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Understanding Data Migration: Process, Types and Key Steps to Follow May 24, 2022

Understanding Data Migration

We are standing at an age where ever-growing data presents opportunities and challenges for organisation on how to manage data. Amidst such a data-driven environment, the Data Migration process is designed to help corporates migrate to a new innovative cloud system or shift to a tightly secured storage location that might reduce the future threats of cyber-attacks.

Over the years, data migration has become a necessity for businesses. However, according to Gartner, around 50% of the data migration projects either exceed the estimated budget or disrupt your business flow due to flawed strategy or poor execution.

The Australian Data market set to receive an investment of USD 40 Million by 2026, and companies are thus gearing up to shift to highly secured data management systems that give a 360-degree view of the organisation.

In this blog we explore the basics of data migration.

What is Data Migration?

Data Migration is a process for maintaining the data health of an organisation. It involves moving the data from one system to another. It is done to relocate the database into a more secure location or overhaul the entire system for either upgrading/merging the database or establishing a new data warehouse.

In some cases, data migration methodology is not restricted to data relocation; it also includes mappings and transformations, of data.

What are the Different Types of Data Migration Methods?

Broadly there are three types of data migration strategies. But these are not strict divisions, depending on an organisation’s business needs and requirements one method may belong to two or more processes simultaneously.

Storage Migration

As the name entails, this data migration method primarily aims to shift data from one storage medium to another. Rather than relocating due to a lack of storage space, such migration activities might arise out of a pressing need for technological upgrades by updating the outdated arrays into an advanced system that offers cost-effective scaling and intensifies the performance.

For large scale systems like migrating a decade’s worth of data, the process becomes more complex and takes up an extended period of time. Even though the process might not be complicated, simply copy-pasting TBs worth of data can mess up the database. Such projects need an effective plan with flawless execution strategies where the team needs to have a strong understanding of where the data is going and who should have access to it.

Application Migration

In this method, application program data is migrated from one environment to another. As discussed above, application migration is one of those methods which might be clubbed with storage migration. Application Migration is chosen when the host company decides to change the software vendor – for example, a law firm chooses to transfer their base workings from Action Step to LEAP; this would require moving data from one software to another. Typically, when you relocate from an entire software, you have to move the whole databases, folders, and installation files that require relocation. In some cases, you might have to take additional steps specific to the application to ensure that the complete migrations goes smoothly and there are no error functions post-migration.

Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is when you transfer data from mainframe computers to cloud storage or from one cloud to another. According to Gartner’s prediction, by 2024, 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to the cloud. Today cloud migrations are some of the most popular choices of migrations, and Harvard Business Review Analytics Services reports that 70% of companies are embracing some form of cloud computing.

6 Key Steps in a Data Migration Strategy

1. Understand the Data

Before begining the data migration process, get an in-depth understanding of the available data . There are high chances that the data will be presented with lots of fields, some of which will need a thorough knowledge on the amount of data that needs to be mapped and moved. Assessing before beginning the fundamental mantra of this step. While skimming through the data you might strike out some missing fields where data needs to be sourced from a different location. Here you need to clear the whole project in your head by answering questions like what needs to be migrated, what might be the potential missing data and what can be left behind. 

The initial audit is crucial for any data migration project, where a holistic understanding of the data ensures that both the parties don’t waste time and money.

2. Design a Data Migration Strategy 

The first step of a data migration project helps you understand the need for the project and then it is time to select a strategy for the project by laying down the groundwork of the plan and drawing out an architectural solution for it. Then the entity needs to decide which approach it wants to take a big bang or trickle method. Along with that it should also map out timelines for the project and flag any road blocks relating to the project

3 Build the Migration Solution 

In the third step the team should do data profiling and then categorise the high-quality data into subsets. The categorisation can be done based on product type, ID, or any other criteria.

4. Validating the data

Testing the code during the build phase isn’t enough, it is also essential to ttest the design with accurate data. The organisation needs to check if data is being outputted the way it is supposed to and map out if there are any exceptions in the data flow.

5. Migrate

Once all the four steps are executed  and there is a well-organised dataset then comes the critical task of migrating the data into the targeted system or data repository

6. Audit the final work

In the last stage, after all the data has been migrated and gone live, the data migrated needs to be audited.  Auditing is critical to ensure that the data migrated fulfils end user requirements.

Team SBA assists law firms and other end clients with various data migration projects. Contact us to explore how team SBA can augment your organisation’s data migration project.


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