- What is data migration?
- What types of data migration are there?
- 4 reasons why companies need to migrate data
- Top data migration challenges
- Tactics to reduce the risks of migration
- What do you do when migration is inevitable? Involve professionals!
Accurate, timely, and complete data integration is extremely important for just about every function of an organization. Digital disruption can affect all departments when companies adopt new technologies, processes, applications, equipment, data, and infrastructure. These upgrades are often necessary though to facilitate customer engagement, stay innovative with new products and services, and adopt new business methods.
Whenever new technologies, infrastructure, equipment, and applications are implemented at a company, existing data must be integrated into the new IT environment in order to get a seamless operating system and create smooth business processes. This is often a challenging process.
What is data migration?
Data migration is more complicated than it sounds, but understanding the process makes it possible for you to plan your system infrastructure in a way that will help you avoid having to move large amounts of data at a later date If you do need to migrate data to a new system though, this article will show you how to do it with minimal issues.
Let’s start with a definition: migration is the relocation of systems and data. Data migration consists of transferring data from a source system to a destination without affecting operations.
Transporting the data between computers, storage devices, or into new formats, is often performed using special software or scripts like Azure data migration tools or the AWS database migration service for database migration. However, you should consider all possible pitfalls and be sure you have prepared properly for a smooth and successful transfer before you start the data migration process.
What types of data migration are there?
There are four main types of data migration, each of which requires a clear and defined migration plan and validation after implementation.
- Storage migration involves transferring business data from one storage medium to another, for example, from hard drives to a cloud. This type of migration is common when new technology becomes available which is more efficient and cost-effective for a company.
- Database migration (or data center migration) is also often caused by technology shifts, software upgrades, or switching from one vendor or platform to a new one. Many companies these days have moved their databases to a cloud server since this cloud migration strategy provides them with more opportunities for safe data access from anywhere.
- Application migration (software migration) also happens when switching vendors or platforms provides more efficient and cost-saving solutions. The important thing to keep in mind when migrating applications, is that a company must ensure the data formats are compatible.
- Business process migration (system migration) is often caused by company mergers, business optimizations, and reorganizations where a new or reorganized business needs an effective system to handle all of its information about customers, products, and operations.
4 reasons why companies need to migrate data
The business environment changes rapidly as technologies that support various business processes become available. It is a bidirectional evolution – businesses need to trigger technology evolution, and technological leaps provide new opportunities for businesses.
Companies often outgrow their existing data solutions, or new business goals generate the need for a new specific data solution. Here are a few of the most popular reasons for data migration:
- Cost reduction – is the most common reason for data migration.
- Capability enhancement – is the ability to do something with a new environment or technology that you cannot do with an older environment or legacy technology because it is too costly or difficult.
- Paradigm shift – is when a new solution fits the long-term vision of the organization.
- Disappointment with a current service – includes bad customer support, unstable delivery, and other things that can disappoint you about a service provider.
Top data migration challenges
Data migration is a big undertaking and it involves a great deal of planning, effort, and resources. Moving data can be challenging, but you can avoid pain points and better prepare for the migration process if you know how common data migration problems occur.
- Confusion and/or lack of involvement from management can be a significant problem as smooth data migration requires collaboration and participation from employees across the organization in order to ensure a successful outcome. Modern technology transfers are complex processes, so a detailed and well-thought-out plan is the backbone that supports everything. To have a successful migration you must take an inventory of systems and data, estimate the time and effort it will take to relocate them, and identify what resources will be needed in the target environment.
- An incomplete or non-existent migration strategy can put the whole migration process at risk. Employees involved in the data transfer should understand all the steps in the data migration process from start to finish.
- Data loss is the worst-case-scenario when transferring a large amount of valuable data from one location to another. Losing confidential or private information that needs to be protected is a big problem by itself, but the loss of essential data could also create a ripple effect that terminates portions of the migration process. If IT staff miss a data loss event, no one may realize essential data is missing until an application crashes.
- Data cleansing is required to achieve the data quality needed for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the destination system. You have to identify what data is critical and mandatory for your system, and then this data must be monitored during the migration project, and at the first instance when the data is classified as desirable it should be prioritized depending on time available, the volume of data affected the cost and the benefit obtained.
- Compatibility issues happen when different source systems, different coding, and unique data create compatibility problems. A system migration, which is when you change operating systems, can result in inaccessible files because their format is no longer readable. A smooth transition can be at risk because of access control problems where people are unable to access key applications when needed.
- Underestimating the scale and cost of the transition and the budget required for the project at the beginning will almost certainly result in project overruns in both time and money and can cause the project to fail.
Tactics to reduce the risks of migration
A company’s data contains its corporate knowledge and business intelligence, so any data migration project must be done carefully to minimize risks. You should avoid unnecessary data migration, and take measures beforehand to reduce the risk of migration. Here are a few steps that are essential:
- Planning requirements – The performance of the system should be defined. You must take into account the current needs of the company, but also possible future needs, so scalability should be included in that planning.
- Estimating costs – Don’t go with the cheapest solution. Plan for the future. Choose a solution that will allow you to grow with the demand for your product. The right solution might cost a little extra per month initially but may save you the cost of another migration in the long run.
- Think about the future – The potential future needs of a system should also be defined. All ideas should be considered as possible outcomes, no matter how unrealistic they might seem current.
- Evaluate how your plans match reality – It’s not enough just to plan initially; you also need to evaluate your plans over time. Problems are easier to fix when a system has 20 users rather than 20,000.
To minimize the risks of data migration, companies should create detailed data migration policies. These policies usually include timely backups, the order in which the data needs to be moved and concurrent data environments need to be selected in advance. Keep in mind that unplanned or poorly planned data migrations can result in significant downtime, so if a migration is inevitable you should have a backup plan like a pre-migration environment for the period of time while the new environment is being prepared or introduced.
What do you do when migration is inevitable? Involve professionals!
Our company helps businesses of all sizes plan and execute their data migrations. Here are three key reasons to consider giving us a call:
- We have an experienced Systems Application (SA) team that will help you understand your company’s needs and create a list of requirements.
- Our technical team will tell you the possible solutions that meet your requirements and will go through them with you to help you make the right choice.
- Our Quality Assurance (QA) team will make sure the final product conforms to the original plan. We also provide customers with a free testing environment that allows for performance and scalability testing before executing the data transfer.
Even with thoughtful planning, a migration may still become inevitable. What do you do in that case?
Don’t panic, and instead get used to the idea by defining the following items:
- When – choose a time when the load on your system is at its lowest. Each system has its own best time slot for data migration.
- What – make sure that the new environment and/or technology will fit your requirements, and forecast your future needs taking into account the issues that created the need for the current data migration.
- How – this depends largely on the system, and is best determined on a case-by-case basis with the help of a professional team.
Migrating data, applications, and equipment from one IT environment into another can be easy when it is well planned and performed in a timely fashion and within budget.
Need help with that? Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.