Data migration strategy, types, process and best practices to help your business succeed

Moving information from a location to another is not simple as a copy-and-paste process in our daily lives. Coming  to transferring millions of data units into a new system, everything becomes quite complicated. According to recent studies, 55% of data migration projects overspent, and 62% appeared to be more difficult than expected or completely failed. But now, don’t worry. Because this blog will bring to you the necessary information to help you have a successful data migration strategy. Besides that, we also provide you types, processes and best practices of Data migration to help your business succeed. Let’s start our journey.

What is Data Migration?

data migration strategy

In overall, data migration refers to the transfer of existing historical data to a new storage system or file format. This procedure is not as easy as its name. It has numerous preparation and post-migration activities, such as planning, backup creation, quality testing, and result validation. Moreover, only when the old system database is shut down, the migration process will finish.

Data migration is typically performed as part of a larger project, such as

  • Modernization or replacement of legacy software,
  • System and storage capacity expansion,
  • The addition of a new system that works with the existing application,
  • The adoption of a centralized database in order to remove data silos,
  • Moving IT services to the cloud, as well as merger and acquisition (M&A) activities when IT landscapes have to consolidate into a system

Data migration is confused with other processes involving large amounts of data movement. Before we proceed, it’s critical to understand the differences between data migration, data integration, and data replication.

Data Migration vs Data Integration

Integration necessitates the consolidation of information from both external and internal sources into only a centralized location. Furthermore, Integration is a component of a larger data management strategy. It will connect two or more programs to enhance information access.

Consolidating information is important for reporting, analytics, and the creation of business intelligence. Besides that, unlike data migration, integration is a continuous process. One system gathers real-time data and then transfers it to a centralized database. Therefore, users can access this information in order to carry out their duties with ease.

Data Migration vs Data Replication

When a business migrates a data source to a centralized location, it eventually disbands the old system. However, replication does not necessitate the deletion of the old system. While information is still transported to a target database, the original source is never deleted. This process, like integration, is continuous and has no end – point.

As part of a larger business project, data integration and data replication can work together. If either process becomes a migration, IT must disband the original data.

Types of data migration

Storage Migration

When a business invests in a new technology system, it retires its old software. This is referred to as storage migration. IT is transferring data from one system to the next or digitizing paper documents. For example, a business can  transfer data from a hard disk drive to an SSD or upload data to the cloud.

However, businesses use this process due to a technology revolution, not a lack of storage capacity. Larger enterprises require more time to complete storage migration.

Database Migration

A database management system directs the storage and organization of data in a database. As a result, database migration refers to either upgrading an existing database or switching from an old dataset to a new vendor. It is more difficult to replace an old database with a new provider than it is to improve an existing system. It becomes more difficult when a business employs data migration software to transition from a hierarchy, flat file, or network database. 

Application Migration

When a business invests in a new software solution, IT must move all of the data into that system. This type of data migration is more common because businesses must upgrade their software regularly to maintain a competitive edge.

Furthermore, difficulties increase when the legacy and new data systems use different formats and models. In this case, an experienced specialist must handle the application migration process.

Data Center Migration

A data center is a physical infrastructure that businesses use to store critical applications and data. It is the room which has servers, networks, switches, and other IT equipment. As a result, data center migration includes the relocation of existing computers and wires to new premises to the transfer of all digital assets. such as data and business applications, to new servers and storages.

Business Process Migration

When two firms merge, one or both must transfer information into a new system. It has information transfer in response to a competitive risk or changing customer demands.

Cloud Migration

Cloud migration refers to any transfer of data from one location to the cloud. Because the cloud provides so much storage space with a low cost. Therefore, most businesses are migrating their data to the cloud. Furthermore, the amount of time for migrating information into the cloud is determined by the amount of potential cloud data available and where it comes from. Small amounts of data can be processed in less than an hour. Whereas larger projects can take up to a year.

Data Migration Strategy

A data migration plan will boost the performance of a migration project. Moreover, it also provides a competitive advantage to an organization. Moreover, duplicate efforts or errors can occur if data is not correctly migrated into target systems by IT. Any issues in the original source data strategies can enter a new system in case the wrong strategies are used. As a result, each strategy should include:

  • Transfer Data Understanding: Teams should conduct an audit on all source-target data. Therefore, you can ensure data quality and avoid potential issues during migration.
  • Clean Data: Before migration of data, teams should handle any issues in the source data. This will necessitate the use of third-party software solutions and other tools.
  • Maintain and protect: Teams must implement data management strategies.
  • Data Governance: To gain a better understanding of data integrity, it is important to record and monitor the quality of all company information. Therefore, all applications that generate information must be intuitive and automated.

However, how should a company go about migrating data? Here are the most effective strategies.

Big Bang Migration Strategy

The big bang strategy is the simultaneous transfer of all information from a source system to a target database. When employees and customers don’t need to use the platform, most businesses implement this data migration strategy. This strategy allows a business to complete the process in a short period of time. Because businesses don’t have to switch between systems at the same time. Therefore, it’s also more convenient. However, big bang migration is expensive and fraught with failure. 

