Data migration is the process of transferring the existing historical data to a new storage system or file format. Data migration is a complicated process and it involves a lot of preparation. Companies need to plan, create backups for data, test the data and validate the results. Data migration ends only when the old database system is taken out of service. There are many business benefits of big data and sometimes companies need to undertake the tedious task of big data migration. This is the reason why many businesses are interested in the subject. In this article, we will have a look at data migration and its benefits and also see the best practices of data migration.
Data migration Vs Data integration Vs Data replication: What’s the Difference?
Many times, there is confusion between data migration, data integration, and data replication. Let’s understand the differences between these terms.
Data migration vs. data integration
Data migration deals with the company’s internal information. Data integration, on the other hand, deals with data from multiple sources which might be outside the company as well. Data integration is an essential part of the data management strategy, and it is concerned with connectivity between systems and provides access to content across a wide range of subjects. While data migration is a journey that ends once all the data is transported to a target system, data integration can be a continuous process.
Data migration vs. data replication
In data migration, once the data is completely transferred to a new system, the old system is abandoned. In data replication, the engineers transfer data in a periodic manner without discarding the old system. Hence, we can say that data replication does not have any defined completion point.
Top Benefits of data migration
Scaling up the physical infrastructure is very difficult as it requires acquiring servers and arranging for space to keep them. Cloud servers provide companies with the flexibility to upscale their data requirements as and when they require. Businesses are better able to plan for future resource allocation with the help of cloud infrastructure.
Also, businesses can concentrate on their main business requirements and need not worry about scaling up or down their storage needs. There are a wide variety of cloud-based tools available that help in cloud migration. The scalability feature of cloud infrastructure is especially useful for e-commerce businesses as they do not know how much rush they will face during the festive season and hence require to scale up rapidly to meet the customer demand. Big data clouds solutions help enhance the e-commerce user experience.
Cloud migration is a popular strategy among companies because of its cost-effectiveness. Local servers have maintenance costs that are not there with cloud servers. Moreover, with cloud computing, it is possible to perform all the tasks that are performed in on-site data systems. The companies need not pay for the salaries of onsite staff to manage their systems. The companies are also saved from the expensive costs of acquiring new equipment for the purpose of database storage.
Organizations can access their data remotely through the cloud environment. This enables the workers to collaborate remotely with each other. There are countless collaboration and communication tools that make remote collaboration possible in the cloud environment.
Cloud-based backup and recovery solutions make it very easy to recover data preventing the issues that arise due to sudden data loss. Cloud database storage solutions save both time and investment.
Automation of tasks
While it is difficult to automate tasks in the physical system, it is easy to use automatic API in a cloud environment. This enables the automation of repetitive tasks. Automation not only improves the efficiency of the data center, but it also helps to reduce costs.
Cloud data environments provide better security against hacking, data theft, infusions, and identity theft issues. Some cloud providers offer military-grade security. It is easy to monitor a cloud data center 24×7 using automated systems. The benefit of cloud systems is that any potential threat is spotted and resolved immediately.
It is very easy and fast to set up data and applications in the cloud environment. Engineers can even set up a cloud environment remotely and it is just a matter of a few hours as compared to the time taken in setting up a physical infrastructure.
The cloud service providers look after the hardware, software and network in a cloud infrastructure. Minimal IT staff is required to deal with a cloud infrastructure. This benefit of cloud infrastructure makes it a maintenance-free affair.
Low risk of failure
All major cloud service providers provide 99% uptime and there is a very low risk of failure. Cloud infrastructure automatically allocates the workload in an efficient manner and ensures smooth and continuous performance. A cloud infrastructure can easily handle large data loads for applications that are customer-facing and require handling multiple users from different parts of the world. Cloud infrastructure gels well with IoT infrastructure and provides a seamless experience.
As cloud is an enterprise-class technology which is both cost-effective and easily scalable, it makes the businesses that use them globally competitive. Cloud systems boast record uptimes of 99.99%, which means that it is very rare for a cloud-based data center to report downtime which is not the case with a physical data center. The phenomenal uptime of cloud-based systems adds to their competitiveness.
Cloud infrastructure has very little impact on the environment as multiple businesses use the services of the same servers. As fewer servers are used, it reduces the cost of manufacturing and maintaining the servers which ultimately reduces the impact on the environment.
What are the different types of data migration?
Before a business chooses to migrate its data, it needs to decide the type of data migration process that it shall require. We have mentioned below the most commonly used types of data migration.
