Like for Like is the Biggest Lie in IT

We want to replicate our existing infrastructure: storage, processors, data — the lot.

Translation for non-technical people: Like for Like.

When a company is facing a demerger, you have some deadline to get the data at the from company (“HERE-CO”) to the target company (“THERE-CO”). There’s a pretty good chance that an undisclosed number of key personnel are going to be (ahem) let go and that there are vendors in the mix who are either jumping ship or looking to get their foot in the door. Lots of change. Lots of risk.

Project Demerger

So Project Demerger is born, because the people who think of fancy names for projects (like: “Happy Handoff”) have been let go.

Tight deadlines. Strict budgets. Lack of ownership. The triple whammy.

So Project Like for Like is launched.

The rules: buy another box (the technical insiders’ term for an enterprise computer system) — and make it just like HERE-CO’s. Take a clone of all the data and fire up the new system in THERE-CO’s data centre. Hand over the keys, wish them all the best and send their support calls to your “Wrong number” voicemail.

What about the storage? After all, not everything in HERE-CO is going to THERE-CO. Backups. Network. Data history. Are the HERE-CO employees who are keeping their jobs happy to have all their payroll data sent to THERE-CO as well? Because, you know. Like for like.


Instead of doing it this way, what if someone asked not what HERE-CO’s hardware does look like, but what THERE-CO’s hardware should look like.

You know what? Maybe you’d find that the hardware at THERE-CO would be a little newer. Perhaps even less expensive. Perhaps someone would see that while the THERE-CO data needs to be accessible to THERE-CO’s people, maybe there’s a better way of setting up the hardware and the data that doesn’t necessarily lock THERE-CO’s infrastructure into the decisions made by HERE-CO’s IT people four or more years ago.

Maybe there’s a better way than Like for Like.

Anthony English works as an IT consultant in Sydney and has been involved in many successful data centre migration projects for businesses running IBM Power Systems. He has been recognised by IBM as an official IBM Champion for Power Systems.

For data migrations that are anything more complex than “Like for Like”, Anthony can be contacted via

High level project plan: duplicate existing infrastructure.