Cloud Data Warehouse

Five Tips for Teradata Migration Success

Actian Corporation

September 19, 2019

migratory birds showing teradata

If you are like most companies that currently use Teradata appliances, you may be exploring options for a new, modern data warehouse that is a better fit for today’s cloud-centric world. But don’t make the migration journey an afterthought. Teradata is a big, complex system full of rich, unique SQL syntax that predates standardization. And migrations of terabytes of data, thousands of tables and views, specialized code and data types, and other proprietary elements do not happen overnight. Given the dependencies and complexities involved with data warehouse migrations, it’s no wonder that many projects fail to achieve their intended goals.

To ensure a successful migration journey, avoid these common pitfalls:

1. Migrating in One Fell Swoop

Pressure to perform migrations in one fell swoop often arises out of cost constraints and/or performance frustrations with the legacy data warehouse. But think back to how prior modernization projects have gone—whether involving mainframes or any other legacy technical debt—and you can quickly see the high risk of taking on the entire data warehouse at once.

To mitigate risk and realize faster time-to-value, you should consider an incremental approach that would enable you to gradually transition from Teradata while first offloading your most mission-critical workloads in a phased manner—gradually reducing the burden on your legacy system.

2. Mishandling Proprietary Elements

We frequently find Line of Business applications to contain a significant amount of complex logic and represent the most challenging workloads to migrate to a new platform. Customers have often written some of the logic of these systems using stored procedures or user-defined functions, which are the least portable way of building an application.

If your application estate consists of such complex code, your target data warehouse should adhere to SQL, Spark, JDBC/ODBC, and other open standards and have a wealth of partners capable of automatically converting BTEQ scripts, including procedures and macros.

3. Rushing the Business Assessment

A thorough assessment of your legacy Teradata environment is a critically important step to ensuring a successful migration journey. Your company has most likely invested many man-years of logic into your Teradata platform. There will be a lot of junk data that got created over that time. Tables that may not have been touched for years.  Countless queries and workloads that are irrelevant to the business. These objects should not be moved during the migration.

You can reduce your migration risk by using an automated tool to analyze the logs from your Teradata data warehouse to gain a complete understanding of your current environment. Based on numerous factors, the tool can identify redundancies that should not be migrated, decide what should, prioritization for migration, and how to work with phased migrations.

4. Being Locked in Without Options

Be sure to select a solution that fully provides the flexibility and capabilities your organization requires both today and tomorrow. For instance, do you want to move all at once to the cloud as part of a cloud-first strategy, or conduct your migration in phased stages? Businesses with rigorous compliance or privacy demands often prefer to store some data on-premises. Do you want to be locked into a particular cloud platform, or go with AWS now, but have the option to move some apps to Azure later? Whatever your situation is, don’t trade in your current vendor lock-in for another.

5. Assuming That All Cloud Data Warehouses Are Created Equal

As you consider your options for a new data warehouse, make sure that the solution preserves what you’ve long appreciated about your Teradata systems while overcoming modern challenges. For instance, not all cloud data warehouses are delivered as a fully managed service. Many cloud data warehouses may be inexpensive to get started and the meter may technically run only when service is in use, but you will see a huge monthly sticker shock as you run full production workloads. And performance can often slow as the volume of users increases.

Migrate With Confidence

Actian Data Platform can help you incrementally migrate or offload from your Teradata data warehouse until it can be retired in a managed fashion—according to your timeframe and your terms. Choose the path that is best for you – cloud, on-premises, or a combination of both, with a seamlessly architected hybrid solution.

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About Actian Corporation

Actian is helping businesses build a bridge to a data-defined future. We’re doing this by delivering scalable cloud technologies while protecting customers’ investments in existing platforms. Our patented technology has enabled us to maintain a 10-20X performance edge against competitors large and small in the mission-critical data management market. The most data-intensive enterprises in financial services, retail, telecommunications, media, healthcare and manufacturing trust Actian to solve their toughest data challenges.