Because it also requires a duration of inactivity during which neither employees nor customers have access to the database. Therefore, it leads to a loss of revenue and inconvenience for businesses that operate outside of the standard 8-5 workday. However, for smaller businesses or those who only handle small amounts of data, the big bang approach is preferable.

Trickle Data Migration Strategy

Trickle data migration breaks down an entire migration process into small migration steps. During trickle data migration, both an old database and a new database run concurrently. A specialist moves small data units from the old system to the new system. This process takes longer than a big bang migration. However, there is no downtime for employees or customers. The amount of data transferred is small. So the application remains accessible.

However, Trickle data migration is a much more complicated process. A team must monitor and track all information transferred at each stage. They have to make sure that users can switch back and forth between the two systems to access the information they require. All changes to the original system must result in an update to the new database.

This strategy is more effective for mid-to-large-sized businesses. However, a company should hire the right experts with the necessary expertise to handle a procedure this meticulous and complex.

Steps in a Data Migration Strategy

Planning out a data migration strategy

The data migration planning phase consists of four distinct steps. These are some examples:

  • Refine: Engineers remove unnecessary data and identify the smallest amount of data required to operate a system. This necessitates an examination of both the old and new systems, as well as user feedback.
  • Assess: Teams must evaluate the requirements of the existing system and how they can be applied to a new database.
  • Set Standards: By identifying bottlenecks in the migration process, teams can avoid problems that arise after the migration is complete.
  • Set Budgets and Timelines: Engineers choose their approach (big bang or trickle) and the amount of money required to complete the task. They also develop schedules and present to management.

Auditing data migration and digital tools

In this step, engineers check and clean all of the data that needs to be transferred. They identify any potential issues, such as data quality issues, and delete duplicate data. Moreover, engineers use digital automation tools to speed up this time-consuming process. Therefore, this reduces the workload and resources required to finish this stage of the process.

Data backup and security

Data backup is not required, but engineers should do so. Backing up data protects against data loss in case of a migration failure. Unfortunately, this process can be time-consuming. So a business should consider whether a full backup is meaningful.

Data migration design and an ETL Technician

Engineers define migration rules and assign authority to other team members. The most common method of executing migration design is extract, transform, and load (ETL). This is especially true when large amounts of data must be transferred. Engineers will create scripts or use third-party applications to move data. An ETL developer and system analyst have the knowledge and tools to make sure that this process runs smoothly.

Execution of migration plan

Depending on the type of strategy used, execution can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. In the trickle method, the execution must not interfere with normal operations. Teams must inform all departments about how the execution phase will affect them and their data access.

Checks for data quality

During the migration process, engineers will perform data quality checks. A trickle approach necessitates a quality check at each step. Teams have to test regularly to make sure that they will transfer all data safely with the highest level of quality. There is a risk that integrity of data and reliability will risk if they wait too long to test.

Data Migration Audit

Engineers must share the full scope of results with staff members and other users before the new system is completely functional. The audit’s goal is to make sure that engineers transfer all information without affecting quality or integrity.

Common data migration challenges and solutions

Migrating bad habits

During the data migration, some businesses fail to avoid bad data, business, or IT practices. More particularly, migration project managers may inherit broken files or data structures. Therefore, you don’t leave any bad processes or corrupt files behind.

Failure to automate

Data migrations have many moving parts. Moreover, a lack of automation and complementary software solutions can slow it down or cause errors. So in case you use tools such as a data transport engine. So you can automatically move data from one storage server to another. Therefore, this saves time and money while maintaining and updating file access permissions.

No backup plan

One of the most common data migration failures is the lack of a backup plan for potential mistakes. Data is extremely valuable to any business. So potential failure points must be identified and a contingency action plan implemented.

Data migration software

Building data migration tools from the ground up and hand-coding them is difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, data tools will make migration easier and cost-effective. So when you find software solution, look for the following characteristics in a vendor:

  • Connectivity: Does the solution work with the systems and software you already have?
  • Scalability: What are the software’s data limits, and will data needs exceed them in the near future?
  • Security: Spend some time investigating the security measures of a software platform. Your data is one of your most valuable assets, and it must be safeguarded.
  • Speed: How quickly can the platform process data?

Migrating data to the cloud

Businesses are increasingly migrating their data to the cloud. As a result, you can accelerate their time to market, improve scalability, and decrease the need for technical resources.

Previously, data architects were tasked with deploying large on-premises server farms. Therefore, they can keep data within the business’s physical resources. Besides that, there is  a concern about cloud security. However, because major platforms adopt security practices that bring them up to par with traditional IT security, this barrier to migration is being overcome.

Get the great data migration strategy with AHT TECH JSC

data migration strategy

A data migration is for you if your business is upgrading systems, moving to the cloud, or consolidating data. This is  a big and important project. Therefore, the data’s integrity requires that it be done correctly.

With AHT TECH JSC, we also provide the perfect System Integration & Data Migration Services to help your business. If you don’t want to miss it, let’s fill your information into this CONTACT FORM. We will give you the answer at the shortest time. 

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