What To Look For In A Database Migration Company
Data migration is the complex process of transferring the digital systems, applications and data of an organization from one location to another. This term can also refer to the transferring of data from one format to another, or one application to another. Data migration is considered an essential component of a company’s overall data management strategy and may be necessary for a wide range of circumstances. Before performing a database migration, it is critical to find a qualified database migration company to assist with the process. Learn more about what database migration entails and what to look for when hiring a database migration company.
What Is Database Migration And How It Is Done?
There are many reasons why an organization may choose to hire a database migration company. It may be necessary when consolidating or upgrading server and data storage hardware or when adopting a new application. Database migration is also necessary when moving to a new computing environment, such as the cloud. Due to rapid advances in technology, many businesses are making the wise decision to move their databases and applications from their existing on-premise, legacy servers to the cloud.
Some businesses may find that their existing infrastructure is old, slow and possibly taking up too much space. Moving datasets to a new cloud-based application or server can help drive business growth and promote flexibility through speedier, agile processes. Businesses may also choose to move databases and workloads from one cloud platform to another provider that is better able to meet the company’s unique needs and storage requirements.
There are several essential components involved in the database migration process. In its most basic form, data migration follows a simple three-step process: extract data, transform data and load data in a new location. This procedure is known as ETL. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to database migration, as every business is unique in its size, storage needs and technological capabilities. For this reason, working with a database migration company that has experience working with businesses of all sizes and in industries is critical for a successful outcome.
When navigating a database migration, there are several essential steps that formulate an effective plan. These include:
- Pre-Migration Planning – Prior to the start of the database migration, the data that is to be migrated must be assessed for stability.
- Project Initiation – Develop a communication plan to share critical information with key stakeholders within the organization.
- Landscape Analysis – Identify the structure and context of the data and specify the primary goals of the data migration project.
- Solution Design – Determine what data needs to be moved and map out the source to target transformations.
- Building & Test – Start rolling out the migration architecture and perform testing using a mirror of the production environment.
- Migrate & Validate – Execute data migration activities and log results to determine the data’s visibility for business use and confirm compliance.
- Decommission & Monitor – Discontinue the legacy source environment and continue to monitor data quality.
What Are The Different Types Of Data Migration Strategies?
There is no single way to build a data migration strategy. It is important to choose a strategy based on the business’s specific needs and requirements, although most strategies fall into one of these two categories:
“Big Bang” Migration
A “big bang” data migration involves completing a full transfer in a limited window of time. There will be some downtime with the live systems as the data goes through ETL processing and completes the transition to the new database.
The biggest benefit of a “big bang” migration is that it occurs within a specified time period and requires minimal time to complete. However, there is a high amount of pressure as the business is required to operate with its resources offline.
Businesses considering going with the “big bang” migration method should consider running through the process before the actual event.
With “trickle” migrations, the data migration is completed in stages instead of all at once. During implementation, the old and new systems are run in parallel which helps eliminate operational interruptions and costly downtime. Processes run in real-time to allow data to continuously migrate.
“Trickle” migrations can be fairly complex, compared to simpler “big bang” migrations but usually have fewer risks.
What Are The Challenges And Risks Of Database Migration?
Working with an experienced database migration company can help reduce or eliminate many of the challenges and risks that businesses face during migration. Here are some of the most common challenges and risks faced by businesses during database migration:
1. Data Loss
One of the most common issues that businesses encounter during database migrations is lost data. Data loss is more common during large migrations but can occur even with smaller transfers of data.
With small migrations, the data may not be missed, or can be promptly restored with a backup. However, when mission-critical applications and systems are moved, resulting in data loss, this mistake can be very costly.
There is also a risk of a short connection failure when migration is conducted online. The missing information may not be noticed until an application or user needs it and discovers that it is no longer available.
2. Compatibility Issues
Database migration can become more complicated when businesses have outdated IT infrastructure with little to no vendor support. Many businesses run into compatibility issues when migrating legacy systems to the cloud. These compatibility issues are often due to unsupported file formats, conflicting operating systems or conflicts over user rights between target and source systems.
A knowledgeable database migration company can help businesses address compatibility issues that may arise and provide ongoing support that helps ensure a smooth migration.
3. Extended Downtime
The average cost of IT downtime is approximately $5,600 per minute, according to Gartner. Unexpected downtime can occur when a database migration takes longer than anticipated to complete. Extended periods of downtime can pose both financial and reputational risks to a business as the source system often remains inactive.
4. Poor Execution
Data migrations are often conducted by businesses in-house to save money. When in-house IT professionals are not well-trained in software architectures, virtualization or cloud security, it can put the project at risk. It is important to work directly with a database migration company when mission-critical processes are on the line.
Tips For Choosing A Database Migration Company
Data migration specialists work directly with their clients to help them better understand the unique requirements associated with database migration. Many businesses hire data migration companies to help plan and strategize a project from start to finish, from pre-migration to completed migration.
These specialists are responsible for writing custom scripts to properly clean and validate data during database migrations. They also analyze the method used to transform existing data into a format that is best suited for the new environment before loading the data into other database structures.
When strategizing on behalf of their clients, data migration specialists must consider potential risks and impacts. They may audit the existing data systems and look for areas of improvement or potential errors. Specialists may also translate data so that it can be more effectively moved between software, apps and systems.
When searching for the right database migration company for the job, there are several things businesses should look for:
- Good Communication Skills – A quality database migration company should be willing to meet with clients, whether in-person or over the web, to provide them with a solid understanding of database migration needs and requirements. Avoid database migration companies that do not respond to emails or return calls.
- Strategizing Skills – Database migration companies are responsible for strategizing and planning entire migration projects, including moving the enterprise data and converting content as deemed necessary. They may also keep potential risks in mind to minimize business interruptions.
- Audit Experience – One task that database migration companies must complete with a high rate of accuracy is the auditing of existing data systems and deployments for errors or areas where improvements can be made.
- Strong IT Skills – Database migration companies must have all-around excellent IT skills. Specialists must translate or cleanse data so that it can be moved between apps, systems and software. They must also oversee the migration of data and make minor adjustments as necessary.
- Knowledge of Best Practices – A database migration company will help clients develop and propose data migration best practices for both current projects and all future projects.
- Understanding of Compliance – Clients can trust their database migration company to ensure compliance with all relevant regulatory guidelines and requirements for migrated data.
When Is Hiring Database Migration Company Necessary?
Hiring a database migration company is necessary any time a business launches a new data storage location or system, especially when the existing data is currently being used online. Due to the complex nature of database migrations, it is important to work with a team of data migration specialists who are well-versed in all relevant aspects of IT.
It can also be useful to hire a database migration company when adding machine learning functionality or artificial intelligence to a data storage system. Data that was once static or stagnant will need to be processed by the AI system which requires professional oversight that the information is accurately read, extracted and transferred.
Contact An Experienced Database Migration Company
If your organization is moving to the cloud, upgrading systems or consolidating data, working with a qualified and experienced database migration company is essential. To learn more about the database migration process or to speak with a professional database migration specialist, contact the experts at Orases.