Data Migration: What is it?


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Many businesses are switching to cloud-based services these days. If your firm is planning to make the move, you’ll need to migrate company data from on-premise to cloud storage. This can be a long and arduous procedure, but with the appropriate technique and right approach, you can make data migration a simple and easy-going project. ​​So, let’s have a look at what data migration is and how it works.

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What is data migration?

Data migration is a method for moving data from one system, storage, or file to another. The term typically refers to transferring data from an older system that is being replaced or upgraded, but it can also refer to transferring data between different systems in a single organization, such as when switching from one database server to another. 

Generally in many organizations, data migration may be done for two reasons: either a new system has been built, for instance, moving data from on-premise systems to cloud-based infrastructure, or an existing one is going to be updated from legacy systems to new ones. In both cases, it’s necessary to move all company data over to continue using it for the business. 

Data migration can be necessary because of changes in software and hardware, or because of changes in the company structure. It may also be necessary due to mergers and acquisitions, which often require merging databases from two companies into one.

The process itself can be complicated. How an organization chooses to approach the data migration will have a significant impact on how smooth the process goes, both in terms of cost and time. It requires a great deal of preparation, planning, and post-migration activities, but luckily there are tools available that make it much easier and faster than doing it manually.

Types of Data Migration

The process of migration is usually driven by business requirements. It requires adequate planning ahead of time for smooth sailing. There are several different types of data migration. 

  • Storage Migration – Moving data from one storage medium to another new storage. 

Stored data may be migrated from one physical location to another or from a physical to a virtual infrastructure. For example, many businesses are migrating their storage systems from on-premise to cloud-based services because the cloud provides faster performance, is cost-effective, and is more flexible.

  • Database Migration – Moving data from one database to another 

Often, businesses migrate their databases to adapt to new technology or business requirements. The database is not just a storage place of the data but also gives a framework for organizing data in a standardized manner. There are two scenarios in which database migration may occur, either a database management system upgrade or a move to a new DBMS.

  • Application migration – Migrating to a new application

Application migration can occur when an organization decides to change the application providers or upgrade its software to meet new business needs.

Data migration process

Data migration is a long, complex, and expensive process that requires careful planning and organization. Making sure that data migration goes as smoothly as possible should be one of the organization’s top priorities. Before beginning the data migration process, have all company data organized. 

In most data migration processes, there are five key steps.

  • Migration planning

Identify what needs to be migrated, set data standards, define goals, determine how much time and resources are available for migration. It’s always beneficial to reduce the amount of data that needs to be moved. 

  • Data Backup

Be proactive about backups. Before migrating data, it’s always a good idea to back it up. We never know what might unfold during the process. It also adds an extra layer of security to the data.

  • Data preparation 

Extract the data that has to be migrated to the new system and transform it to the new system’s formats. Perform a quality check on the newly formatted data.

  • Data migration

Migrate the data that has been processed to the new location.

  • Data validation

Validate the data by running it through the new system. Provide post-migration support by addressing any issues that arise after deployment.

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Data migration tool

In the past, data migration was an extremely difficult and arduous process that could take weeks or even months to complete. But with recent advancements in technology, it’s now possible to move vast amounts of data effortlessly and quickly with little cost or effort on your part. 

When it comes to selecting a data migration tool, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Easy to use – The tool should be easy to use and intuitive so that anyone can easily work with it.  
  • Compatibility with cloud – Make sure that the data migration tool works with cloud-based systems.
  • Security – Ensure that the data will remain secure throughout all phases of its transfer.  
  • Scalability – Make sure that the solution is scalable enough to accommodate future growth.
  • Automated solutions – Automated tools make migration more straightforward.
  • Open-source – Open source tools provide more flexibility and are generally more cost-effective. 
  • Compatibility – Check whether or not the chosen data migration tool is compatible with other applications of an organization.  

There will be many decisions to be undertaken when moving a company’s systems and data. The most important thing for businesses to remember is to take time to consider what is best for the company and its future before making any final decisions on how to move forward with data migration.

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