If you are planning to upgrade the database servers, then you must conduct server maintenance or move the data center only after following a proper data migration plan. This is essential to have a strategic migration plan in place to streamline the migration process. Without this, you will be a high risk of costly downtime to critical data loss due to corruption, lost, file misplacement, or compatibility related issues.

As per expert opinion, a detailed data migration plan is the crucial first step in any successful data migration process, which consists of selection, preparation, extraction, transformation, and finally transferring data to the correct format and quality. Further, we will explore the seven basic steps involved in a successful database migration plan.

Steps in data migration

Identifying the format, sensitivity, and location of data

Before you start with any data migration project, first identify what type of data you are planning to migrate, the format, where it is located, and to what format it has to be migrated. By understanding this baseline information, you will be equipped with the objective of the project and the knowledge which should go into it.

During the pre-planning period, you may also spot the potential risks involved in the migration process so that you can address the same before the migration. It will also help you realize what security measures must be taken to migrate the data. Doing this pre-planning can save your significant amount of time during the process and allows you to avoid any critical errorsduring execution.

Planning the size and scope of the migration project

Once on delineating the format and location of data with a proper pre-plan, you may then need to have an understanding of the data which is being moved and to custom define the scope of your migration plan. Check out and document the resources you may need for the project and an estimated budget for the whole process etc.

Conduct such an analysis by covering both the target and source systems, and then write out the timeline for the project. Consider whether data migration may interfere with daily business operations or cause any critical downtime. You can also consider going ahead with the migration during after business hours or during weekends to reduce its adverse impacts on production and cut down the business downtime. During this step, it is vital to communicate with all the stakeholders about this timeline and get their inputs.

Backing up all the data

Before migration, ensure that all your data is adequately backed up, especially the critical files you are planning to migrate at the first point. If you face any issues during the time of migration as the corruption of files, missing any files, or accidental deletion of data, you may be able to use these backups to restore the data to the actual state.

While considering backing up of data during migration, you can consider the cloud backup services as the most cost-effective and safest mode of doing the same. There are many cloud backup services available but choose only reliable and secured providers as RemoteDBA.com to deal with your data.

Assess the team and tools used

Data migration is a big project with a big team and a lot of tools involved, especially if you are moving a considerable number of files. It is also a critical process if you are migrating highly sensitive data. So, refer to the size and scope of the project as you described at the first step and determine:

  1. If the team you have chosen for data migration project possess all necessary knowledge and skills for the project or if there is a need to call for an outside consultant.
  1. Assess if the migration team has time and enough resources to tackle the project challenges in the designated time.
  1. If you are using third-party software for data migration project, check out its features, available tools, and capabilities to accomplish your project.

Execution of the migration plan

With proper guidelines and plans in place, make sure that you initiate all needed system permissions to let a successful data migration to run. First, extract all the data migrating from the source to the target. Make sure the data is checked and cleansed to be compliant and protected for the target system, and then transform the data into the appropriate format.

Once all these steps are correctly executed, load the cleaned and deduplicated source data into the target database by meeting all the specifications in the migration map you already laid out. Closely monitor the data migration process throughout the times to identify any issues at the very first point and instantly resolve them as and when those issues arise.

Testing the destination system

Once the migration process is completed, make sure that there are no connectivity issues between the source system and the target database. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all the data migrated is correct and hosted adequately in the new location. You have to test the efficacy of the same by running unit, volume, system, batch, and web-based application tests on the same.

Appropriately follow-up the data migration project and do proper maintenance

Even after testing, there is always the possibility that an error may pop up at any time during and after the migration process. To counter this, you may conduct a complete audit of the new database system and ensure data quality and performance to the optimum. On finding any errors, missing data, incompetency, or data corruption, then you may attempt restoration of data from the backup.

By strictly planning and following the above seven steps in database migration, you can successfully move the date from the source destination to your target destination. There are various data migration methodologies, and tools are out there to support this process. However, suppose you are not competent or confident enough to accomplish this process with internal resources. In that case, it is always advisable to get the assistance of an external consultant with needed experience and expertise in the data migration process.


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