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Data Migration

What is data migration?

Data migration, also known as data transfer, is the process of moving data from one system to another. As a rule, this happens when a company adopts a new system or location, aiming to boost its performance and competitiveness.

Common causes of data migration:

  • 1.
    Transfer from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud or cloud-based digital asset management;
  • 2.
    Migration between cloud storages;
  • 3.
    Data integration during the company acquisition process.

Risks of data transfer

Data loss & security

When you plan on data transfer, security should be taken very seriously. Otherwise, this could result in data leakage or loss. Although your data might be restored afterward, they could end up in the wrong hands. And so culprits could take advantage of your sensitive information or, what’s worse, your customers’ private data.

The damage to your reputation could be huge!

To avoid these consequences, encrypt your info if you transfer the data online. For offline migration, the company had better verify the security of shipping services as well as logistics.

Data corruption

The same as lost, your data could be corrupted while moving. For example, some crashes could occur or unwanted data may find themselves in your system. As a result, this could cause problems for the end-user i.e. the person who uses the application.

Compatibility problems

Sometimes, you may find out that your new location isn’t fully compatible with your information. For example, the new storage may not support all the formats or there could be issues with access rights. This problem arises when planning wasn’t completed properly.

Types of data migration

Storage migration

Storage migration means moving data from one storage location to another, such as a hard disk or the cloud. This solution benefits with improved performance and higher scalability. Plus, the company wins on enhanced data management, with an acquired digital asset manager, for example.

Database migration

Data migration deals with changing database engines. The reason could be the change of vendors, a software update, or transfer to the cloud. This type of data migration is very complicated. The data language and/or protocol will be affected in this case.

Thus, database transfer needs careful planning & testing. For instance, a business owner should pay attention to the storage capacity of the new database & check the confidentiality of data during the transfer.

Cloud migration

As its name suggests, cloud migration involves moving data to the cloud. You could decide to migrate your data from an on-premise data center to the cloud to achieve more flexibility & scalability. Or you might want to replace your cloud storage with a better option.

Application migration

Application migration stands for the newly changed environment for the application program. Since applications aren’t portable, and each of these has its unique data model, business owners should be very cautious during the migration.

For one thing, they should choose a new platform or vendor accurately. So they were sure of its compatibility & wide deployment capabilities. For another, the planning stage is very important for data migration to go as smoothly as possible.

Data migration planning

As you see, data migration is a complex & time-consuming process. And it obviously can’t & should not be done on the spot and without careful planning. To be effective, data transfer needs to be well-planned & follow the next procedure:

  • 1.
    Develop the strategy for your data migration

    To select your strategy, you should think about the purpose of your data migration, its type, & format. Do you want to merge the existing systems? Extend your storage capabilities? Or maybe simply move to a more updated platform?

    Consider also the deadline for your transfer and its costs. Compare & contrast different ways how you can move your data: online/offline, on your own or with data migration services involved.

    What else to take into account? Your data scope, of course, security, stakeholders’ deliverables, your business and migration expertise.
  • 2.
    Prepare your data for migration

    The next thing you should do is to back up your data. Crashes happen even when you have the most secure & reliable system. So don’t spare on your backup.

    Then, categorize & validate your data so you know that they’re ready for migration. Depending on your chosen migration plan, you may need to convert all your info into a single format. Or maybe archive your data, extract, & download them on some external disk.

    Make sure that all your information is processed, and nothing is left behind. Keep everything in order, by the way. This will help you to sort out your data when you migrate to a new system.
  • 3.
    Test the migration tool

    Don’t start the transfer unless you know for sure it’s working. How about testing the system by moving a small amount of data first? In this way, you could check the connectivity and migration outcomes. For example, you’ll test whether all your migrated data is clean, safe, & transferred to the right place.
  • 4.
    Complete the migration process

    When everything’s ready, move your data to the targeted system. Of course, you need to monitor the process, identify any issues, and resolve them in a timely manner.
  • 5.
    Make a full system audit

    When you finish the migration, don’t be lazy to complete a full audit of your data storage. Thus, you’ll be confident that everything’s in place, there was no data leakage or corruption. If this still happened, take action to restore your data – after all, you have a backup!

    In a nutshell, data migration could be characterized as a three-step process: data extraction – data transformation – data load. In reality, this is an intricate & challenging process, as you could see from the procedure described above.

Conclusion

Data migration is a widely used process of transferring data from one location to another. In most cases, data transfer takes place when you need to update your system, for example, extend your storage space or management capabilities.

Want to know more about data management & data migration, specifically? Check out other terms in our DAM glossary.

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