Solving the Problem of Complexity in Database Migration

by Nov 14, 2019

One of the tasks that database teams engage in regularly is data migration. As platforms and environments evolve and become more complex, so do the procedures and methods required to successfully move data to a new platform or cloud provider. In this post, we will take a look at how you should go about planning for database migration, the problems you might encounter, and what kind of tools are available to streamline the process.

In the real world of database and application developers, it has become evident that a substantial amount of their time is spent moving data in some fashion. The processes and rationale for data movement have evolved over time. At one point, data was moved between different platforms to enable access by business users or to take advantage of technologies such as data warehouses or operational data stores.

Modern migrations are often undertaken to facilitate data mining and analytics through the construction of immense data lakes. In many cases, the cloud is involved as either part or complete databases are migrated from on-premises systems. Financial considerations can also spur migrations as organizations consolidate to save on licensing costs or move to open source alternatives.

Challenges Faced in Database Migration

There are several challenges that are typical in a data migration scenario. Addressing them effectively before and during the process is vitally important to the probability of performing a successful migration in the expected timeframe.

  • The complexity of the source data can be a major hurdle that needs to be surmounted when planning and performing a migration. Data may have been stored in different formats which call for a transformation to make it acceptable for the targeted modern database platform. You may also need to perform data normalization to ensure that it is stored correctly and not duplicated in different locations within a database.

  • Data loss or corruption during the migration process can be catastrophic. You need to guard against even a single recover being misappropriated or lost during the move. The data needs to be reconciled before migration commences so you know exactly how many records should be expected in the new location. Robust testing and validating data in the new database should be performed regularly throughout the process to ensure you are achieving the desired results.

  • Continued testing and validation are required to protect the migration from the high price of failure. A representative subset of data should be tested that includes a wide and varied sampling which provides enough information to gauge the success of the project.

The Growing Demands for Data Storage

Businesses see data as their primary resource and use it in innovative ways through which they hope to gain a competitive edge. As the volume of unstructured data grows exponentially, the demand to store it in ways that can be productively used by organizations is also increasing. This implies that the importance of data migrations will grow as enterprises struggle to handle their data assets.

The cloud has become an attractive location for database migrations, in part because of the inability of many enterprises to provide the necessary physical storage required by the volume of data they possess. The scalability of public cloud providers enables data resources to grow without the concern of exceeding an enterprise’s capacity to store it. Therefore, many modern database migrations are performed with the goal of getting the information into the cloud.

Tools to Facilitate Database Migration

Aqua Data Studio is a multi-platform database IDE that enables users to access all of their databases from within a unified interface. It supports over 30 different database platforms from MySQL to SQL Server and IBM’s Db2. It includes many tools that assist in the migration process. Easily import and export data as well as create custom INSERT statements for data movement. Aqua Data Studio can help automate some of the tasks related to data migration, enabling your team to enjoy greater productivity by spending less time on mundane and repeatable activities.

There is an informative IDERA video available which provides a more detailed discussion of these topics, including multiple examples of Aqua Data Studio in action. If you are tasked with performing data migrations, you should take the time to check it out to see how Aqua Data Studio can help make the process less stressful and increase the probability of success.