Every organization at some point or the other goes through the process of data migration due to various reasons. The basic idea of data migration is a change in the storage space, it can be moving from one server to another, or transferring data from one operating system to another or from one database to another. Whatsoever data migration system the organizations follow, the basic process involves three basic steps, Extract/Transform/Load (ETL), of which the last two steps of Transform and Load are followed during all migration processes. Hence it is clear that the extracted dada goes through several procedures for preparation; only then it can be loaded to the target location.
The reasons may vary from an overhaul of the overall system, up-gradation of the existing database, merger of new data from a newly acquired source or expansion of the existing one. Whatever the intent is a proper migration strategy is essential for successful data migration.
Why data migration strategies are so important
Regardless of the specific agendas data migration is done to increase performance and competitiveness. However, it is a risky and cost enduring process. If not done properly it will cost time and money to the organization. Without proper planning it can add more problems than solving it, it can result in redundancies, the migration process may fail altogether. Therefore, proper migration strategies are so important.
Some important factors to strategize a successful data migration plan:
- Know your data – For successful migration there must be a full audit of the data at the source, this will help to avoid issues during migration.
- A thorough data clean-up – Since a migration process requires time and money it is always advisable to clean up the rudimentary and unnecessary data to make it more compact and manageable.
- Data security and conservation – While transferring the data please make sure the data transferred is passed through controlled reliability measures, as data tend to degenerate as time passes.
- Data quality check – There should be proper monitoring and tracking of data for a better understanding of data integrity.
- Proper migration tools – It is important to understand the selection of proper software tools is essential for a successful migration as not all tools are fit for all migration projects.
The above points are important for a step by step planning of data migration. However, strategies are vital to follow for a smooth error-free and productive migration.
Strategies for data migration
Although every organization is different, and a common set of strategies would not fit all migration needs, still the migration strategies can be divided into two broad categories.
- The ‘Big Bang’ migration – It is considered as the fastest mode of migration strategy where the entire bulk of data is migrated over a restricted window period. This strategy has its pros and cons. The process may be a one-time transfer, but the risk factors are more, post-migration issues are more along with intense pressure.
- The ‘Tickle’ migration – This migration strategy is more popular and time-consuming. Here the migration is done in phases, where the source and the host systems are run parallelly, it generates less downtime as there is continuous migration carried in phases.
Best practices for data migration
These are some best practices which when followed can give the expected outcome of a successful migration.
- Data backup – It is always advisable to get a data back up as during migration if there is any data loss or the data gets corrupted there is always saved data to backup.
- Follow the strategy – It is usually noticed that either there is a tendency of abandoning a plan when it does not work well, or if it is too smooth. Both are not advisable. Data migration can be time-consuming and frustrating at times, hence if a plan is made and agreed upon it must be followed religiously.
- Continuous testing – It is the backbone of a successful migration, so tests must be conducted through the planning, designing, execution and maintenance phases for an error-free migration with desired results.
- Identify the scope of development through migration – Migration is a process to improve on the existing data. It is a scope to find out the proper content and improve upon it not just transfer the content from the source to the host system. So, the intention behind the process must be upgrading the improvable areas of the content.
- Clear communication and cooperation within teams – Data migration not only involves the IT teams; it has rippling effects on the entire business and its objectives. Hence it is important to include the business perspective and let all the teams be involved from the proposal, process, strategic implementation to the desired outcome of the migration.
Data migration is an essential part of development and growth for any organization; that energies and helps in the growth of the business process. But without a strategic approach. There can be more harm than benefits. Data is an important asset for any business to flourish, hence it must be handled with caution.
To reap the benefits of this process there must be proper planning and some strategies that must be followed for a risk-free migration, that will be cost-effective and less cumbersome. It is a great process to upgrade, develop and get more ROI as well.