Transferring data from one source to another through a series of steps is called data migration. It may appear straightforward but is more complicated than simply copy-pasting data. The process involves transferring billions of data units which makes it one of the trickiest aspects of managing data. Moreover, with the rise in cyber security threats and data breaches, data migration has become complex and time-consuming.
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Projects like moving information to a newly acquired server, introducing a new app, and upgrading legacy systems require data migration. All organizations have to undergo data migration in some capacity. Companies often underestimate the seriousness of the process and end up losing valuable data, and time or going over budget.
A report by TechRepublic reveals that 62% of cloud migration projects either failed or were significantly more time-consuming and difficult than anticipated. Furthermore, 52% of the projects cited security concerns as a major hurdle.
Effective data migration requires thorough planning and the right tools. Here are the best strategies you can employ to ensure effective data migration.
Types of Data Migration
There are largely two approaches to data migration. All strategies fall into either of these two data migration approaches. The one you opt for should cater to your organization’s needs.
Wholesale or ‘Big Bang’ Migration
With this approach, the entire process of data migration is completed within a limited period. As the data undergoes ETL (extract, transform, and load) processing and is transferred to a new system, the live systems are down. This is a high-pressure operation and can be quite intense.
The upside to this approach is that it is completed within a limited timeframe. However, the obvious drawback is that as some of your resources are down, the business operation becomes tricky. If done right, big bang migration can prove an efficient and effective approach.
Incremental or ‘Trickle’ Migration
This form of data migration is completed in phases. With trickle migration, your business will not face any operational disturbances or downtime. The new and the old system run simultaneously as the data migration process takes place.
This kind of migration usually is difficult to implement as compared to the wholesale approach, given the design complexities.
Access the Situation
There are different elements of data migration that contribute to making the process either simple or complex. These include the amount of data that needs to be transferred, the type of data, and the systems that will be affected.
Therefore, it is important to analyze these factors before the migration begins. Consider how much data needs to be transferred and if there is any unnecessary information that can be left behind. Furthermore, if there are legacy data involved, access its quality. If it is not up to current standards, consider whether it is even worth moving to a new system.
Plan the Migration
Select the data migration approach that works best for your organization. It is important to define the strategies that you will be employing thoroughly and work out all the minor details. If yours is a large organization, it may help to break the data into subsections and categories. This will simplify the migration process and make testing and auditing the data at each step easier.
Set Realistic Goals/Expectations
Companies often underestimate the complexity of data migration. This leads them to lose money or valuable data. Being able to understand the nature of the source data is the most important aspect of any migration plan. It helps make a thorough migration plan and accurately estimate the time required for the transfer.
Use the Right Migration Tools
If you have in-house experience and understand the data migration procedure, then it is great to go through it on your own. However, opt for third-party service providers that will do it for you if this isn’t the case. Investing in the right resources and tools will make the procedure easier and seamless. Evaluate the vendors based on the tools they employ and their work experience.
Data migration is one of the most important aspects of data management. The process can be incredibly complex when it involves transferring large amounts of information or sensitive data in particular. The mentioned strategies will help make the procedure seamless and efficient. Consider including testing and auditing the data in your migration plan as it will warrant the data quality post-transfer.