As a businessman of the digital era, you have to keep up with the radically evolving technological pace. There’s so much pressure to enhance productivity, efficiency, and scalability of your business.

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You may have varied reasons to migrate data, and database migration is one of the breakthroughs that can help you achieve more for your business in as little time.

However, a common notion regarding database migration is as the tweet below reflects:

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As Ally Weir says, you cannot really rush the database migration due to the underlying concern of data loss. It does take a while before you can finally get rid of your system; however, not every company in the market hold the required experience.

This means, even after investing your time and resources in the process, you might end up grieving over the lost data.

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To put this into perspective, it is crucial to understand how to perform seamless migration for any application.

What is the most effective database migration strategy?

Database migration challenges create a high demand to bring success to your migration project. This requires complete knowledge of database, which begins with efficient planning and ends with the post-migration services.

However, let’s start from the start.

What is database migration?

Database migration implies the transfer of data from one platform to a better platform. Here the data can be moved to physical storage to cloud-based storage to make it more accessible and scalable.

In order to achieve success in the implementation of the database migration, you need to overcome the obvious challenges related to the identification of databases stored at various locations.

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For offsetting these challenges, it is crucial to follow the most effective database migration strategy for the success of your migration project. Below are the important steps of the migration process:

Pre-migration

The underlying aim of pre-migration is to understand the scope of data migration for an organization. In this step, it is important for the database migration service provider to understand your need and define a purview for further implementation.

Besides understanding the scope of the database migration, the vendor has to plan its resources and total time for the project. In this step, certain decisions regarding the change in the database migration tools, database migration testing, a framework for database migration, etc. are to be determined for a seamless process.

Importance of Pre-migration:

This database migration step helps offer a bird-eye view of how the process is going to be carried out. You can know the estimated time taken for the database migration, which can help you to shift your business focus accordingly.

Analysis

After the scope of the database migration is known, analysis is yet another crucial step. In this step, the current database infrastructure is studied and then the planning to move it to the new infrastructure is carried out.

Besides this, the database migration service provider also considers the following:

  • Is the database migration to be done from local infrastructure to the cloud?
  • Is the database migration to be done for scalability?
  • Is the database migration to be done to reduce data complexity?

Once the answers to these questions are identified, service providers usually jot down a plan using the best resources for defining norms and clear set rules. In addition, the analysis step also includes the evaluation of data quality, and proper tools are selected.

Importance of Analysis

This database migration step can help in determining the complexity, if any, regarding the entire process. In case any complexity is identified, proper planning and brainstorming is done to offset the challenge in the early stage.

Strategizing

Once the database migration requirements are well understood, it is time to strategize the flow to achieve the best times for the service. In this step, migration schedules and priorities are determined to reduce the downtime during the processing and transfer of data from one location to another.

There are two types of database migration—Big Bang, which is carried out in one go. The other one is Trickle migration, which is carried out in parts. The benefit of Big Bang is that the entire process of database migration can be accomplished in a stipulated timeframe.

On the other hand, Trickle migration is performed in phases, which means there are more opportunities for testing. In this step, the methodology for database migration is determined.

Importance of Strategizing

Proper strategizing can help estimate the total time required for the database migration process. It also assists in determining the most efficient way to implement the process.

Migration

In this step, the actual implementation of the database migration is carried out. Once the preliminary requirements are sufficed, development team can use the required tools, frameworks, and other essentials to script the migration of data.

There are many databases that you should choose for your business. A database migration plan can be based on the Flyway database migration, which is an open-source tool. The tool offers simplicity as well as convention over configuration. There are just seven basic commands:

  • Migrate
  • Clean
  • Info
  • Validate
  • Undo
  • Baseline
  • Repair

In addition to this, there is AWS database migration service, which is convenient to use, reliable, minimal downtime, low cost, and supports widely used databases. It offers homogenous, heterogeneous, development and test, database consolidation, and data replication services.

Schema and tables of the database are audited to check unused fields, database logic, and obsolete records.

