What is Data Migration?

The need for effective IT solutions, caused by the growing supply of new technologies, and competition in the IT field, increase the need to transfer data from one environment to another. This article will consider the process of data migration. 

The essence of the data migration

Data migration is the process of transferring information when changing the information system, storage, or application version. As a rule, the data migration method is part of one of the stages of the project for implementing a corporate information system (CIS); however, this process may be the goal of a separate project.

The implemented information system should replace the system or systems currently in operation. Upon completion of the CIS implementation project, as a rule, further operation of existing systems in the customer organization is not planned. Regarding the data migration process, the operating systems are source systems. The implemented system is the receiver system. The implemented system should replace the source systems’ automated functions, and the system will use the historical data accumulated in the two operating systems.

The relevant business requirements determine the presence of the data migration stage in CIS implementation projects. The need to migrate data arises when solving one of the following cases:

    • Creation of a new system as a result of a fundamental change in customer requirements. This situation can arise when critical requests for changes in functional requirements, changes in external factors affecting the business, and insufficient flexibility of the solution used.
    • The merger of business units makes it necessary to use a single information system instead of several systems with which the customer’s employees previously worked.
    • Changing the IT infrastructure when using the current CIS. Here we discuss the need to migrate data from disparate systems when creating a common corporate data warehouse to store data from corporate applications.

Types of data migration

Data migrating to new storage or format depends on aspects of each project. The most popular cases are data migration using SQL procedures inside the database or with specially developed ETL code between incompatible repositories. Depending on what business needs are relevant at the moment or will be applicable soon, they determine the type of data migration:

      • Stored data migration is the conversion of data from one storage format to another, such as when digitizing physical documents for online storage or modifying an encryption algorithm to apply to all files;
      • Application migration is a transition from outdated software to a modern one or a complete replacement of an application with a new one;
      • Database migration is the movement of the entire database to a new location without loss of consistency, for example, as part of import substitution or when transferring infrastructure from local office computers to the cloud;
      • Versioned data migration is updating the database structure to a new version so that the application and database versions match each other for proper operation.

This procedure can be done manually or automatically. Which method you choose depends on various conditions. For example, sometimes it is very difficult to find the necessary information about the historical system, and it is impossible to contact its developers – then it will be difficult to automate the migration processes.

Any organization that embarks on the path of moving to the cloud has a single task – to improve the quality of services and reduce the cost of operation. And since migration is mostly possible without stopping the service, this is its beneficial advantage. In addition, the seamlessness, lack of roughness, and transparency achieved through a well-planned move to a cloud site make the cloud not a solution but a real strategy.