Data migration can be simply described as the process of transporting or duplicating data between computers, storage devices or even formats. This is usually prominent in any systems implementation upgrade and maybe consolidation. Data migration is crucial in every firm and organization and its failure can cause serious implications on the firm such as losing all its data and records essential for the firm’s operation. Over the years as the technology continues to advance each day, data migration has a tendency to fail where according to Bloor’s research only 40% data migrations are a complete success. Here are some guidelines in which can lead to a successful data migration.
First, the migration solution in which a company decides to use for its data migration is the key determinant of its success. A firm planning a data migration should consider the most suitable style or solution to migrate their data depending on the project requirement and the available processing window. There are two principles styles of migrating data being:
- a) The big bang style: This involves the entire system migration in a small-defined processing time. It includes the complete shutdown of the old system while data is extracted and loaded into the new system, which becomes functional after the migration. Most people prefer this apparently since it takes a short period.
- b) The trickle style: This involves the migration of data in small phases where both the old and new system run parallel until the whole migration is complete. This style is unpopular in the most firms since it takes a long time to have the full migration. However, what most firms do not know is that this is the safest method since in the case of a failure; it is corrected in phase level.
Key Characteristics of Data Migration:
Nevertheless, whichever data migration solution one decides to use a good migration solution must have the following key characteristics:
Fast: Most firms run all year long and migrations in such firms are usually done over public holidays and weekends so as not to affect the company normal running activities-therefore one would need a fast migration solution that executes the given task within the given period.
Protection: Migrating data over secure connection helps to protect your system from data interception or intruders. Thus, Firm has to obtain trusted SSL Certificate signed by Certificate Authority (CA) such as Comodo, Symantec RapidSSL, GeoTrust etc. and Just you need to set up SSL cert on web server before beginning of data migration process, which helps to integrate legacy environment.
Reporting and harmonizing: During the process of data migration one needs to monitor the progress of the process just in case on any hitch during the process. This requires a migration solution that shows the progress of the migration and after completing the whole process can harmonize the tiny bits of data transferred back to one whole system in general.
Strong and resilient: A migration solution needs to be strong and resilient to manage all aspects of data extraction, transformation, cleansing, validation and loading it to the target system. It should also be able to manage high volumes of data and to adjust to issues in the working environment such as potential problems with the data source and target connections and disk memory problems.
Recoverable: In most data migrations, the highest risk encountered is data loss due to migration failure at some point during the migration. The migrating solutions chosen therefore must be able to recover data in case of any migration failure to counter the risk of the firm losing all its data.
Reusable: Most of these solutions used in data migration cost a good fortune and therefore it will be prudent for any firm to purchase a reusable solution of data migration. After completing its task, it can be reused again in the same data migration process if it is needed or maybe another process such as error handling and data cleansing procedures.
Steps of Successful Data Migration:
Having a good data migration style in mind, here are seven steps process of data migration that will guarantee you a successful data migration as an individual or as a big firm.
- Data source system exploration.
The first step of data migration is usually to identify, explore and analyze the data source system.
Where the best approach to identification is to group data such as customer names addresses and product list and description based on the target system model and how it fits into the new system. The data source is usually big and most data is usually irrelevant or obsolete. By exploring the source, this allows one to identify the relevant data required for the target system.
In some cases, the data source identified might be insufficient to satisfy the target system requirement and therefore it will require on obtaining the required missing data from multiple sources to satisfy the requirement of the target file.
By the end of this exercise, one must have gathered enough data required by the new system without having gaps of missing data.
- Data assessment
In this stage, the quality of data is assessed. This prevents system fails due to data inconsistencies incorrect or duplicate data and such other problems. In this stage, data profiling comes in handy. Data profiling is the process of systematically scanning and analyzing data of all columns in the table of interests. It identifies data defects at the table and columns level.
By data profiling, you will reduce the risk of project overruns, delays, and complete migration failures. The results of this phase will be a thorough understanding of data quality from the sources and map the data from the source file to the target file. This will give you a good idea of the integration process.
- Migration solution
In this stage as discussed earlier is the most important phase of this process where you decide a style in which you will migrate your data in your must convenient way, that is whether you will use the trickle , big bang or any other method convenient for the firm’s data migration.
This is done by analyzing your project type and the period you have at hand to execute your project. This will lead you to the building of the migration pathway or for other firms they purchase.
- Migrations build
The best method to use when developing a data migration is to test one category of data at a time, which is directly attributed to the quality of data profiling which was done to categorize the data. In the case of a large firm or project, multiple categories can be developed and tested in parallel to reduce the workload. In this stage, one should start by checking the small data categories making sure the transformation and mapping work perfectly before increasing the amount of data migrating at a go.
By the end of this stage, the migration solution and path should be fully tested and confirmed that it is working perfectly and in a given period.
This must only happen after comprehensive testing and confirmation that the migration process developed works perfectly in most cases it is usually done over the weekend and public holidays since there is no activity in most firms during those days. However, it will require a tool to provide the initial load process with also data synchronization technology to synchronize changes in the target file as data files are being transferred.
Once the migration process is complete and the company or firm moves to the new system
Audit trails and logs will be created to ensure appropriate and correct migration with the correct synchronization in the new system. Once all the data is confirmed to be in the new system and the system is working perfectly well the users are then transferred to the new system with the employees getting the necessary training to operate the new system in place.
During this time, the old system is still in place just in case the new system fails due to some errors since it is still in its trial stage then it can come in handy.
- Normal activity
This stage comes in after a short period with the new system in place without any problem. At this time, the normal activities of the firm have resumed with everyone being accustomed to the new system. A system retirement policy will be created to address the old system since the new one is fully functional with minor data quality enhancements and improvements on it then that would be considered a successful data migration.
Following the above steps when migrating your data you are assured of a successful data migration in the safest way. Data migration is inevitable especially in this current world ever changing technology and long before you know it, you will need an upgrade or a backup. Therefore, data migration is the most convenient and safest way possible!