Importance of migration

Migration is the actual process of moving data from one location to another. In this method, the database migration service provider has to ensure that no data is being lost during the transaction and that it is secured heavily.

Post-migration

Once the database migration step is accomplished, there still remains some of the underlying issues that might surface. In such a case, some of the good database migration service providing companies offer post-migration services to check whether the migration of the database has been carried out without any data loss or not.

In this step, validation, repair, testing and handling of the process is done. The database is fine-tuned to check whether it is ready for the application or not.

Importance of Post-migration

The post-migration step helps in identifying the issues that were missed during the migration process. In this step, the database is prepared for real-life applications.

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What are the best practices for database migration?

If you want to understand the entire process of database migration, you can read about the classic case of Facebook messenger’s journey of database migration from HBase to MyRocks.

Often than not, many companies are afraid to approach database migration because of the underlying challenges that include data security, lack of collaboration, absence of integrated process, and lack of competency to analyze the flow. In such a case, it is important to follow the best practices for database migration to have the utmost attention to details.

Below are the best practices for database migration that you can follow:

Always back up prior to execution

Let’s take a simple example. When you are transferring the data from your old mobile phone to the new mobile phone, you first take the back up and then proceed with the execution.

On similar lines, it is safe to ensure that you always back up your data before you proceed with the migration. Also, when you backup your data, it should be stored in the tested backup storage system.

Preparing the old database

You do not wish to carry the redundant data to the new database infrastructure. In such a case, it is a good idea to take some time with the old database and sort the relevant data. If you find any junk, you can straightway delete the data.

You can clean up the mess regarding the old database, and you can carry only the required data to the new database. This way, you can transfer only the useful data to save your time and efforts.

Seek advice and assistance from the experts

It is no surprise that experts can do more good for your database than any other service providers. An expert database service provider can help in the creation as well as the execution of the database migration process.

Experts can help you decide whether you can opt for the database migration in Laravel or database migration in CodeIgniter.

They have performed the steps of the migration process multiple times for different sizes of companies. As a result, they can understand your database migration need in a better manner.

Prioritizing the data

As discussed earlier, there are two types of method used for database migration—in parts and as a whole. Generally, the phase-based database migration is considered a secure method, owing to the testing carried out at various levels.

On similar lines, when you opt for database migration, it is pertinent to set a rank or priority for the data that you are transferring. This way, you can transfer the priority data in the first load and then move ahead with the low-risk data.

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How to tackle the most common challenges that occur during database migration?

Among the other reasons to migrate the database, we have found that companies opt for the service for reducing their operational cost and stay ahead of the curve. In light of having a competitive edge and futuristic business model, they often tend to overlook the challenges pertaining to the database migration. As a result, they end up losing data and security.

Hence, it becomes crucial to understand the challenges that commonly occur and surround the database migration practice:

Risk of data loss

When the data is present in the old database; however, it gets lost from the new database without any deliberate efforts by an external source, it is known as data loss. Among the other processes, data loss during database migration is quite common, and it can take a toll on the business.

Once you have lost some important data, you will need to rectify the data loss, which is a huge financial commitment. So, instead of lowering your operational cost, you are again in the same puddle of finance.

Solution

Reconciliation is one of the most effective solutions to identity data loss. Two folded reconciliation can be there—Count and Key financial column. If you want to find out whether there is any type of data loss during the migration or not, you can compare the records stored in the legacy database to the records in the new database.

If there is a mismatch, key financial column reconciliation can help you look at a granular level of the problem to know which records are missing, along with the reason for data loss.

Data corruption

When the format of the data in the old system and the new system differ from each other, it is known as data corruption. It is a common issue to encounter anomalies and redundant data during database migration.

This often gives rise to the challenge of data integrity concerns. When there is data corruption, it takes away the real purpose of database migration.

Solution

Wondering how to track and contain data corruption? Simply validate the data from each row and column from the old database to the new database. There are three types of data validation methodologies that you can use:

Sample Data Validation: It randomly picks up some of the records present in the old database and matches it with the new database to find out whether the data is the same or it has changed. It is not a fool-proof way to identify data corruption.

