Organizations initiate data migrations for several reasons. They might need to overhaul an entire system, upgrade databases, establish a new data warehouse or merge new data from an acquisition or other source. Data migration is also necessary when deploying another system that resides next to existing applications. Regardless of the exact purpose for a data migration, the goal is generally to enhance performance and competitiveness. Achieving your data migration goals can be difficult, but with a solid plan and the right set of tools, you will be well positioned for data migration success.
Why you should have a data-migration plan and strategy
A strategic data-migration plan should include consideration of these critical factors:
- Know your data: Before migrating data, you must know (and understand) what you’re migrating, as well as how it fits within the target system. Understand how much data is moving and what that data looks like. Ask yourself what needs to migrate, what can be left behind and what might be missing. If an organization skips this source-review step, and assumes an understanding of the data, then the result could be wasted time and money on migration. Worse, an organization could encounter a critical flaw in the data mapping that halts any progress in its tracks.
- Ensure quality of data – Once you identify any issues with your source data, they must be resolved. This may require additional software tools and third-party resources because of the scale of the work.
- Define and design the migration – The design phase is where organizations define the type of migration to initiate – big bang or trickle. This also involves drawing the technical architecture of the solution and detailing the migration processes. Considering the design, the data to be moved and the target system, you can begin to define timelines and any project concerns. By the end of this step, the whole project should be documented.
- Maintain and protect your data – Data degrades after a period of time, making it unreliable. This means there must be controls in place to maintain data quality.
- Don’t forget security – During planning, it’s important to considersecurity plans for the data. Any data that must be protected should have protection included throughout the plan.
- Build the migration solution – It can be tempting to approach migration with a “just-enough” development approach; however, since you will only implement once, it’s crucial to do it correctly. A common tactic is to separate the data into subsets and build one category at a time, followed by a test. If an organization is working on a particularly large migration, then it might make sense to build and test in parallel.
- Conduct a live test – The testing process isn’t completed after testing the code during the build phase. It’s important to test the data-migration design with real data to ensure the accuracy of the implementation and completeness of the application.
- Deployment – After final testing, implementation can proceed, using the style defined in the plan.
- Audit – Once the implementation is live, establish a system to audit the data to ensure the accuracy of the migration.
- Govern your data – Tracking and reporting on data quality is important, because it enables a better understanding of data integrity. The processes and tools used to produce this information should be highly usable and automate functions where possible.
How leveraging a hybrid integration platform can help
A hybrid data-integration platform, such as Actian DataConnect, can make the process of data migration much easier and lower the risk of business-disrupting connectivity issues. With DataConnect, instead of managing numerous point-to-point interactions between applications, connections to source systems are managed through the data-connect platform (like a telephone switchboard). The number of connections to source systems is reduced, because all consuming services and applications share the same connection managed by DataConnect. That means fewer sets of credentials to manage, fewer components, systems, etc. that can break and the capability to manage centrally the flow of data across your organization and IT environment.
Actian DataConnect is a hybrid integration platform, meaning that it can manage connections with systems both on-premise and in the cloud. By connecting your applications through DataConnect before you start data migration, you can shift configuration tasks from the migration window and test to make sure that they work ahead of time.
During the data-migration event, data connections for migrated apps can be updated to point to whatever application environment is active by simply updating the configuration in the DataConnect dashboard. If connection issues are encountered, then Actian DataConnect enables you to see where the problems are and correct them quickly. After the data migration is completed, DataConnect can help you verify that dependencies on on-premise applications have been eliminated and the applications can be safely decommissioned.
Before you plan your next data migration project, consider how implementing a hybrid integration platform, such as Actian Data Connect, can help you accelerate migration timelines, improve effectiveness and improve the likelihood of a clean and successful data-migration project. To learn more, visit www.actian.com/dataconnect.