How to Get Off Teradata in 3 Easy Steps

Teradata is one of the oldest and most popular database and analytics-software providers there are. Modern analytics owes a lot to Teradata, and the systems and organizational software that they helped to develop. Many corporations have used Teradata as the backbone for their analytics for decades. As a result, many corporations have an astronomical amount of reports stored through Teradata, and still rely on it for their daily work and data source.

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But, like any technology, you can’t stay on top forever. What was once innovative about this Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is now considered somewhat archaic. This has left many organizations going through Teradata migration and switching to a cloud-native environment for data warehousing and advanced analytics.

But with so much information stored on the Teradata system, migrating to the cloud is a pretty monumental task. However, all you really need is an efficient action plan, and that’s what we will outline in this article:

Teradata Migration

Why Switch off Teradata?

Before we get started, let’s examine the main reason why companies are making the migration off of Teradata. This will help you understand why the move off Teradata is so worth it. Teradata is less than ideal for modern analytics for the following reasons:

  • Teradata has high licensing costs.
  • There are many complex analytical functions that can’t be done on Teradata.
  • Many complex functions which are native to Teradata essentially block Teradata data to migrate to the cloud due to their complexity.

 As you can see, there are many reasons to migrate from Teradata. Here’s how to make the process as efficient as possible:


Step 1: Plan Your Migration Beforehand

As with anything else, a proper plan makes everything run more smoothly. You need to schedule ample time to fully understand the Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), and then understand the ETL pipelines you will need migrate as well.

However, understanding a Teradata EDW in its full complexity is an extremely convoluted and time consuming process. For this reason, we recommend you use automation tools to help plan this migration.

Automation tools hold many benefits in planning a migration, and are quite capable and sophisticated. Benefits include:

  • Automation tools can identify and outline the workloads in your Teradata environment, and then understand which of these workloads are suitable candidates for migration
  • Automation programs also help to fully outline the data pipelines which feed your Teradata EDW
  • Automated scanning of Teradata applications to build a full code inventory
  • Automated analysis of the complexity of the code objects which will need to be changed in order to migrate to the cloud

Basically, automation helps you to outline and understand your entire migration process, so that you’ll get it right the first time and won’t have to re-do anything once you’ve started. This migration map helps you to fully understand your migration process, and plan how to implement it properly.


Step 2: Code Translation

Once you have built a strong plan for migration in Step 1, the next step is to actually begin the migration process. This starts with translating your code so that it can be migrated. You can translate your code either manually or automatically. In this section, we’ll evaluate both methods.

First up is manual translation. Manual translation involves the use of developers who will work to manually translate your Teradata code so that it can migrate to the cloud. We actually don’t recommend this method. It has numerous drawbacks, which include:  

  • It’s very time-consuming: An average corporate Teradata EDW will hold millions of lines of SQL Code. Therefore, translating a massive volume of code takes an equally massive amount of time (we could be talking years!).
  • It’s inefficient: Coding needs to be accurate in order to work. Therefore, if you take a bunch of coders and have them work for so long, there’s bound to be mistakes which need fixing. Overall, this results in a lot of inefficiencies.
  • It’s expensive: You’re hiring a team of developers to work for a long time, so it’s very expensive as well!

For these reasons and more, we recommend the second form of code translation – automatic. Here are the reasons why this is the preferable method:

  • It’s accurate: Automation doesn’t make human error. It will automatically translate Teradata SQL and stored procedure objects into the cloud’s syntax. The human coders can then work on understanding and translating outliers and edge cases that the automation couldn’t pick up. However, automation will flag and identify these outliers that require special attention from human coders, including unique Teradata functions like BTEQ and TPT. It’s designed to make the entire process quick (relatively) and easy.
  • It’s time efficient: Of course, automation programs run immediately, so it’s fast and easy.
  • Cost-effective: Since it’s so fast and accurate, it’s cost-effective as well. No need to worry about human error which would lead to re-migrating the Teradata. You also don’t need to worry about licensing costs from consulting firms or vendors.
Step 3: Testing Your Code

So you’ve planned the migration and built the code to get the job done. The final step in migrating the Teradata is to actually test the code. Once again, this process can be done manually or automatically.

Just like above, we don’t recommend manual code testing. Much like manual code translating, manual code testing is prone to human error, is very time-consuming, and is not cost-effective.

Also as above, we definitely recommend automatic code testing. Here are the reasons why:

  • Validate your code faster: Automation ensures that all the translated code from Step 2 will compile and execute the expected results in the target Cloud platform. It does this by automating important aspects of code and data validation testing, which accelerates end-to-end testing efforts.
  • Identify downstream dependencies: Automation also identifies dependencies to downstream applications like BI or analytics tools. It does this so that it can set out the appropriate migration approach, while also identifying optimization and consolidation opportunities.

As you can see, migrating off Teradata is no easy task. It’s a big undertaking, as there is simply so much data to deal with, especially if your company has been dependent on it for years. However, with a proper plan, and efficient use of automation tools, you can make the process cost-efficient, timely, and relatively stress-free. It’s all about planning and execution.

With just a few clicks, our industry-leading automation technology SHIFT™ lets you reach your cloud target 40% faster than manual methods. Try SHIFT™ for free today.