- Storage migration
- Database migration
- Application migration
- Datacenter migration
- Business process migration
- Cloud migration
Let’s understand the types one by one.
Storage migration is a kind of data migration that happens when a company discards outdated equipment in favor of modern technologies. In storage migration, a business transports data from one physical medium to another or from a physical medium to a virtual environment. The following types of data transfer come under storage migration
- When data is transferred from paper to digital documents
- When data is transferred from HDD to SSD
- From physical location to cloud storage
Storage migration is a type of migration which compels a company to shift data due to technology upgrades and not due to lack of storage space.
Data is typically controlled and accessed via a database management system. So, most of the time, database migration entails upgrading to the latest version of DBMS, switching to a new DBMS. While the former is easier, the latter case is tougher as sometimes target and source databases support different data structures. The task becomes especially challenging when data is to be moved from legacy databases like IMS, IDMS, and Adabas to modern ones.
In this kind of migration, a company changes a software vendor which requires moving data from one computing environment to another. A good example of this kind of data migration would be when an enterprise like a hospital replaces its legacy EHR system with a new one. The engineers needed to address the challenge of integrating old and new data infrastructures which might work with different data formats.
Data center migration can mean the physical relocation of existing computers and wires to another premise or moving all the digital assets including to new servers and storage.
Business process migration
Under the business process migration, the company is transferring business applications and databases to a new environment. Normally business process migration occurs when there is a merger of the company with another one. When one company acquires another company. When there is a need to reorganize or optimize the data.
Cloud migration typically involves moving data from a physical system to a cloud server which is normally at a distant location. When migrating data between different cloud environments, then also it is classified as cloud migration. Experts expect that due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of use, in the future cloud service would become the norm. Let us discuss some benefits of migrating data to the cloud.
Data migration – Best practices
While conducting the exercise of data shift, the business leaders should take the following steps to increase their chances of success.
Define your goals
The first step should be to define the goals of database migration. To identify the goals, the business owner should review the business requirements after consulting with various stakeholders. Once there is a clear understanding of the business requirements, then the company can start evaluating the available options. KPIs should be defined to measure success. The following are the questions that one should ask before defining the goals
- What are the metrics to measure success in data migration?
- What is the percentage of data that should be migrated successfully?
- Can the business support any downtime during migration?
Get details about the data
Before a company begins with the data migration process, it is absolutely vital to understand the current state of the data. The engineers should be clear regarding the following points
- The kind of data that is being migrated
- The current format of data
- Where does the data reside?
- What should be the format of the data post-migration
Profiling data helps the engineers identify the potential risks. This allows the engineers to plan beforehand and prevent any issues that could arise during the data migration process.
Define the scope
Once the engineers have a clear understanding of the data that is being moved, they can then define the scope of the project. Defining the scope of the project allows the migration team to learn for any future race and identify the resources that they will hear during the migration. The scope of the project also lets the business owners know about the exact costs that will be involved in the data migration process.
The engineers then analyze the source and target systems and prepare an estimated timeline for completing the data migration process. Before going ahead, the engineers should check whether the scope of the project includes the requirements of all the stakeholders. The data migration team should conduct a technical assessment of the data migration
- Data security plan
- Type and volume of data
Clear the data
The quality of data affects the quality of the decisions that are made using the inferences derived from that data. Data clearing is a very important part of any data migration plan and that’s why data clearing should happen after the initial data assessment is done.
Today, using modern data clearing tools it is possible to automate the process of data clearing to some extent.
Inadequate data security cannot be left to chance as inadequate data security can expose the sensitive data of an organization to hackers. All sensitive data should be fully compliant with local data security regulations. Before starting big data migration, the data migration team should assess what security measures are in place both at the source and destination and who has access to data and at what level. While preparing the data security plan, the team must ensure that the cost of data security does not outweigh the actual value of data.
Migrate to accelerate
Data migration can help a business to manage data better and accelerate the progress of the business. In order to successfully finish the process of data migration, the data migration team should ensure proper communication with all the stakeholders. The owners of the organization should ensure that data migration is aligned with business priorities. The business owners should have a clear idea about the downtime during data migration and should keep all the stakeholders informed about the progress of the data migration process.
Without proper planning and processes, it is very hard to achieve successful data migration. Years of data can be lost deemed unusable during the process due to small mistakes. One should consider hiring the services of big data experts for their big data management and migration needs. The experts will ensure that the process of data migration is completed smoothly.