In the 21st century, we have seen that big data has become the primary driver for most modern businesses, which has created a need for well-defined data integration and migration processes as organizations increasingly rely on the cloud. However, moving databases can often be the trickiest part of a cloud migration, often requiring downtime, reworking data schemas, and refactoring applications.
With this in mind, it is critical that the processes in place for data migration are seamless, secure, and well-established, as it is often an extremely risky procedure. A recent report from Gartner indicates that 83% of all data migrations exceed budgets and timelines or fail altogether, emphasizing the need for competent, detailed planning before the migration takes place. When executed properly, however, a data migration can provide many benefits, including minimizing the risks of moving data, increased query efficiency, streamlined deployment processes, hardened security, and enhanced data governance.
Gartner predicts that 75% of all databases will be deployed in or migrated to the cloud by 2022. Here are some key things to consider when migrating your data to the cloud:
Cloud Data Migration Guidelines
1. Explore and Assess the Source
Before going through and actually migrating any data, it is important to understand what is actually being migrated and how it fits within the target (new) system. This includes understanding how much data is being pulled over and what it might look like, checking requirements for data fields that need to be transferred, and running audits on the actual data contained within.
Organizations that assume they have an understanding of their data and skip this step are putting themselves at risk of wasting time and resources during the migration process. Worse yet, this lack of due diligence could lead to critical flaws in the data mapping process that would halt any progress in its tracks.
2. Define and Design the Migration
When designing the actual migration, organizations will generally choose between two accepted migration methods – big bang or trickle. Big Bang migrations occur when the full transfer is completed within a limited window of time. Operational systems are brought offline during the process and the entire migration occurs in one time-boxed event. Trickle migrations, on the other hand, occur when migrations are completed in phases. New and old systems run in parallel eliminating the need for downtime. The trade-off, however, is that these migrations are usually more complex and take longer to complete.
After the method of migration is chosen, organizations should then draw out all the required technical architecture of the solution while also selecting the appropriate tools and detailing the entire process.
3. Deploy a Proof of Concept
After the migration process has been planned out and created, it is recommended that a proof of concept is created in order to work through the challenges and risks that were identified during the explore and assess stages. This will also identify unforeseen issues and provide assurance that the migration will be successful by ensuring the accuracy of implementation and completeness.
Migrate, validate, repair, and test data
After the migration has been completed, it is vital that it is checked for completeness, validity, and accuracy to ensure that everything will function as expected. It is also recommended to double-check that you have migrated any access privileges or security settings over to your new cloud-based environment.