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What to Expect When Undertaking a Database Migration Project

Eric Russo | | January 26, 2021

Database migrations require careful planning and skillful execution. In today’s business environment, companies drive their businesses with data, and you wouldn’t undertake a DB migration unless the benefit outweighed the risk. So, how do you know when you need to do a database migration? Let’s explore the reasons why you’d want to proceed.

What is Database Migration?

Database migration is the process of moving data from one database to another in order to save money such as moving to the cloud, moving to newer software or hardware to access advanced features, or combining databases to increase access to critical business data.

How Could a Database Migration Benefit My Company?

There are three key reasons to undertake a database migration, to save money, upgrade your capabilities, and reduce redundancy by combining databases.

Saving Money

Running mission-critical databases on old technology can actually cost you money. If your infrastructure doesn’t support your business needs as they evolve, you’re going to spend more money on maintenance than you need to. In some situations, many companies opt to migrate to the cloud to reduce their investment in infrastructure and reduce the staff needed to maintain the system.

Accessing New Capabilities

Security is a big issue where your company’s data is concerned. Cybercriminals are working hard to find ways to breach your systems. You need to fight just as hard to prevent them from doing that. Typically, the best way to protect your data is by using the latest cybersecurity technology that may only be available with new software and hardware.

If you’re running your databases on legacy systems, they probably don’t offer the capabilities you need as your data requirements become more sophisticated. You may need to migrate to newer and more efficient storage techniques that can support your need for complex data analysis.

Reducing or Eliminating Data Silos

Many companies are plagued with data silos that hold redundant data and that prevent the organization from seeing a comprehensive view of their data. For example, your Marketing department may have a customer database, Customer Service may maintain their own database, and other data silos could exist in Production and Accounting.

Many companies complete database migrations to reduce or eliminate those silos by combining data from incompatible systems into one database that provides the entire organization with access to the information they need. The other benefit of this type of migration is that everyone in your company will be working with the same information, or a single source of truth.

What is Involved in a Database Migration?

Every organization wants to avoid losing data, working with corrupt data, or experiencing extensive downtime. That’s why planning and executing a database migration requires the right expertise and careful attention to detail. You’ll need to complete these types of activities to ensure a successful migration.

  • Develop a migration strategy. You’ll need to control the migration process and ensure that the migration follows the strategy you create.
  • Map and transfer old data. Use the best practices for Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) to identify and remove bad data while cleaning good data.
  • Ensure data integrity. Conduct a comprehensive review of data and applications before the migration.
  • Implement a database modeling procedure. Follow this procedure to find, highlight, and eliminate errors or other issues that will stall the migration.
  • Implement version control. Version, or source control, in the database will ensure the data is synchronized and consistent with your application source code.
  • Provide testing and maintenance. You’ll need to perform ongoing testing and maintenance tasks during the migration to ensure success.

Common Challenges Associated with Database Migration

Every database migration is unique, but there are some challenges that anyone completing a migration must overcome.

  • Finding your data. The longer your business has been operating, the higher the likelihood that there are databases in different departments and locations. Make sure you do a thorough search to find all the data you want to migrate.
  • Complex source data. Migration is never a matter of simply moving data from one system to another. You’ll typically need to do some level of data transformations and normalization to be successful.
  • Lost or corrupt data. Losing even one record could spell disaster. Make sure you reconcile your accounts as the migration and testing goes forward.
  • Database migrations can open vulnerabilities to hackers. Make sure your strategy includes a cybersecurity component.

Start Your Database Migration Project with Datavail at Your Side

With expert Datavail DBAs at your side, you’ll save time and avoid downtime. You’ll have access to a level of expertise you may not have within your own staff, and you’ll have 24x7 coverage during the migration. Learn more about Datavail’s database migration services, and how we can help you avoid the pitfalls and meet the challenges during your next migration.

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