For data to be useful, it needs to be in the right form and in the right place.
Sometimes, that requires a migration: the movement of data from one place to another. This is simple in principle, but in practice it can be complex – and, for enterprise organizations handling high volumes of data, the stakes are high. A botched data migration can wreck your processes and impact your profitability.
It’s best to prepare. At StarQuest, we can help. Our data ingestion solution is a critical part of many data migration frameworks, and we can help you to define a successful migration plan.
If your business is seeking to migrate data, here are the stages to follow:
- Proof of concept (POC)
- Production deployment
Let’s break down the process within these three stages.
Stage 1: Planning
The first stage of any data migration is the planning stage. Many projects are derailed by inadequate planning before deployment ever begins.
To avoid that, it’s helpful to work with consultants as you plan your migration. Most enterprises lack extensive expertise with migrations. Expert guidance is generally more effective than seeking to compile enough knowledge to plan the migration internally.
Assess the Source
Unsurprisingly, the first step in migrating data is to assess the data that you’ll be migrating. You’ll need a thorough understanding of what you’re planning to migrate in order to carry out a successful migration.
That means understanding things like:
- The format of the data
- The structure of tables
- The volume of data
- How data is updated
- Any objects that won’t need to be migrated
The goal of data migration is typically to move data without functionally changing its structure, so that it remains viable and usable for your requirements. This first step will enable you to understand what that means in your context.
Determine the Destination
Once you’ve assessed the source and understand what your data looks like in its current state, you’ll need to define the destination.
Again, a successful migration maintains data integrity. To ensure your destination can accommodate your data, you’ll want to consider a similar set of issues:
- The format the data should be in at the destination
- The structure of tables at the destination
- How much data the destination will need to hold
- How data will be audited
- Whether recurring changes will be needed
With your endpoints (source and destination) considered, you can move on to considering the method of migration that will meet your goals.
Design the Migration Solution
This is where the rubber meets the road: the data migration solution itself. Designing this solution will take strategic work on both technical and business levels.
Technically, you’ll need to craft a solution that effectively migrates the data from source to destination. (Hint: StarQuest can help!)
From a business perspective, you’ll need to craft a solution that also meets stakeholder needs. Failing to do so can be problematic; for instance, if you design something that maintains the integrity of data but makes it inaccessible to your customer support team for two days, you’ll probably get a few angry phone calls.
Make sure that the migration will make everyone happy before, during, and after the process.
Stage 2: Proof of Concept
With the planning stage completed, the next step is typically to implement a proof of concept (POC) – a deployment, of a smaller scale than the full production load, that will be performed to verify that the solution is successful before implementing it on a broader scale.
Here’s what this stage entails.
Build the Migration Solution
Now that the data migration solution has been designed, it’s time to build to your specifications.
This may involve bringing in data ingestion software (like StarQuest Data Replicator [SQDR] ) and incorporating it into your environment; in some cases, it may involve building a customized solution.
Test the Migration Solution
As you enact your proof of concept, there are two key considerations to test:
The data in the destination database maintains integrity with data in the source. Again, this is the crux of effective data migration. Make sure data looks the way it should and is acceptably robust.
The solution fulfills stakeholder needs. Make sure the solution works the way you expect it to. Check the connections and the resources used.
If your test fulfills these two considerations, you can move toward a large-scale deployment. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to work out any unexpected issues before they cause problems in production.
The deployment to the test environment will also serve to make the production migration more efficient. In fact, SQDR is designed to easily extract settings from the test and add them to the production environment.
Stage 3: Production Deployment
This is the finish line. A successful production deployment will hinge on your success in the previous two stages – but there are still a few things to keep in mind.
You’ve designed an ideal solution. You’ve tested it and verified it to the best of your abilities. Now, it’s time to flip the switch and make the migration happen.
Once your solutions has gone live, monitor it to make sure that data ingestion is working effectively. Keep tabs on the destination databases to ensure that the output is what you expect.
Audit the Migration
The final stage of a data migration is to audit the results of the process. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Was the integrity of the data maintained according to expectations?
- What was the resource load of the migration solution?
- Is any ongoing maintenance needed on data in the destination database?
- What could be improved in the migration process?
Depending on the nature of your migration, you may use these questions to optimize a recurring process – or, you may simply file the insights away for the next time data migration is needed.
If you are using SQDR, this is a short process, because data integrity is built in from the beginning.
Need to perform data ingestion as part of a data migration?
Hopefully, the information above has helped to clarify your approach to data migration. If you’re looking for data ingestion services to facilitate a successful migration, let’s talk.
At StarQuest, we’re experts at data management, including data ingestion for data migration solutions. Our powerful SQDR software can be utilized for replication and ingestion from an extensive range of data sources, powering zero-downtime data migration that stakeholders will love.
And, importantly, our customer service team is regarded as some of the best in the business, with clients calling us “The best vendor support I have ever encountered.”
If you’re looking for data ingestion for migration, we can help.
Get in touch with us to discuss your data ingestion needs. We can help you take the first step toward a solution that will benefit your business and make your migration a success.