Subsets of Data Validation: In this method, rather than choosing a sample record, subsets of records are selected to identify the instances of data corruption. This is a more feasible way to find data corruption than the sample data validation, as it covers more number of data.

Complete Data Set Validation: This is the most viable method to carry out migration testing. It includes the comparison of every record in a bidirectional way, which means that the old database is compared with the new database, and the new database is compared with the old database.

Semantics risk

When there is a difference in the unit of measurement between the old data and the new data, despite holding the same meaning, they are considered as different entities. In such a case, it is important to note that the data is not lost or corrupted, but the unit of measurement has to be altered to get the real values.

In such a case, database migration service providers often confuse it with a challenge and data validation process is carried out.

Solution

The scope of test cases should be broadened to detect the semantics risks at the early stage in the migration lifecycle. The test cases should consist of instances with inconsistencies and incompatibilities between the old data and the migrated data.

If there are a lack of sophisticated tools for data validation, testers can manually track and compare objects available in the source as well as in the target by simply looking at the screen.

Interference risk

The risk to access a certain table from the database is known as interference risk. For instance, one of the individuals is striving to extract data from a table and freezes it while the other individual is trying to access the same data and is unable to do so.

Interference risk is ‘okay’ to have when you have a handful of stakeholders in your business model. However, when your business is scalable and is trying to expand, it may lead to dissatisfaction among the stakeholders.

Solution

The interference risk can be managed in a better manner at the organizational level. It is crucial that such an issue is well-analyzed during the planning stage of database migration. Multiple mocks can be run by having some stakeholders access the data to identify the challenge.

Bottom line

A good decision is all the strategy that you need for successful database migration. If you lay down the roadmap properly, the execution follows with the best outcomes. We have underlined multiple challenges that can occur during the database migration process.

If any discrepancy occurs even after that, you will need to look for an expert to help prevent data loss.

You can hire an experienced software development company to handle your database migration process with the utmost ease. We, at Peerbits, undertake an in-depth database migration process right from the planning stage to the post-migration stage.

Our developers validate the data that has been stored in the new database to identify the instance of data loss and corruption.

Although migration is the heart of the process, we have robust planning and testing strategies to ensure that our clients are able to realize their database migration goals.

Frequently asked questions about database migration

Peerbits is one of the leading service providers of database migration. We test the number of records that are entered in the new database in per unit time. We incorporate different types of strategies that include the test of random entries as well as the complete set for data validation.
Similar to mobile app development, a dedicated team is involved in the process of database migration. There is a project manager that communicates with the organization and tries to understand the need for database migration.
Besides this, there is a data migration analyst, who handles the task of understanding the data usage and its implications on database migration.
Subject matter experts of database migration identify the possible challenges that could surface during the migration. As a result, they plan and strategize the migration in such a way that the movement is carried out without any data loss or data corruption.
In addition, there is a database migration specialist, who is responsible for the execution of the migration and a tester to test the success rate of the migration.

There are three types of database migration tools:
  • On-premise database migration tools
  • Open source database migration tools
  • Cloud-based database migration tools

To secure data against the challenges of data corruption and data loss, it is necessary to choose the right database migration tool.
Below are some of the ways to select the right database migration tool:
  • Identify your need for the type of the tool—whether you will need a framework or a language-oriented tool.
  • If you need the migration of the database to work on the complexity of the business, you can look at the cloud-based tools for better efficiency.
  • Security is yet another important factor that you should look for when you are opting for database migration services.

There are many reasons to move data to a new infrastructure:
  • For the maintenance or upgrade of activities in an organization
  • For migrating data centre or relocation
  • For consolidation of the website
  • For the storage and replacement of server equipment
  • For the migration of application

The total time taken for database migration is dependent on various factors. The database migration analyst handles the task to analyze the requirement for the migration, which also includes the potential challenges.
Also, the requirement and need for the database migration differs from organization to organization. As a result, the actual time can be found out only after the analysis.

The cost of the database migration depends on the planning, strategizing, tools, and requirement. Once we have the requirement, we can analyze and share the estimated cost of database migration.

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