Planning for a Successful Database Migration

by May 21, 2020

There are many different database platforms that organizations can choose for collecting, storing, and analyzing their data resources. They range from relational databases such as SQL Server to NoSQL variations like MongoDB.

The choice of platform is often tied to the business needs that the database is meant to address. In a perfect IT world, the initial decision regarding which database to use never has to be revisited. Unfortunately, none of us work at that shop.

Why Are Databases Migrated to New Platforms?

An enterprise can decide to migrate databases to new platforms for a variety of reasons. In some cases, its hand may be forced to a degree by evolving business needs and requirements. Though many modern migrations are done to move on-premises databases to cloud providers, other migration paths are just as valid.

Moving to alternate platforms within the current environment is common. At times, cloud migration doesn’t work out as planned and the systems need to be returned to their original data center.

Here are some reasons to migrate to a new database platform.

  • Consolidating systems on a common platform is often necessitated after a merger or acquisition where different databases are used. Rather than burden a database team with the prospect of supporting multiple database platforms that are performing the same function, it is often more efficient to standardize on a particular solution. This strategy requires system migration to whichever platform makes the best sense for the merged databases.
  • Systems can outgrow their usefulness over time and need to be replaced to afford an organization with additional functionality. As business needs evolve, the demands put on organizational data stores can also significantly change. A relational database solution that was perfectly serviceable at one time may need to be replaced to deal with unstructured information flooding in from new sources.
  • Financial considerations can be the deciding factor when choosing to migrate to a new type of database. The license fees of some solution may become more than organizations want to invest when less expensive alternatives exist. Open-source products can save IT departments a substantial amount of money by eliminating the cost of licenses.
  • Centralizing siloed data assets is another reason for database migration. Diverse systems that perform similar functions for multiple departments make an attractive target for a consolidating migration. In addition to making life easier for the supporting DBA team, the organization will operate more productively when everyone is using the same data repository.

Steps Involved in Database Migration

Regardless of the type of database migration that is under consideration, the method used to perform the operation involves several important steps. These need to be addressed after the new platform and migration target have been identified.

  • Assessment is the vital first step in database migration. It is a complex undertaking that demands an appropriate level of planning. This phase includes activities such as data profiling to fully understand the existing data and schemas that will be involved in the process.
  • Schema conversion is necessary to ensure that the data is structured correctly to work with the new database.
  • Data migration is performed after the initial steps have been completed and involves activities such as transforming and normalizing the data and making sure the data is free of errors.
  • Comprehensive testing needs to be done after the migration and before the new database is put into production. Validating the data values is crucial to a successful outcome of the migration.

Using the Right Tools to Ensure Success

Approaching a database migration without the proper tools is a recipe for failure. Aqua Data Studio can be a valuable addition to the database team’s arsenal of software tools. One of the great advantages of Aqua Data Studio is its support of over 40 different database platforms.

Your team can use the same application to access and manage both the pre and post-migration databases, reducing complexity and increasing the probability of success.

The feature set of Aqua Data Studio makes it an excellent solution for teams migrating databases. It can easily compare schemas and facilitates the conversions required to move data to a new platform. You can reverse engineer the source database and develop entity-relationship models that enable a deep understanding of the information that needs to be moved.

The wide range of platforms that Aqua Data Studio supports allows your team to gain expertise in a single management tool that increases their productivity. It’s a great tool for daily DBA activities as well as to assist in the complex database migrations that teams are called on to perform.