A Guide to Successful Data Migration

Data is an essential element for all businesses

Although data migration broadly consists of selecting, extracting, and transforming data, there is not one specific approach or strategy.  Data doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all approach” and some data scientists may even consider it as a type of “art form”.

Effective data migration can help fuel success for many businesses. According to the PwC Cloud Business Survey, 74% of business leaders are engaged in cloud strategy. Leading bank NatWest partnered with Google Cloud in 2019 after finding itself faced with the need to process larger volumes of data at speed and on ageing servers. By implementing data migration, the firm was able to successfully speed up its data processes and meet growing customer expectations. 

Cloud migration costs

For enterprises, a vital step in digital transformation involves migrating databases to new systems and cloud infrastructures. This will improve speed to market and increase growth for the business, reducing the need for technical resources. 

However, this can be a daunting task as moving data is not a straightforward process. Migrating too quickly or without a strategy will often lead to businesses overspending. To run successfully, the data migration process must be seamless and based on well-established expertise. Businesses should consider the following steps:

● Ensure data security and compliance 

Data security is a critical concern that needs to be taken seriously by businesses. Sensitive data must always be secure and comply with local regulations. Security measures ought to be in place before the data migration process begins. Who has access to the account at what level must be detailed. If not, there could be serious consequences.

To make your security plan cost-effective, the value of the data itself, as well as security breach issues, must be supported by equal effort.

● Organise data 

At the beginning of a migration, you must allow time to sort out data and application complexities. In the long run, this will help you save money, time and effort. 

These complexities may consist of data gravity and data silos. Data gravity will appear if data attracts other data and applications to it. This means disentangling the data from the applications that are using it becomes difficult. 

Data silos consist of incompatible and isolated data formats that occur when an application works with unique data structures and avoids communication with the rest of the system. Both these issues must be resolved before migration takes place.

● Implement the right strategy 

Your data migration strategy should be determined by your business requirements and needs. Although there is a myriad of ways to migrate data, most strategies will fall into the below two categories.

● Big bang migration 

When data migration takes the form of a big bang, data is migrated from an old legacy system to a new operating system in a single moment. After transferring it to a new database, the data goes through processing whilst live systems go into downtime.

This strategy is the simplest option and saves time. However, a major drawback is that you need to consider the pressure this period of downtime will put on your business operations. 

● Trickle migration 

There are specific phases to trickle migration that require an agile approach. The advantage of this strategy is that it will eliminate downtime and operational interruptions, as the old and new systems will run concurrently.

The complexity of this strategy usually reduces risk if done well. This is due to the ease in confirming the success of each phase, while quickly learning lessons from previous failures. 

● Choose your partner wisely

Ultimately, the success of your data migration strategy will come down to your choice of partner. Many businesses fail because they choose badly. Either they make the mistake of opting for the lowest possible price, or they try to use internal teams without the right expertise or knowledge.

Choosing to use an outside specialist with years of experience will provide a business with the support needed for a reliable and efficient data migration process.

The bottom line

The specifics of each data migration process will be different from business to business. However, by following these four steps, you can mitigate risks and make sure your complex data migration process runs as smoothly, cost-effectively, and securely as possible. 

About the Author

Volodymyr Slobodianiuk is Director of Technology at Amdaris. Founded in the UK in 2009, we deliver innovative Software Development, Product Design, Digital Transformation, Application Support and Consultancy Services from our UK headquarters and Eastern Europe delivery centres in Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Bulgaria. We’re built for quality and scale, with hundreds of talented colleagues delivering outstanding, customised and secure software development services and seamless 24/7 support to our international customers. We’re proud to work with a wide variety of businesses across a diverse range of sectors, delivering a combination of exciting innovation and business-critical modernisation projects.

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