGR.

IDC Research


Managing Data Going Forward

The current trend is to transfer production data into a cloud environment, such as AWS. Legacy, or archive, data that is on older storage media, such as tape, can be restored on-demand and transferred to the cloud when needed.

The common use cases are:

  • Restore and migrate all legacy data to the cloud – all new and archive data is now readily accessible for data analytics or monetization
  • Restore most legacy data to the cloud – keep remainder in storage and restore on demand with targeted uploads
  • Move all legacy data into physical vault storage and restore to cloud on-demand – maximize storage savings, retire tape environment, facilities and resource support

How Can You Get Your Go-Forward Plan Going?

Often you want to move to a cloud platform but face some or all of these challenges:

  • No resources to execute on the data restoration and migration projects
  • No equipment (hardware and/or software) to restore data from the media
  • Can't devote bandwidth to upload legacy data to a cloud environment
  • Don't want to move data that is seldom accessed
  • No upfront budget to move all legacy backup or archive data
  • Iron Mountain's Data Restoration and Migration Service (DRMS) provides fully managed restoration and migration capabilities that rely on Iron Mountain’s well-known chain-of-custody, secure transportation, and extensive restoration expertise.

With fully-fitted labs around the world that are equipped to handle public sector and government requests, we can restore and migrate data in its native format to a to a cloud services such as Amazon Simple Storage (S3) and Amazon S3 Glacier, which includes Glacier Deep Archive, Glacier Instant Retrieval and Glacier Flexible Retrieval.

Whether its tape, hard disks, optical disks, or solid state drives, Iron Mountain can help. With DRMS, you can:

  • Retire your legacy tape infrastructure without disruption to day-to-day backup operations
  • Reduce costs of managing tape infrastructure and mitigate risk in recovery of data from legacy tape infrastructure as the data recovery is managed by Iron Mountain
  • Reallocate IT resources to strategic projects
  • Advance your digital transformation initiatives and accelerate your journey to AWS
  • Recover data from legacy tape infrastructure through a simplified service model

You have two options with DRMS to address common issues with migrating data to the cloud:

  • Project-based data restoration and migration - often featuring "bulk" migration of a lot of data
  • Recurring program-based restoration and migration that consolidates your tapes and moves them to a secure, climate controlled Iron Mountain vault for storage where you can request on-demand restoration and migration of data to AWS as needed.

Data shuttles, such as the AWS Snowball Edge or AWS Snowball Tape Gateway, are excellent transport appliances for any sized data projects from a few terabytes (TB) to petabytes (PB). Using the shuttle, data that is downloaded to the appliance is securely transferred to an AWS upload facility. With AWS Snowball Tape Gateway, a Virtual Tape Library can be created on the Snowball Edge to copy physical tapes to it.

Scaling up for a larger project simply means adding more servers and more AWS Snowball devices. Configuring a dedicated server per appliance maximizes the throughput for data transfer.

Amazon S3 Standard, Amazon S3 Infrequent Access, Amazon S3 Intelligent Tiering, and Amazon Glacier are available and can be leveraged based on your business requirements.

How Data Restoration and Migration Works

The Path To AWS Cloud Starts With Data Restoration And Migration Best Practices - How AWS works

How AWS works

  1. Iron Mountain picks up your tapes, including the backup catalog that lists the sessions and files tapes linked to the tapes, and securely transports them to an Iron Mountain vault.
    • Any “loose” tapes are cataloged first to understand the file directory before restoration.
    • If encryption is used, the Key Library Management (KLM) is provided - either the software key or the hardware appliance
  2. Iron Mountain restores the contents of the tapes to their native formats – e.g. files, .pst files, and so on. There is no need to access your backup software since Iron Mountain’s labs are equipped to do so, saving you, space, time, effort, and money, especially if you no longer have access to the original backup software.
  3. Based on your requirements, all files on tape are restored or only specific files
    • The restored files are stored in a staging cache (flushed after client acknowledges receipt of files)
    • The files are then moved/migrated using removable media, such as USB HDD for small amounts of data, or data shuttles, such as the AWS Snowball devices, for large data volumes.

The Path To AWS Cloud Starts With Data Restoration And Migration Best Practices - Data protection services

Additional Resource

AWS Documentation for Best Practices

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